Just two weeks ago I was in the Cuillin on Skye with summit temperatures of 16 celcius and dehydration was the biggest problem that we faced. This week was not the same for Alastair and Ali! This week there was more chance of getting washed away in a stream than of dehydration, and the conditions were described as disgusting! Lots of rain, very strong winds and summit temperatures just a couple of degrees above freezing made it very challenging indeed.
Despite this, Alastair and Ali manage to visit all nine Munros on the ridge over three days. This a great achievement given the weather. When the rocks are wet it is so hard to move quickly and efficiently over them. There is lots of grippy gabbro but there is also plenty of polish and lots of basalt which is very slippery in the wet. So, a huge well done to Alastair and thanks to Ali for working around some pretty horrific conditions.
The mountains of the Cuillin are composed of solid rock with very little vegetation cover at all. This means that rain runs off very quickly, streams rise incredibly fast and getting into or out from the coires can be impossible. Very careful thought needs to be put in at the planning stage to make sure that you don't end up facing a serious stream crossing. Even the small streams quickly become impassable with water run-off.
The autumn is a bit of a lottery of weather - you never really know what you'll get. So, be prepared for everything from warm sunshine to cold, rainy and windy. Fixed plans are not ideal, instead it's best to be open minded and prepared to think outside the box sometimes. We have had some wonderful adventures in the autumn, made even better by the changing colours in the landscape and the lack of midges!
And we that late autumn means snow and frozen ground - winter is on the way!
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.