Tuesday 17 June 2014

Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trip. September 6th - 13th 2014 - why you should book a place on this course!

Between May 10th & 17th 2014, we successfully ran our most recent Cuillin Ridge Traverse trip to the Isle of Skye on the west coast of Scotland.

On this occasion we were successful in getting our five group members to the top of nine of the eleven Munro Summits (3000 feet+ summits) to be gained on the Cuillin Ridge and successfully traversed approximately three quarters of the 13 kilometre ridge. Photo one shows the group left to right - Steve, Alison, Helen, Al & Don at the head of The Great Stone Chute at the end of day one
Our Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trips are run on a small scale personal basis with only two trips being arranged each year. The cost per person is only £425 for seven nights self catering accommodation and includes four days of guiding on The Cuillin Ridge with Iain Gallagher, Mountaineering Instructor who has considerable experience of guiding people across the ridge.

Accommodation is in our comfortable base near to Carbost - famous for it's Distillery and it is only a very short drive from here each day to The Cuillin Ridge.

Photo three is of the sunset from the cottage looking across Loch Bracadale to McLeod's Tables - this has to be one of the best views on Skye!

The cottage sleeps 6 - 7 persons in four bedrooms and has a comfortable lounge, bathroom with sink shower & toilet and a well equipped kitchen.

Each day we return from completing a section of The Cuillin Ridge to enjoy a communal meal and to get a good nights sleep before venturing out the next day to continue our traverse of the ridge - weather permitting!

The Cuillin Ridge is famous for it's narrow ridges and airy crests. The route we follow (generally from South to north) involves arriving at the first Munro (Sgurr Nan Eag) and continuing the traverse over four days returning - where possible, to the point where we last left off.

Points of interest a long the way include the Thearlaich Dubh Gap involving a 10m abseil descent into the gap and a polished 20m climb out of the other side. Further on, the traverse between Sgurr Thearlaich and the summit of Sgurr Mhic Choinnich provides some tricky scrambling along Collies (Harts) Ledge.

The next point of interest is the Inaccessible Pinnacle - the true summit of Sgurr Dearg - one of the Cuillin Munros seen here in photo four. The route to the summit is up the East Ridge - some 70 metres of exposed yet easy climbing. Descent is a mere 15 metres from the Bolster Stone down the west side.

Further on, the traverse between Sgurr Na Banachdich and Sgurr a Ghreadaidh provides some interesting exposed scrambling; and the traverse of Sgurr a'Mhadaidh's four tops involves further roped climbing. (photo five)

After this there is still Bidean Drum Nam Ramh's 3 summits to traverse - involving 2 abseils and it is only once past An Caisteal that the way on to Bruach Na Frithe eases. However, further ropework is required to get you up and down the West Ridge of Sgurr Nan Gillean.

Where possible, we will attempt to get you across all of these obstacles as part of your Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trip as well as traversing as much of the ridge and gaining as many of the Munro tops as we can. This, however, depends on the ability of everyone in the group and of course, the weather.

Are these trips worth joining? Absolutely - when you think of the cost and what the trip entails. You need to be prepared to work as part of a team as this is what you will be - working with each other and in conjuction with Iain who will be guiding you  and looking after your safety on the technical secions of the ridge. Ideally, you will be fit, have a head for heights and will have had previous expeience of scrambling

Teamwork is also required at the cottage where everyone provides a meal for everyone else and mucks in with the cleaning up.

It is not all hard work though. Our daily excusions to the Cuillin Ridge are done at the pace of the group and each day is organised by Iain to give you the best opportunity to achieve success on the ridge. There will also be two days off during the week where you have an opportunity to discover all else that Skye has to offer. Our Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trips allow you to enjoy yourself and relax as well as enjoying the exhilaration that this - the best mountaineering excursion in the UK has to offer

So what did this May's group think? Read on below and if you would like to book a place on the next Cuillin Ridge Traverse trip running betweeen the 6th & 13th September then contact us here.

Alison Laws

I'd wanted to play on the Cuillin for years and was due to go on KMS's Skye trip in September last year but, inexplicably, no-one else booked so Iain had to cancel it. I was therefore really excited when I was able to get on this month's trip at short notice. The weather was mixed, but that detracted very little from the trip. Iain books a cosy wee cottage with a cracking view across Loch Bracadale to the Inner Hebrides. The trip is run from this base, returning every evening for copious home-cooked food and good crack, talking about the day's activities, planning the next day's route and reminiscing about past trips. Iain has a passion for the outdoors and for Skye which is clearly evident. He has a great deal of experience both of mountaineering and of Skye, which shows in his ability to find the correct route in complex terrain in low visibility; and to keep people safe without curtailing their enjoyment. I always felt Iain was making the best decision for the group rather than himself. I think the best endorsement I can give is that I'd happily go on this trip again, having had a great time and made some good friends.

Alastair Simpson

Spent a week in Skye with the aim of doing the Cuillin Ridge Traverse and what an experience it turned out to be. Iain is a first class guide whose knowledge of this area appears to be second to none. Not only the immediate area of Skye but every island situated off it. We completed 9 out of the 11 munros and only inclement weather defeated us. As we were about to tackle the Inn Pinn, Iain's eyebrows and Helen's hair warned of the presence of an electrical storm! The cottage we stayed in was excellent and Iain's idea of each client (although at no time did we feel like clients) preparing the meal each night was a great way to bond and relax after a hard day on the hills. One thing you should be prepared for is, at the most inopportune of times, say balancing precariously on an abseil, Iain will ask you to wait there while he takes yet another photo!! Seriously, if you've ever considered Skye, or any outdoor activity, KMS has it covered. What I must also mention is how fortunate we were to have such a good group. Despite the wonders of the Cuillin and Iain's expertise, I was incredibly fortunate to share it with Alison, Don, Helen and Steve. Don't think about it...do it!

Helen & Don MacDonald

The Cuillin ridge in May - what a great adventure! The ridge could turn into a challenging environment pretty quickly when the weather turned, and as a generally happy scrambler I was glad to be led by such an experienced guide. Iain knows the ridge inside out - keeping us safe and moving smoothly, but also picking routes that felt adventurous and fun. Iain's experience ensured we really made the most of the exciting scrambling the Cuillins offer. The cottage is lovely, and the trip is great value too. Book a place now!

Steve Smith

If, like me, you are just the average hill walker with no climbing expertise and limited scrambling experience, but have set yourself the target to climb all the Munros. Have you thought about how you will reach the 11 Munros on the Cuillin Ridge, Isle of Skye? From what I have read and now seen you will have no chance unless you know an experienced climber with knowledge of the Cuillins. Iain Gallagher of Kendal Mountaineering Services is just such a man. He has a lifetime of mountaineering experience along with a detailed knowledge of the Cuillins including safe scrambling routes along with entry and exit routes to take the safest option whatever the conditions might be or indeed change whilst out on the hill.
I found his services on line and paid the £425 for one weeks accommodation and 4 days guided walking (scrambling and climbing) in the Cuillins. Excellent value. 4 days guided walking alone could cost you that much. This price really includes food as well, because each member of the group, including Iain, supply a home cooked meal each day, creating a brilliant atmosphere and get together at the end of the day with everyone else in the team.
A team is just what you are part of, supporting each other throughout the day ensuring each and every one of us reaches our own goals as well as at times being extended outside of our own comfort zones and edge of achievable limits.
A brilliant experience. No kickbacks or commissions, but I cannot recommend this trip highly enough and thanks Iain most sincerely for enabling me to extend myself beyond limits I never thought possible. As I have read somewhere "you do not know your limits or what you are capable of achieving until you start to venture beyond your limits."
Iain provided the opportunity and maintained the safe environment to do just that.
As well as taking copious amounts of photographs he also records the days events on his own blog to provide lasting memories of a trip of a lifetime.
All of these endorsements can be viewed in the Testimonials page on the Kendal Mountaineering Services website.

No comments: