Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Sgurr nan Gillean

Sgurr nan Gillean

Postby canisp » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:03 pm

Route description: Sgùrr nan Gillean

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr nan Gillean

Date walked: 16/02/2008

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Sgurr nan Gillean had looked superb from Marsco yesterday, and even better from Ruadh Stac as the pinnacle ridge stood out more, so today the 13 Feb 2008 i decided to do SnG.

Marsco at dawn

Marsco at dawn, with Bla Bheinn in the background

I left the car at 7:30 and walked down a landrover track then followed a path east to the bridge, the ground was frozen and made for easy going. After 2km i crossed another bridge, a good path went up over a shoulder then dropped slightly into Coire Riabhach. A steeper ascent for 150 mtrs took me up over the next shoulder, and after 1km more i was in the coire which leads up to the ridge. The intermittent path weaves up and round the boulders, higher up the route leads left then up a bit of a gully.

In the coire looking to Knights Peak

Below the southeast ridge looking to SnG and Knights Peak

Finally out of the gully i picked a way up the broad slope to the ridge. As the weather was good finding the route back to the top of the gully would not be a problem, it might not be so easy in bad weather. The view from the ridge over to the main Cuillin is stunning but it’s the cathedral like form of Sgurr nan Gillean which steals the show.

Sgurr nan Gillean from the foot of the southeast ridge

Onwards and upwards, the first five minutes were easy going over or round any obstacles, then it got steeper with less options. A good scramble on the left side of the ridge got me up the 1st tricky bit, a more difficult scramble on the right side of the ridge with a lot of fresh air below me saw me up what i think is the most difficult part. Another scramble and the angle eased, the final 10 or 20 mtrs along the summit crest is no place to have a slip, particularly one point were much care is required. I reached the summit just before 11:00 and spent 1 hour resting at the cairn mesmerised by the views.

The last few metres to the summit

Am Basteir from Sgurr nan Gillean

One step Southwest from the summit cairn would drop you hundreds of feet into a coire. The West ridge runs down to Am Basteir, but is not for walkers. Northwards is Knights peak another airy perch, not accessible from here. To the Northeast and round to the Southeast is extremely steep ground, the only way back for me is the way i came up. Reluctantly left the summit around 12:00, and carefully picked my way across the ridge. The 1st scramble down was ok, next was the hardest part, a steep difficult scramble with more exposure than i care for, it seemed like scrambling around on the roof of a house and my legs seemed too short to get the next foothold. This was right at my limit, i somehow managed and breathed a sigh of relief. After this the rest of the descent of the ridge was easy. I walked to Sgurr Beag and part way down the ridge, for the best views of SnG. Half way down the corrie i met two young girls coming up, we spoke for a minute. In one of life’s amazing coincidences, one girl used to live less than 2 miles from where i live now, which is 400 miles by car, south of Skye. The rest of the walk was an anticlimax and i reached the car about 3:30, a very satisfying day. :D


Marsco reflection

Sun behind Sgurr nan Gillean

Sunset over Skye
Last edited by canisp on Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:32 am, edited 5 times in total.
User avatar
Posts: 331
Munros:281   Corbetts:191
Grahams:28   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:195
Joined: Jan 2, 2008
Location: Barrow in Furness/Cumbria

Re: Sgurr nan Gillean

Postby bigbertie » Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:46 pm

That looks like a fabulous day, especially for February. I presume you had no snow problems as you don't mention any. I once climbed the pinnacle ridge back in the 1970's when I had just started rock climbing - quite an experience. I did take a few photos but the standard of my photography was pretty poor in those days (so was the camera) and I'm not even sure if I could find them now. cheers bigbertie
User avatar
Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 25, 2008

Re: Sgurr nan Gillean

Postby olympus » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:47 am

hi i have just signed up as a new member ,i will be revisiting skye late april and hope to have a go at some of the munros we did blaven last year with our two collies skye and sam .i enjoyed your description of sgur nan gillean and hope to have a go weather permiting (without the dogs of course) i iam ok with moderate scrambling but it will be my most difficult asscent so far cheers john
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 7, 2008
Location: north yorkshire

Re: Sgurr nan Gillean

Postby bigbertie » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:37 pm

Olympus, have a good time, & send us some photos please.
User avatar
Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 25, 2008

Re: Sgurr nan Gillean

Postby Nige R » Thu May 28, 2009 2:05 pm

Took me 2 trips to succeed on this fantastic mountain. My first trip to Skye May 1982 was heralded by alpine conditions! The ascent up to col alone was like something I'd read about in climbing books by the pioneers of old, a 19 year old fell tiger - sorry pussy - me, led out the route I remember looking back down 3/4 's of the way up and thinking oh my god, and here we are with no rope (it was in my sack) not the time to fall. Made the crest and the view was just awesome! A glance to the right was sobering to say the least , the tourist route ( whoever named it that must have wedding tackle like a prize bull ) was plastered in snow and ice, a quick decision was needed, **** that was the consensus! Two years later we all stood at the same spot in July, no snow (well it had been a nice summer) and took on our nemisis, adrenaline saw us bomb to the top, a place where I could have sat forever, if you've been you know what I mean. Coming down proved much trickier - for me anyway, but the problems are soon over,hindsight proved we made the correct decision two years before, mountains do not go away they are always there wait till conditions are right. Next week will be my chance to show two mates just why I go on and on and on and..... about how magnificent a place Skye is, the third mate in our party for next week sat on that summit with me 25 years ago, he wants to do SnG again (!)but the Main Ridge ( well the easy bits ) has filled my thoughts for a long time now, hope to do what I call the Bruach Na Frithe Horseshoe ( come on guys I'm from North Wales! ) up via Sgurr a Bhastier down to Bealach a Mhaim, Sgurr Alasdair also planned via Great Stone Shoot, then finess and weather permitting finish with Glamaig via the Ben Deargs,then on the next day... joke! As I've said on this forum before nice weather will see me with two new converts to the Skye Fan Club
Nige R
Posts: 38
Munros:13   Corbetts:3
Joined: May 13, 2009
Location: Mold,North Wales

Re: Sgurr nan Gillean

Postby mountain coward » Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:07 am

Nige R wrote:adrenaline saw us bomb to the top, a place where I could have sat forever, if you've been you know what I mean.

Looking at the pics of Sgurr nan Gillean I can see what you mean! I'm sure I would sit there forever if I ever got up it! I'd be too scared to descend again! :o
mountain coward

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bookbug, giblint, jaket166, katyhills, lyorbell and 37 guests