The Round of Coire a'Ghreadaidh - (Sgurr a Mhadaidh, Sgurr a Ghreadaidh, Sgurr an Banachdich).
I've been hillwalking all over Scotland in the last three weeks or so - Glen Affric, the Ben Lawers range, Loch Treig, the Southern Highlands and the Nevis range to name a few.
To many people it does seem like a pointless hobby, but it has all been in pursuit of standing on the summits of Munros. About 3 weeks ago I had done about 85 or so, and with an amazingly long period of high pressure forecast I decided to go for a big push towards the magical 100 number.
It is just that, a number, but a milestone none the less and I wanted to make sure that I chose somewhere special to stand on the summit of my 100th Munro. And where better than Skye's Cuillin Ridge?
So with a perfect forecast I found myself driving towards Glen Brittle to do the wonderful round of Coire a'Ghreadaidh. I was treated to a wonderful cloud inversion over Glen Garry during the drive…always a sight to lift the soul, and it really got me in the mood for what would turn out to be a fantastic day.
Once at the Glen Brittle hostel it is a quick romp into Coire a'Ghreadaidh, where you aim for the great cleft of An Dorus, "The Door" into the central section of the Cuillin. After a lot of scree-trudging it was wonderful to suddenly arrive at the gap of An Dorus and be greeted by the view to Blaven and down into a sparkling Loch Coruisk.
The rise in temperature was startling, and for the rest of the day I enjoyed hot sunshine and still air. I quickly completed the stiff scramble out of An Dorus and onto the first Munro of the day, Sgurr a Mhadaidh.
Back into An Dorus and up the ridge towards Sgurr a Ghreadaidh, and I was loving it. Bone dry and grippy Cuillin rock, confidence inspiring as my first excursion onto rock since the the winter. I was thinking how utterly different it was to all my climbing on ice and mixed in the winter, and how brilliant it is that you can have such contrasting experiences in the Scottish mountains only a few weeks apart.
The summit of Sgurr a Ghreadaidh! From here I started along one of the most memorable sections of ridge in Scotland, the narrowest mountain areté in the British Isles. There are ways of avoiding the narrowest sections, but I took it as direct as I could, enjoying absolutely sensational exposure.
A few stiff down-climbs, over the intimidating pinnacles of "The Three Teeth" and a last scramble onto the summit of Sgurr na Banachdich.
So there I was, on a boiling hot morning in April, that I found myself standing on the Cuillin Ridge on the summit of my 100th Munro. I can think of no-where better to celebrate this milestone, in the middle of Britain's very finest mountains and looking down onto one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Magic.