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Southern Cuillin

Southern Cuillin


Postby MacCookie » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:33 pm

Route description: Southern Cuillin and Coire Ghrunnda

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Dubh Mor, Sgurr nan Eag

Date walked: 15/06/2009

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Was up on Skye earlier in May with a mate from my walking club. We both fancied a few days scrambling up on the Cuillin Ridge and my aunt and uncle rather fortuitously own a cottage near Broadford.

The first sortie up onto the Cuillin was at the southern end of the ridge. Although I've linked to the WalkHighlands route, this was a slightly extended version as we continued along to climb Sgurr Alasdair.

The day started out with the clouds down to 700-800m and it didn't look like it was going to be a particularly great day unfortunately. We headed out anyway and followed the path to the bottom of Coire Ghrunnda. From there there's a bit of a scramble up into the coire itself. Route finding wasn't too bad - we stuck to the left side of the slabs, just right of the stream that flows out of Loch Coire Ghrunnda.

By the time that we'd reached the loch, the clouds had begun to lift and we could see up towards Sgurr nan Eag, our first summit of the day. Rather than heading up to the right of Caisteal a Garbh Choire, we went a bit further right of that and headed up through the scree and reached the crest a bit below the summit ridge. This involved some pretty good scrambling to get the day started - the rocks in the area are fantastically grippy!

We eventually ended up on the ridge that leads up towards the lengthy summit ridge of Sgurr nan Eag - the views from here are pretty good looking south towards Gars-Bheinn and winding ridge that connects it to Sgurr nan Eag, along with views out towards the small isles and further west towards the Eilean Siar. Turning round to head north along the ridge, the views were even more spectacular! Looking out across Coire Ghrunnda really was quite something!

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We headed along the Cuillin ridge, bypassing Caisteal a Garbh Choire on the Loch Coruisk side and then heading up Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn. The route up Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn isn't very clear and the crest of the ridge wasn't particularly distinct, so we ended up more on the Coire Ghrunnda side. The view from the summit was another cracker - Sgurr Alasdair was looking particularly fine!

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And the view over to our next Munro didn't scare us as much as it should have done perhaps ;)

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To be fair, the scramble over to Sgurr Dubh Mor wasn't too bad, it was more the scramble back that was the problem! I'm not really a great fan of down-scrambling! Of course, it was worth it for the view and on such a fine day, it's hard to say no.

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Of course, my mate, Ade, just looked bored!

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We headed back to Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn and then continued along the ridge. The SMC's Skye Scrambles guidebook talked about a traverse from the bealach above Coire an Lochain (Bealach Thearlich-Dubh?) round to bealach above the Sgumain Stone Chute that would allow an ascent of Sgurr Alasdair's south-west ridge whilst avoiding the infamous Thearlich-Dubh Gap.

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The traverse was easier than expected and we easily found the chimney just below the crest of the SW ridge that gives easy access to that face of Sgurr Alasdair. From the bealach between Sgurr Sgumain and Sgurr Alasdair there's a tricky bad step that's apparently best avoided - not that the route up the chimney was much easier - this is a grade 3 scramble in the SMC's guidebook. From the top of the chimney we worked our way up and eventually reached the crest of the ridge, not far off the summit.

The view from the summit of Sgurr Alasdair was quite something!

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We could even see people climbing on the In Pinn - the guy in the photo below looks particularly pleased to have reached the summit! ;)

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From Sgurr Alasdair, the obvious route down is via the Great Stone Chute. Not much fun, but pretty fast going if you're steady on your feet (or you've got a bum of steel!). The descent out of Coire Lagan was fab - stunning views out to sea again.

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And to end a classic day in the Cuillin, we stopped just short of Sligachan for this stunning view...

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For anyone who hasn't had enough photos, there are a few more on flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maccookie/ ... 33/detail/

Cheers,
Ewan

PS - This has been listed under the Southern Cuillin walk, but is actually a variation of the WalkHighlands route - before doing this I'd highly recommend reading up the SMC's Skye Scrambles guide and pick up a copy of the Harvey's map for the Cuillin (the main ridge at 1:12.5k was fantastic!).
MacCookie
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Re: Southern Cuillin

Postby maddjock » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:48 am

cracking photos there... wasnt aware you could link from flickr account, and the option to view large on black background is nice touch also...
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maddjock
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Re: Southern Cuillin

Postby Paul Webster » Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:24 pm

Stunning pics there, looks a great day. Would you mind if we used your Alasdair summit pic for our Alasdair route description (credited to you of course) - I've no intention of doing the stone chute again and I nearly fell off in that chimney off the SE ridge.
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Paul Webster
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Re: Southern Cuillin

Postby MacCookie » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:11 pm

Paul,

I take it you mean the SW ridge? I thought the chimney was ok actually, certainly not as bad as some of the other stuff we did during the week - the SE ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean still gives me the heebeegeebees!

I'll send you a private message about the photo.

Ewan
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