With countries slowly opening up as the COVID-19 crisis eases, many people are considering travelling abroad. However, many others are wary of making too many plans as the situation remains volatile.
For anyone looking for a mountain adventure but unwilling to commit to a trip to the Alps, there may be an answer which, if not quite on our doorstep, isn’t far beyond. The Cuillin mountain range offers an alpine landscape and Skye Munros mountain adventures on the Scottish Isle of Skye.
The Cuillin range is in fact made up of 2 different ranges; the Black Cuillins and the Red Cuillins. The Black Cuillins are the more dramatic of the two and are comprised mostly of gabbro and basalt. Gabbro is a rough rock which is popular with mountaineers due to its good grip, while basalt has a tendency to become very slippery when it is wet.
The Red Cuillins are formed from granite and are more rounded with fewer climbs and scrambles. The granite also has a reddish hue in some places, which gives this range its name. The highest point in the Cuillins, Sgùrr Alasdair, is found within the Black Cuillins range, as are 11 of the 12 Munros that can be found on the Isle of Skye.
Munros are Scottish mountains over 3,000 ft and bagging a Munro (or 12) is an ambition for many hikers and climbers. The Cuillins are also home to 2 Corbetts (mountains between 2,500 ft and 3,000 ft) and 3 Grahams (mountains with a height between 2,000 and 2,500 ft), making this range an excellent place for any holidaymaker hoping to challenge themselves.
A range of adventures
The variety of terrain in the Cuillins means that there is a mountain route for everybody, regardless of their experience, although you should be reasonably fit. The foothills of the Cuillins offer the most gentle walks, with the added bonus of being an ideal p[lace to see the mountains in all their glory.
If you fancy something a bit more testing, then head into the mountains themselves. Here you’ll find Grade 1 and Grade 2 scrambles which are best tackled by hikers with an excellent head for heights. Some will require ropes, and it’s usually best to pick the brains of local experts before embarking on any route.
For those looking for outdoor climbing, the Inaccessible Pinnacle, known as the In Pinn offers a moderately graded climb. The Inaccessible Pinnacle is the true summit of the 986-meter tall Sgùrr Dearg, one of the 12 Munros on Skye. The popular East Ridge route up the In Pinn has good-szed foot and hold holds, which means that in good weather it can be conquered by even relatively inexperienced climbers, as long as they have the right support.
Staying on Skye
From campsites to posh hotels you’ll find all types of accommodation on the Isle of Skye. If you’re a hiking or climbing holiday with friends, you may want to look at one of the many bunkhouses available. These can be booked by larger groups and offer self-catering facilities.
While easier to get to from Scotland and Northern England, many travellers to Skye, particularly from the South of England, opt to fly to Inverness or Glasgow and then hire a car for the remainder of the journey. You can then drive the rest of the way, taking the Skye Bridge between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin, or opting for one of the two ferries. The main ferry is between Armadale and Mallaig, and this runs all year round. However, for a quainter service, you can take the smaller ferry between Glenelg and Kylerhea. This seasonal service is the last manually operated turntable ferry in the world and has been running since 1934.
The Cuillins on the Isle of Skye offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK. If you visit we’re sure you’ll agree with us that you don’t have to travel as far as the Alps to enjoy the majesty of the mountain landscape.