Saturday 5 September 2020

Book Review: Skye's Cuillin Ridge Traverse by Adrian Trendall


The most challenging hills in Scotland are undoubtedly the Cuillin on the Isle of Skye, a tangled mass of spectacular rock architecture.  There is no easy way up most of the summits. Scrambling and in some places rock climbing are required to reach many of them. 

So much complex rock detail is crammed into this small area that maps cannot cover it adequately. This is the only mountain range in Scotland where I would say a guidebook is essential. Having been going to the Cuillin on and off for forty years I've a small library on the region, including a succession of guidebooks. This one came out earlier this year and is the best of them all. The author, Adrian Trendall, is a mountain guide on Skye and clearly knows the Cuillin intimately. He and his wife Bridgette run All Things Cuillin, a guiding and photography company, and a Facebook group with the same name.

The book is in two parts, both contained in a plastic sleeve. The first part covers necessary information such as navigation, grades, and logistics and then ten classic scrambles. Each route is described in detail and clearly marked on photographs and sections of  Harvey's Superwalker Skye: The Cuillin map. There's also a chapter on the Cuillin traverse in winter for those with the experience to attempt this. 

The second part is a detailed topo booklet to the complete Cuillin Ridge Traverse with Harvey 1:25,000 and 1:12,500 mapping and again routes marked on photographs. The information is well laid out and easy to follow. I wish I'd had this on my one almost ridge traverse (Sgurr nan Gillean to Bealach Mhic Choinnich where we bailed out as a storm began) and on shorter ventures along sections of it. 

The guide is illustrated with the author's excellent photographs, which show both the splendour of the scenery and the nature of the scrambling and climbing. 

A highly recommended book.


  1. Many thanks for your kind words, Chris. If you're ever over this way then drop in for coffee, cake and a chat. Take care. Adrian

  2. Not only a brilliant writer but a great guide too

  3. Hi Chris
    Slightly off topic - apologies. I'm heading to Skye next May 2021 to do some Cuillin Munros over a few days (not a ridge traverse). I normally wear trail shoes - I did the Aonach Eagach in my Merrell MOAB's which were fine, but it has been suggested to me that I either need big clumpy boots or stiffer approach shoes. What footwear would you use? Many thanks Graham

  4. Hi Graham, in the book I reviewed the author recommends approach shoes. I've worn light walking boots and trail shoes in the Cuillin on various trips and found them fine. If your MOAB's were ok on the Aonach Eagach then they should be in the Cuillin. The rock though is much more abrasive and can shred seams on footwear quickly. Coating seams with glue can prevent this for a while.