Scotland's Mountain Ridges - A Guide to Scrambles and Climbs - a Cicerone guide

Cover of Scotland's Mountain Ridges
Availability
Reprinted
Published
14 Mar 2014
ISBN
9781852844691
Edition
First
Size
24.0 x 17.0 x 1.8cm
Weight
730g
Pages
256
1st Published
18 Mar 2006
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Scotland's Mountain Ridges

Scrambling, Mountaineering and Climbing - the best routes for summer and winter

by Dan Bailey
Book published by Cicerone Press

A guidebook covering the best summer scrambling, rock climbing and winter mountaineering on Scotland's ridges, from the remote Cairngorms to the splendour of the Cuillin. With inspirational photographs, the guidebook is both a celebration of the landscape and a practical route guide.

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Description

Ridges are epic. Graceful carved walkways slung between summits, twisted spines of stone – these can be the most beautiful of mountain landforms. With elegant lines and giddy exposure, ridge climbs emit a powerful siren call, drawing us out onto the rocks. Life on the edge has a special quality, born of the contrast of empty space all around, and intricate detail in close-up. The crests are strangely irresistible.

Scotland’s ridges are among the finest mountaineering lines in the country, every one a unique adventure. The variety of these routes reflects the breadth of the mountain experience: a rich mix of summer scrambles, technical rock and challenging winter climbs. This book covers both the popular classics and some obscure gems, aiming to celebrate these thrilling climbs as much as to document them. Along the way it explores landscapes of magnificent diversity, ranging from the remote desolation of the Cairngorms to the seaside splendour of the Cuillin, the great trench of Glencoe to the surreal exhibitionism of the far north. The chosen selection spans the grade range, with routes to suit all levels of ability. Whether an earthbound hillwalker or an accomplished climber, Scotland’s ridges cannot fail to stir your imagination.

  • Seasons
    Throughout the year. Suitable in winter only for those with the required fitness and skills.
  • Centres
    Fort William, Kyle of Lochalsh, Aviemore, Gairloch, Lochinver, Arrochar, Cranlarich
  • Difficulty
    Experienced mountain walkers, scramblers and climbers. Routes to suit all levels of ability. Advanced skills required in winter.
  • Must See
    Ben Nevis, the Aonachs, Glen Coe, the Cobbler, Ben Lui, Mitre Ridge, An Teallach Traverse, Cuillin Main Ridge Traverse

Updates June 2007

Page 93 – Castle Ridge

Currently reads:

Approach
There are two customary approaches to the north side of Ben Nevis, both much of a muchness. One takes the Tourist Track from Glen Nevis, escaping just below the mind-numbing zigzags and contouring around the NW shoulder of Carn Dearg to join the Allt a’Mhuilinn by the CIC Hut. The alternative tends to be more popular with climbers: From the North Face car park near Torlundy head SE through trees, soon turning right. One kilometre later a left turn takes steep muddy slopes into the upper valley of the Allt a’Mhuilinn, and thence over sticky bogs to the CIC Hut. This path has recently been given a partial upgrade, firming up some of the worst boggy bits.

Updated text should read:

Approach
There are two customary approaches to the north side of Ben Nevis, both much of a muchness. One takes the Tourist Track from Glen Nevis, escaping just below the mind-numbing zigzags and contouring around the NW shoulder of Carn Dearg to join the Allt a’Mhuilinn by the CIC Hut. A nice new path connects the Tourist Track with the north tip of Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, where it simply terminates; a decision on continuing to the Allt a’Mhuilinn is currently pending (summer 2007). The alternative approach up the Allt a’Mhuilinn from the North Face car park near Torlundy tends to be more popular with climbers. The old route ascended a series of muddy slopes that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Somme. These are currently being bypassed by a new path which climbs through plantations to connect with the forestry track used as a car park by local guides; beyond the gate at the end of this track the route then continues on its old course up the Allt a’Mhuilinn. This latter path has also enjoyed a partial upgrade, firming up some of the worst boggy bits.

Page 210 – Suilven

Currently reads:

Approach
Throughout the approach, Suilven dominates the landscape. Take the surfaced track beside beautiful Loch Druim Suardalain, and through the grounds of Glencanisp Lodge. At the time of writing the estate has just been bought by the Assynt Foundation, an alliance of local people making good use of Scotland’s community buy-out legislation to secure the area’s future on behalf of all residents rather than a dynasty of lairds, to be run with the twin aims of local economic development and regeneration of the natural landscape. This is a fantastic example for communities elsewhere to follow. Keep heading roughly E through fields and thickets of gorse, where the track becomes a path. For several kilometres this undulates gently, following the N bank of the wide boggy valley of the Abhainn na Clach Airigh.

Updated text should read:

Approach
Throughout the approach Suilven dominates the landscape. Take the surfaced track beside beautiful Loch Druim Suardalain, and through the grounds of Glencanisp Lodge. The estate was purchased in recent years by the Assynt Foundation, an alliance of local people hoping to secure the area’s future on behalf of all residents rather than a dynasty of landowners, with a view to regenerating both the local economy and the natural landscape. This was widely hailed as a flagship example of community buy-out, supported by many in the hillwalking fraternity and funded in part by landscape preservation bodies. However in the light of such support a recent proposal to build a windfarm on a prominent hillside close to Suilven seems rather ironic. Is this really in line with the Foundation’s core aim ‘to safeguard natural and cultural heritage of the land for future generations and the enjoyment of the wider public’? Keep heading roughly E through fields and thickets of gorse, where the track becomes a path. For several kilometres this undulates gently, following the N bank of the wide boggy valley of the Abhainn na Clach Airigh.

Page 239 – Cuillin Main Ridge Traverse (info section)

Currently reads:

Time Your guess is as good as mine. The current record, set by an extraordinarily strong contender, stands at just under 3hrs 30mins between the two terminal summits. At the opposite end of the ability scale, two full days is far from unusual. In friendly weather average parties should reckon on something like 10-16hrs, plus a lengthy moorland tramp to start and finish.   

Updated text should read:

Time Your guess is as good as mine. The current record, set by an extraordinarily strong contender, stands at just over 3 hours 17 minutes between the two terminal summits. At the opposite end of the ability scale, two full days is far from unusual. In friendly weather average parties should reckon on something like 10-16hrs, plus a lengthy moorland tramp to start and finish.   

Page 243 – Cuillin Main Ridge Traverse

Currently reads:

Inaccessible Pinnacle
This menacing shark’s fin forms the true summit of Sgurr Dearg, and is famously the only Munro that requires a rope. In truth many of the other Cuillin Munros are nearly as technical, if less exposed. The pinnacle can readily be avoided, though this would be a shame. Climb the razor-sharp E Ridge in one long roped pitch, which must rank as Britain’s airiest Moderate. Abseil the shorter vertical W side, from a reassuringly substantial hawser under the summit block.

Updated text should read:

Inaccessible Pinnacle
This menacing shark’s fin forms the true summit of Sgurr Dearg, and is famously the only Munro that requires a rope. In truth many Cuillin Munros are similarly technical, if less exposed. The pinnacle can readily be avoided, though this would be a shame. Climb the razor-sharp E Ridge in one long roped pitch, which must rank as Britain’s airiest Moderate. Abseil the shorter vertical W side, from a reassuringly substantial hawser under the summit block. A recent rockfall hasn’t adversely affected the abseil, though the adjacent North West Corner (a VDiff route on the W side of the pinnacle) was damaged.

Contents

Introduction
Getting there
Accommodation
Sleeping out
Maps
Route descriptions – a note on the text
Grades and difficulty
Grade table
Winter grades
Gear and skills
Seasonal notes
Avalanches
Access

Arran and the Southern Highlands
1 A’Chir traverse
2 Pagoda Ridge, A’Chir
3 South Ridge Direct, Rosa Pinnacle, Cir Mhor
4 Glen Sannox horseshoe
5 Traverse of the South and Centre Peaks, The Cobbler
6 Coire Gaothaich circuit, Ben Lui

Lochaber
7 Sron na Creise, Creise
8 Inglis Clarke Ridge, Creise
9 Curved Ridge, Buachaille Etive Mor
10 Crowberry Ridge via the Rannoch Wall, Buachaille Etive Mor
11 Sron na Lairig, Stob Coire Sgreamhach
12 Dorsal Arete, Stob Coire nan Lochan
13 Aonach Eagach
14 Ring of Steall
15 Castle Ridge, Ben Nevis
16 Ledge Route, Ben Nevis
17 Tower Ridge, Ben Nevis
18 Observatory Ridge, Ben Nevis
19 North East Buttress via Raeburn’s Arete, Ben Nevis
20 Carn Dearg Meadhonach East Ridge and Carn Mor Dearg Arete
21 Golden Oldie, Aonach Mor
22 North East Ridge, Aonach Beag
23 Long and Short Leachas, Ben Alder

The Cairngorms
24 Eagle Ridge, Lochnagar
25 Mitre Ridge, Beinn a’Bhuird
26 Pygmy Ridge and Afterthought Arete, Stob Coire an t-Sneachda
27 Fiacaill Ridge, Cairn Lochan
28 North East Ridge, Angel’s Peak

The North and West
29 Great Ridge, Garbh Bheinn
30 North-north East Ridge, Sgurr Ghiubhsachain
31 Forcan Ridge, The Saddle
32 South Ridge, Mullach Fraoch-choire
33 Cioch Nose, Sgurr a’Chaorachain
34 A’Chioch Ridge, Beinn Bhan
35 Beinn Alligin traverse
36 Liathach traverse
37 Northern Pinnacles of Mullach an Rathain, Liathach
38 Marathon Ridge, Beinn Lair
39 North West Ridge, A’Mhaighdean
40 An Teallach traverse
41 Stac Pollaidh
42 Suilven

Skye and Rum
43 Traverse of the Rum Cuillin
44 Dubhs Ridge
45 The Spur, Sgurr an Fheadain
46 Pinnacle Ridge, Sgurr nan Gillean
47 Clach Glas – Bla Bheinn traverse
48 Cuillin Main Ridge Traverse

Route Summary Table

Appendices
Appendix 1: Further adventures
Appendix 2: Further reading
Appendix 3: Useful contacts

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