a handful of mountains in Scotland which possess a classical outline;
the Buachaille Etive Mor in Glencoe is one and Sgurr nan Gillean on the
Isle of Skye is another. From Sligachan, where most ascents are undertaken
from, the view across the moor is one of the most photographed and painted
It says much
for the attractiveness of the Cuillins that Gillean was first climbed
at the very early time of 1836, by the eminent physicist and geologist
Professor James Forbes. He was accompanied - guided really - by a local
forester, Duncan MacIntyre.
learned that the rocks of the Cuillin, gabbros, were so rough that it
was almost difficult to fall off. The rocks were also quite unapologetic
when it came to wearing down skin and clothing! This route up Gillean,
whose name probably means Peak of the Gullies, requires a little scrambling
near the summit but is otherwise straightforward. The descent route is
the same as the ascent.
the A863 road 200m south west of the Sligachan Hotel. A track leads to
a bridge over the Allt Dearg Mor. Continue south across the moor to reach
the Allt Dearg Beag and follow its west bank for 500m to another bridge
which is crossed.
south up the path and gain Coire Riabhach, below the lowest rocks of Pinnacle
Ridge. From the approach, the fine pinnacles on this more difficult ridge
are seen end-on. Our approach path continues south and once past Coire
Riabhach begins to climb up increasingly rocky ground lying below the
east face of Pinnacle Ridge.
the south east ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean is reached. Turn right and climb
the ridge, with a little scrambling to be enjoyed near the finish, where
the ridge narrows before leading to the summit of this very fine Munro.