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Cuillins from Elgol

The Cuillin
The Cuillin

Scotlands Best Walks

Cuillins of Skye

Across the straits from the Kyle of Lochalsh brood the Cuillin Hills of Skye. Long the mecca for climbers from all
over Britain, these beautiful precipitous peaks provide mountaineers with an irresistible challenge. Glen Brittle, their favourite base, has the reputation for being one of
the wettest spots in Scotland, frequently draped in mist or rain. None the less on the rare days of sunshine it is an unforgettable sight, hemmed in as it is by ranges of daunting hills.

There are no less than fifteen peaks of more than 3,000 feet in height within the small area encompassed by Sgurr nan Gillean and Gars Bheinn including some of the most famous climbs in the whole of Scotland. There is the Great Stone Shoot on Sgurr Alasdair (3,309 feet), which is a confined gulley where loose rocks are easily disturbed. From Sron na Ciche the huge mass of rock known as the Cioch, thrusts out to tower in dizzy isolation over the valley floor far below. Here is to
be found the ‘Inaccessible Pinnacle’ of Sgurr Dearg (3,254 feet) and Window Buttress, a famous rock climb.

These towering pinnacles are known as the ‘Black Cuillins’ while over their flanks is the lesser range known as the
‘Red Cuillins’ which envelope the forbidding and lonely Loch Coruisk. Beyond these hills rises the great bulk of
Blaven (3,042 feet). Many of these mountains remained unclimbed until as recently as the 1880’s and even today it is not wise for even skilled climbers to attempt them single-handed unless well versed in the local topography.

Although justly famed, the Cuillin Hills are not the only peaks which the delightful Isle of Skye has to offer. In the northern section of the island are located the Trotternish hills with peaks of around 2,000 feet such as Beinn a’ Chearcaill, Beinn Edya and The Storr (2,360 feet), with the strange Old Man of Storr, looking out over the Sound of Raasay and giving wonderful views across to the mainland heights behind Applecross.

To the east of the narrow neck of Skye, beyond Strath Mor, lie the Red Hills of Beinn Dearg Mhor (2,323 feet) and Beinn na Caillich (2,403 feet) which are more gently rounded mountains than the precipitous Cuillins. Seen from the shore of Loch Slapin they appear more subdued than their black cousins to the west.

Around Strathaird Point, at the head of Loch Scavaig, lies the charming hamlet of Elgol. This tiny cluster of houses is famed for the magnificent views it commands north to the Cuillins and south to the islands of Rum, Eigg and
Canna, both aspects being equally pleasing and dramatic.

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