Saturday 24 July 2021

Munro Reminiscences: On the Cuillin Ridge on my Munros and Tops walk 25 years ago.


On July 24, 1996, I was joined by two rock climber friends, Chris Ainsworth and Paul Riley, for the Cuillin Ridge section of my summer long Munros and Tops walk. Although I had done a little rock climbing many years earlier and had climbed most of the summits at least once before I knew I hadn't the confidence to tackle the Inaccessible Pinnacle or the Basteir Tooth solo.

Chris and Paul arrived with a good forecast for the next day but poor the day after so the plan was an early start and do as much of the ridge as possible before the weather changed. We were off by 6 a.m. Very early for me! The peaks were in cloud as we went up Sgurr nan Gillean, which had been the last Munro of my first round in 1981. 

In clearing weather we continued along the ridge, cutting below the difficult Bidein Druim nan Ramh as there are no Munros there, to the Inaccessible Pinnacle. The views from the summit of this rock tower were sensational, the sky now clear. 

By the time we reached the Bealach Mhic Choinnich clouds were rolling in and rain was starting to fall. It had been a brilliant day but after 16 1/2 hours and 14 summits it was time to go down. This turned out to be a very sensible decision as the storm that blew in was quite ferocious, battering the campsite where we were staying. The next day we went to the Sligachan Hotel for breakfast and stayed there for six hours watching the rain lashing the windows. The rest of the Cuillin would have to wait.

The pictures are from my book about the walk, The Munros and Tops (Mainstream).

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