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 Hello and Help
Mark Biegel
Hello and Help 09 Nov 2010

After 25 years (Ben MacDui 15 June 1985) I have decided to go back and finish off the Munros (I only have 280 left!).  Strange things happen when you turn 50 and you start to reassess priorities and look for challenges that take effort and commitment, as an achievement which is hard won is all the more satisfying.  Having lost 24kg and got fit enough to run a 2hr half marathon I think I am ready to start.  I live in Somerset so will be starting in the next month or two to do some of the Welsh hills as training for the real thing!  I have allowed myself 15 years and as luck would have it my wife wants to spend Easter on Skye.

If anyone could help me with two questions I would be really grateful.

1. Is it practical / possible to do the Cuillins in a day or should I allow two (I will be leaving the IN PIN for another time)? Will you please point me at the routes to take?

2. I have looked over the site (best £10 I have spent) and see GPS tracks of peoples routes. Do you need to buy a particular GPS to be able to produce these?



Hugh Gilliland
Re: Hello and Help 09 Nov 2010
Hi Mark,

Welcome to a great site. Like you I turned 50 in December 2009. Found myself with loads of spare time, and decided to return to hillwalking, after a short break of 21 years. So far loved every footstep.

You will get loads of helpful information from the folks on here. All the best and happy walking

Hugh G...............

mackenzie barker
Re: Hello and Help 09 Nov 2010
Hiya Mark,

Most people on this site when doing (or planning on doing) the cullins always hire a guide. i've never laid eyes on them but from what I hear they are pretty serious mountains.

so I'd start there and speak about one and two day routes from guides.


Kevin Woods
Re: Hello and Help 09 Nov 2010
Hey there welcome to MM.

First off about the GPS - the files should work on yours, I think they all use a standard file extension. Someone else can clarify this.

Also about the Cuillin, I haven't been yet but Mackenzies right - they're completely different to normal Scottish peaks and a bit more serious. I tend to shy away from the guide thing personally, but it might be a good idea - they know the ridge very well and you'll find it much easier than to go yourself.

If you plan for it though, work up in stages starting with 'normal' (?!) Munros, get some scrambling on the go, maybe something like Aonach Eagach or Curved Ridge on the Buachaille (and feel comfortable operating at those heights) then set foot on the ridge, learning it's in's and out's. Break it down in bits and if you want the whole traverse (by then you'll have done the Munros) then it's feasible to go for.

I don't think anyone really has done the whole ridge first go, setting foot first time in the Cuillin (unless you're Stephen Venables who soloed the lot at night including Bla Bheinn in time for some lunch the next day) so it's a good option to go for wee bits at a time. If you're in the vicinity of the InnPinn you may as well go for it but take a rope to abseil off the top and have the climbing skills to go up the technically easy east ridge, with someone who will hold the ropes at the bottom.

A couple of other things that come to mind. Basalt intrusions (apparently) through the ridge lead to useless compasses. The rock is magnetic and it's not a place you can afford to walk off in the wrong direction either. And since it's so craggy rendering the Ordnance Survey map useless, Harvey's Maps do a much better Cuillin map - very worth buying.

Before you go, have a look at some of the trickier bits like the Thearlaich Dubh Gap (avoidable), Coillies Ledge on Sgurr Mhic Choinnich (some say it's easy, but it looks like they're very right to say it's very exposed), the Inn Pinn of course, the bad step on Am Bastier. Might be a few more sections that I can't think of. I've heard the section between the southern/central and northern Munros is quite tricky near Bidean Druim nan Ramh but if you are doing Munros then it shouldn't be a worry.

Also - at Easter there's a good chance there will be snow on the ridge. That changes things quite a lot especially when you're scrambling or climbing. If it's deep and wet like spring-time snow often is then might make the ground a bit tougher again.

Anyway all the best with the hills and with Skye,

Mark Biegel
Re: Hello and Help 10 Nov 2010
Many thanks for all of your feedback, particularly Kevin.  I hadn't thought about snow!  I will get in touch with some guides and see what they think.

Peter Dorrington
Re: Hello and Help 10 Nov 2010
Mark the Cuillin can be traveresed in a day. It is however a major undertaking requiring the ability to lead climb to severe. There are numerous other options for singleday multi bagging opportunities with the south Glensheil ridge being a great start (7 Munros).

Drop me a private message if you need to know more.


Pete Swales
Re: Hello and Help 15 Nov 2010
Hi Mark,

I have only just seen this thread & Kevin is spot on. I first tried to get up to the ridge via the Great Stone Shoot about 2 years ago and got hit by vertigo and poor weather. Tried another section the following day, but again due to lack of ridge walking experience, got hot by the sheer extreme nature of the ridge.

I was advised to work my way up to them. My first was the Mamores Ring of Steall, which is awesome. Scared the life out of me, but a great starter and done twice now. Then there is a Aonach Eagach, which again is not for the faint hearted. I have also completed the Snowdon ridge Crib Goch, very knife edge and more recently and possibly the scariest the CMD Arete at Nevis. Very very tricky.

If I were to advise you on an order to take these in, I'd say Ring of Steall, Crib Goch, then either CMD or Aonach Eagach. Blaven on Skye is more straight forward and not too much to fear. Its not easy, but not as hard as the main Cuillen ridge. I have not done the curved ridge at Glencoe, but my fear of heights and ridge walking is substantially better than 2 years ago.

I'm fortunate with the knowledge I have a guide ready for my change on the ridge. Quite excited.

I hope this is of some help


Graham greig Paterson
Re: Hello and Help 01 Apr 2011
Hi Mark,

I see it is some time since you posted your queries about the Cuillin?

My partner and I are Skye Guides based at Carbost and being local guide plus being in the Rescue team know the Cuillin and other areas of Scotland very well.

You may ask why we are on this site, the reason is we wish to be of help to others who need good advice in respect to weather conditions here or some queries about certain routes here or on the Mainland.

We are in the process of setting up a Skye & Lochalsh outdoor Association to encourage businesses to open over the winter period and therby get more people to visit in the largely settled conditions we have had in the Winter recently.


Mark Biegel
Re: Hello and Help 04 Aug 2011

Many thanks for all of the advice and encouragement.  I walked the south Glensheil ridge after Easter, if I wasn't hooked before that I certainly am now.  I have booked a guide for Skye next year and will take 5 days to bag the Cullins.  After that I will have a better idea of what would be involved in a complete traverse.  Finding it very frustrating being based down in  Somerset but plan to 'keep my eye in' on the Welsh 3,000's.