Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These Conditions Reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Over the water, baking in the sun even at 8am, the Cuillin Ridge is an awesome sight. Tony and I set off for our traverse of the 11 Munros by boat from Elgol yesterday morning knowing it was going to be a long, hot, dry slog. We were right!

We started very well hydrated but even then we had each drunk 2ltrs of water by the time we got to Coire a'Grunda. A long rest at the spring there was needed with another litre or two to drink and a fill up before we could carry on to Sgurr Alasdair. We met few people on the tops which was a bit of a surprise with the great weather. One group stayed at the loch which looked very inviting.

We managed to keep going but the heat and the continuous technical ground was having an impact so we called it a day in Coire na Banachdich. There is plenty of water not far down this coire and some very nice bivi ledges. Unfortunately it was a terrible night, despite being dry and calm.

In the warm and calm conditions the midges were fierce. You can often count on a gentle breeze on the ridge to keep them away but last night there was nothing. I've never seen so many midges on the Cuillin and due to the heat of the sun it was too hot to get right inside the bivi bags too! Torture. We were very close to quitting the ridge and walking down.

Thankfully we persevered and survived the night. This morning was dry and cloudy so it was much cooler. If it had been like this yesterday we would probably have got further along the ridge yesterday. Sgurr a'Greadaidh is always a favourite of mine and today it was as spectacular as ever.

However with wet weather coming in at noon and a long way to go we decided to go as far as Sgurr a'Mhadaidh and descend by An Dorus. This was a good move since the rain came in early and was very heavy this afternoon. The Cuillin traverse is always an emotional roller-coaster and it was like this for Tony this time. However he is much better prepared for next time when he comes back to complete the traverse with experience of the ridge at its best and the scale of the challenge it presents.

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