Skye's "Peak of the young men" - August 1995
Sgurr nan Gillean Walks with a Camera
Walks with a Camera © Geoff’s Pages 2011
That fine pinnacle, left-most of the Cuillin summits visible from Sligachan, had been nagging for many years. August 1995 saw the family on the island once again, with (unusually for those parts) day after day of warm sunshine - and the summits of Cuillins, so often swathed in mist, revealed for all to see. Its 3167' summit was climbed for the first time in 1836. "Do you think we can do it?" I asked my son. He took little convincing... The walk starts as a traverse of usually boggy moorland, climbing only gently for the first few miles, then steepening as one nears the shapely peak. As the path steepens, so it becomes more and more stony, until eventually it passes beneath the "Pinnacle Ridge" and rises to the south-east ridge of the mountain. Here at last the views, always good to the north, open up to the south as well.
Climbing steeply now, the last 100' or so require hands and feet and a lot of care - a slip  would be fatal, although the rock is extremely "grippy". The day was hot, and we had paused occasionally in the shade of some of the larger rocks on the way up. "There should be a pleasant breeze on the top". There wasn't - we arrived at the summit and sat there, with not a breath of wind, taking in the extensive views in all directions. We could see the whole of the fantastic Cuillin ridge, the mainland highlands in the east, the far Western Isles of Lewis, Harris and the Uists out across the sea - and just about the whole of the island of Skye, below and all around us. We sat for some time - no-one else came or went, save a few buzzing flies. It seemed a great pity to have to leave - and the first 100' of descent were the worst. At least when climbing we could see where our feet were going! We arrived back at Sligachan thirsty but very happy - it had been a great day!
The Cuillins, seen from the path near Sligachan Slowly getting nearer. The Pinnacle Ridge On the ridge - the view to Elgol and Sleat The ridge to Am Basteir - note the "Gendarme" At the start of the final 100 feet - the view to the Red Cuillins The summit - a true pinnacle. View to Portree and Trotternish Back to Walks with a Camera Contact Geoff