A continuous Traverse of the Cuillin Ridge, in the Isle of
Skye, is probably the most challenging scrambling expedition you can
undertake. Although, on the map it, appears to be a mere 6 miles long (my own
GPS measurement indicates closer to 9 miles) it feels like the longest 6
miles you are ever likely to walk! Originally it was thought that it could never
be completed in one day but amazingly it has been run in
3½hours. Most 'normal' people, such as ourselves, will struggle to
complete it in one day and even completing it over two days is not a
foregone conclusion. It requires two consecutive days of good weather (in Skye
even this is not all that likely) and has the complexity of ensuring you
carry with you your overnight gear and enough food and water for the two days.
There is no water actually on the ridge but there is a spring above Coire a
Ghrunnda at around 800m and a stream in Coire Banachdich at about
Our first attempt was in May 2005. The intention was to try to
complete it in one day after spending the night camped in Coire a Ghrunnda.
Despite excellent weather we only made it as far as Bruach na Frithe by 9pm,
dehydrated and with virtually no water left.
In 2007 we returned
with a slightly modified strategy. We camped again in Coire a Ghrunnda but
completed the section from Gars-bheinn to Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn on the first
day. After a night disturbed by wind, we eventually reached An Dorus
by around 3pm on the second day, With deteriorating weather and a realisation we
would never complete the ridge in the time left we descended as layer of snow
covered the peaks.
2nd May 2009 found us once more in Skye. The weather
was a repeat of 2005 with storm force winds and torrential rain, which fell as
snow above 700m, during the first week. A third attempt seemed increasingly
unlikely. A break in the weather arrived at the start of our second week and on
Monday 11th May we set off for what was to become a successful two day
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