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Mountaineering on the Cuillin Ridge

Cuillin Ridge Traverse | Scotland
5.00
1 REVIEW
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go mountaineering in Cuillin Ridge

  • Trip Highlight

    An unparalleled abundance of routes to choose from

  • Trip Highlight

    Test your courage on some of the best scrambling routes in Europe

  • Trip Highlight

    Marvel at the magnificent views of the Black Cuillin Mountains

As the UK’s premier mountaineering and climbing challenge, Scotland’s Cuillin Ridge earns its stripes. Nestled in the remote Isle of Skye, the “Holy Grail of British scrambling” has a lot to offer—it stretches nearly 8 miles (12km) in length, with almost 3 miles (4km) of ascents, 11 Munros (separate mountains), and a whopping 20 summits! And it’s not just about the numbers. Climbers from all over the world are queueing to experience Cuillin Ridge’s grueling but infinitely rewarding scrambles. While the traverse may be technically simple, the ledges are scary, the drops deep, and you’ll often feel like you’re walking and climbing on the knife’s edge. The fantastic views of the surrounding mountains are just the thing to seal the deal. Hop on over to Scotland for one of the most satisfying adrenaline-filled traverses in Europe.

Season

May through June

Nearest city

Elgol, Scotland, is half an hour away from Cuillin Ridge

Duration

4 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced

Itineraries

Book this adventure

Four-Day Cuillin Ridge Traverse Course

4 days

Put your skills to the test on the infamous Cuillin Ridge on this 4-day tour of Scotland’s greatest climbing spots like the Amphitheatre Arete and Sgurr a Mhadaidh! Scramble, abseil, rock climb, and take part in a spectacular overnight bivy, all with the majestic Black Cuillin Mountains as your backdrop. A seasoned guide will accompany you, making sure you experience the best that the Ridge has to offer!

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Meet-up and warm-up

Meet your guides, and go over the course itinerary, equipment, and weather conditions. This is your chance to share your aspirations and goals for the trip. Head into the mountains to complete a classic scramble such as Amphitheatre Arete on Sron na Ciche. This will allow you to learn new techniques and develop efficient movement and ropework skills in preparation for the traverse.

A climber on a cliff in Cuillin Ridge

Day 2: Gars Bheinn and An Dorus Gap

Enjoy a speedboat ride from Elgol across to the Loch Coruisk side of the Cuillin Ridge and catch a glimpse of seal colonies there! Ascend the slopes to the summit of Gars Bheinn, the true start of Cuillin Ridge. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for more climbing, you can climb the immaculate Dubh Slabs, the longest rock climb in the UK! Continue along the ridge over munros and classic climbs including the TD gap, Collies Ledge and the famous Inaccessible Pinnacle. After a long and rewarding day, reach An Dorus Gap, your stop for the night. Relax and enjoy dinner surrounded by incredible views at sunset, before a good night’s sleep in your bivi bag.

A lake in Cuillin Ridge

Day 3: Sgurr a Mhadaidh and Sgurr nan Gillian

Day 3 starts early, with a sunrise summit of Sgurr a Mhadaidh. Today’s climbs are shorter, but just as demanding. Ascend the brilliant Am Basteir and go for a final scramble up on the summit of Sgurr nan Gillian. On your way back, take a dip in the beautiful, cool plunge pools before a well-earned stop at the Sligachan Hotel Bar for a drink.

A climber in the fog in Cuillin Ridge

Day 4: Return

Adjust your traverse attempt forwards or backwards to take advantage of the best weather window. This dramatically increases your chances of a successful traverse. Alternatively, spend the day climbing, scrambling, sea cliff climbing, or even make an attempt on the famous Clach Glas-Bla Bheinn Traverse, maximizing your time on Skye before you head back home.

Climbers on a peak in Cuillin Ridge
Reviews

Reviews (1)

John K. about Mountain Focus on Guide's website

Mike was a great guide and companion for the four days. His knowledge, patience, advice, and skills along with a few laughs got me through all the challenges presented. Reading about the Cuillins offers little preparation for the awesome experience laid before you. Mike gave me an experience I will never forget!

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Cuillin Ridge, Scotland

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Cuillin Ridge, Scotland please refer to Scotland’s guidance for travel and transport.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced, local rock-climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • Four days of rock climbing
    • All technical climbing gear
    • Speedboat transportation from Elgol to Cuillin Ridge

What’s not included:

    • Transportation to Cuillin RIdge
    • Accommodations
    • Food and snacks

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is quite challenging, and you need to be in good physical condition to attempt it. You will spend four days on your feet, hiking, scrambling, and rock climbing, encountering some mentally and physically draining technical routes. Rock climbing is all about using good movement techniques rather than muscling up a cliff using brute strength. To ensure you have a fun day, your guide will choose routes that best suit your skill and fitness level.

What if I’ve never climbed before?

This tour requires prior climbing experience. Traversing Cuillin ridge requires a decent level of familiarity with technical scrambling, abseiling, rock climbing, and other techniques. For intermediate to advanced climbers, Cuillin Ridge has loads of routes to spend the day on. Your guide will discuss your objectives and customize the day to your goals. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while climbing the classic routes or best-hidden gems the area has to offer.

What about required equipment?

All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:

    • Helmet
    • Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device, and chalk bag
    • Ropes
    • Rock shoes (included in the price, but we recommend bringing your own if you have them)
    • Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)

Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:

    • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
    • Water bottle
    • Food you can eat on-the-go
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

    • These courses are not private. For the group courses, the max guest-to-guide ratio is 2:1.
    • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

Climbing days in Cuillin Ridge can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to climb on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Elgol, Scotland, the starting point of your tour, most people fly into Inverness International Airport northeast of Elgol. From there, you should take a bus or a taxi to the city of Inverness. Afterwards, from Inverness, you can rent a car and take a 2,5-hour drive to Elgol. Alternatively, you can hop on a bus to Broadford, then take another bus to Elgol, which will take you around 4 hours total, or take a train ride to Kyle of Lochalsh and an hour-long train ride from there.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

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