Map: By far the best map to use for the Cuillin is the 1:12500 scale Harvey’s Superwalker map,
“Skye: The Cuillin”.
The Ordnance Survey 1:25000 map suffers in clarity from too much heavy shading for cliffs
and from too closely packed contours.
Route: The (anti-clockwise) round of Coire Lagan is one of the classic scrambles on Syke, and justifiably so. A great day out! It should take under 9 hours to do all the peaks without hurrying. Park at the Memorial Hut if possible or else at the road end by the camp site.
The “In Pin” is by far the most difficult Munro and the only one for which climbers would normally use a rope. The scrambling is technically quite straightforward, but the exposure is breath-taking. It is much more enjoyable after the first time when knowing what to expect, especially with the freedom to ascend at one’s own pace without rope. There is generally a one way system on the Pin: scramble up the long side, and abseil down the short side. So a rope, harness and hard hat are fairly essential. For those that need to know how much rope to take, the drop is about 15m and so a 35m length used double should be enough.
Sgurr Dearg and the Inaccessible Pinnacle can form the main part of a number of different walks. Sgurr MhicChoinnich is usually an easy addition to the day, with the An Stac screes giving an excellent and speedy descent into Coire Lagan.
The classic round of Loch Laggan starts with an ascent of the Cioch. The Cioch is no more demanding technically than the In Pin, possibly a little easier, but it has much less exposure than the In Pin and is probably much less subject to wind. The approach along a ledge from below and to the left is much easier in clear, dry conditions. It is in shade until evening, as also is most of the associated ascent of Sgurr Sgumain, so it is not often dry. However, the shady ascent is very useful on very hot days. The ascent from the Cioch to Sgurr Sgumain is relatively straightforward diagonally left up a gully, with one interesting point where one can climb through a hole under a large boulder. The gully also forms an easy ascent to Sgurr Sgumain from Corrie Laggan and does not need to include the Cioch.
From Sgurr Sgumain, the path north to the col with Sgurr Alasdair is slightly tricky to find. However, the ascent from the col to Sgurr Alasdair is normally done by first dropping down east off the ridge to avoid the Mauvais Pas and then scaling an easy chimney where paths join from lower down.
From the col between Sgurr Alasdair and Sgurr Thearlaich, it is possible to scramble directly up to Sgurr Thearlaich, the only difficulty being the first two or three moves. Alternatively, this scrambling can be avoided by dropping down the SE side a few yards until it is easy to cross onto Sgurr Thearlaich.
There are some choices of route down to Bealach Mhic Choinnich, but the best is not easy to find. Take time and back-track if things become difficult. There are no technical problems on the best route. Generally, one keeps to the crest of the ridge as far as the final nose which leads down to the col. At that point there is an easy and clear path going NNE round the right (east) side of the nose to the bealach. Don’t try to go westwards off the ridge.
From the bealach, the easier route up Sgurr Mhic Choinnich is via Collie’s Ledge, which rises slowly N under Sgurr Mhic Choinnich to the ridge and poses no difficulty. It starts with a two or three metre climb up the wall to the right before ascending diagonally leftwards up a short buttress and grove to the ledge. The ledge climbs quickly initially before flattening out and has a slight dip before reaching the ridge well above Bealach Lagan. An alternative which requires roping up is King’s Chimney, which is obvious once one reaches the Bealach Mhic Choinnich. Along with the TD gap, Naismith’s route on the Basteir Tooth, and the Inaccessible Pinnacle, this chimney is among the most challenging points of a traversal of the Cuillin ridge.
The last column in the route table below gives the route numbers and climbing grades from Parker's “Scrambles in Skye”.
Weather (1/5/07): A cloud-free summer day. Rather too hot to be called perfect walking weather, but the ascent was in shade.
|1||Parking at Glen Brittle Camp Site||2||0||0.0 miles||NG40932062|
|2||E on path from behind the toilet block
to near the S end of Loch an Fhir-bhallaich
|282||280||1.4 miles||NG43112055||#7 2W|
|3||Continue path E below Cioch
to bottom of Sgumain Stone Chute
|525||525||2.2 miles||NG44272038||#7 2W|
|4||Ledge SW to below The Cioch
then up crack below E face to Cioch.
|712||710||#43 RII &
|5||Diagonally E up ledge to Eastern Gully, ascend
gully, crawl under large boulder blocking route,
& continue up gully to Sron na Ciche
|6||N to col||841||2.75 miles||NG44832044||#42 3S|
|7||N to T Sgurr Sgumain||947||970||2.85 miles||NG4484620674||#39 2W|
|8||Descend E below the Mauvais Pas of
Sgurr Alasdair's SW ridge to a chimney
above the screes on its S face
|~900||2.95 miles||#40 3S|
|9||N up chimney to M Sgurr Alasdair||993||1075||3.0 miles||NG4500220784||#38 RI|
|10||SE down SE ridge to col||955||3.05 miles||#37 3S|
|11||Continue SE with slight loss of altitude
until it is easy to attain the S ridge of Sg. Th.,
then NNW to T Sgurr Thearlaich summit.
|984||1100||3.1 miles||NG4507720784||#32 RI|
|12||N to Bealach Mhic Choinnich.
There are some choices of route here,
but the best is not easy to find. Take time
and back-track if things become difficult.
|892||3.25 miles||#34 RII|
|13||Collie's Ledge rising slowly N to ridge, then
S up ridge to M Sgurr Mhic Choinnich.
(There are no route finding problems for this.)
|948||1195||3.6 miles||NG4502121047||#46 RII|
|14||NNW to Bealach Lagan||800||3.85 miles||NG44792143||#45 4S|
|15||NW up path south below An Stac then
WNW up ridge to M Inaccessible Pinnacle
|983||1385||4.1 miles||NG4440421566||#49 2W+
|16||Abseil down W ridge & ascend W to Sgurr Dearg||978||1395||4.12 miles||NG4438321556||#51 RIII|
|17||Either: return via An Stac Screes & Coire Lagan
Or: Initially S for 100yds, then 50 yds SW over
narrow ridge & W down ridge to Sron Dearg
|804||1430||4.5 miles||NG43882141||#47 3S|
|18||Ridge W nearly to Eas Mor waterfall||200||5.55 miles||NG42202130||#47|
|19||SW cross country to camp site toilet block
& parking or path W to road by Glenbrittle
House, then road S to parking.