Skye Easter Climbing Clan Cuillin Adventure Week

Sunday 09 April - Sunday 16 April 23
Location: a wonderful, spacious, well equipped climbing hut in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye
Members Price: £381
Non-member price: 

£481.00

Minimum skills: Everyone is welcome on this trip. There are no minimum skills.

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Join the waiting list and recieve an email when places are available

Climbing Clan members get £25 off the usual price for this trip.

Getting Clan Membership is quick, easy and much cheaper than you think and will pay for itself. Take a look?

How these trips work

Signing up pays for

  • Minibus transport from Manchester
  • Accommodation for 7 nights
  • Breakfast on 6 mornings
  • Packed lunch on 6 days
  • evening meals for 6 nights
  • a 40% non-refundable deposit
  • Plus we’ll stock the kitchen with tea bags, coffee, milk (dairy and non-dairy), loo roll and washing up stuff.

The trip relies on 20 people being in the same place for 7 days, all travelling at the same time - so there isn't flexibility for discounts for anyone wishing to self-organise their own thing.

This is primarily a climbing, scrambling and hiking weekend, but climbers being climbers there may also be some swimming or other outdoor activities going on.

Everything will be arranged the night before.
We  love dogs, but sadly they're not welcome on this trip

The Hut

We're staying at a wonderful, spacious, well equipped climbing hut in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye.

The bunkhouse has a well-equipped kitchen, bunk beds, toilets, power and hot showers - and is located in Glen Brittle - 45 minutes drive from the nearest off-licence and 2-3 hours from the nearest decent size supermarket. EE and maybe other networks will have 4G connectivity outside the hut.

We'll be well located for climbing, hiking and mountaineering on the foot of the Cuillin Ridge 2km away, swimming on the beach 10 minutes walk away, or the fairy pools up the valley.
Q&A
Kit List
Vague Plans

Q&A

How will we get there?

Many people are travelling by Minibus.

Minibus One and Minibus Alpha are leaving Manchester on Sunday morning, and returning to Manchester on Sunday evening (with a week in Skye).

It's a proper big 8 hour drive drive, so we recommend a properly early start 8am.

 

Getting there

We’ll meet early on Sunday to drive up to Skye in Minibuses, with various drivers taking turns.

It's an 8 hour drive, and we will want to get as much done as we can, so we will drive in one go, stopping for lunch and to rotate drivers.

When we're there

On Monday -> Saturday, we'll make plans, pack lunches and self-organise plans the evening before, on the day, we'll have breakfast and head out in little groups.

In the evening, we'll return for a home-cooked communal meal and make plans for tomorrow.

Getting back.

On Sunday, we'll leave early and drive back to Manchester, stopping for lunch and to rotate drivers.

 

If you don't drive - that's ok! We will be sharing minibuses for the drive up. Different people bring different skills – you will contribute to the trip in other ways.

What activities will we do?

The main plan is to make the most of the location and experience one of the most severe and dramatic landscapes in the British Isles.

  • Hiking up big spiky mountains that rise up right from the sea.
  • Sustained scrambling
  • Long multipitch climbs with incredible exposure
  • Eat lots of food

In previous years people have done:

  • Dolphin watching boat trips
  • Coastal walks seeing waterfalls and sea caves
  • Going to look at Dinosaur Footprint
  • Visited distilleries
  • Gone on ferries to Islands off Skye for the day

We'll make plans the night before. The big exciting days need preparation and early morning departures, so making plans on the day will not be possible.

 

Ok, but what actually is there to do? Give me examples?

 

Climbing

You will need to get your nose into one of the climbing guidebooks or look through UKC

Scrambling

There's lots and lots on Skye - so the important bit is to figure out which to do - read a guidebook or look through UKC.

Hiking

Fairly challenging, up to ~G2 scrambling. Quite a lot of ascent/descent.

Walking

Fairly sedate, but don't complain if there's some uphill.

Tripping

Great for rest days and chilling

Caving

Really?

What if there's bad weather?

The best forecast is the "out the window" forecast. Skye has coastal weather, and the conditions change frequently. Long term forecasts are particularly dubious. It's not uncommon to experience 4-season days.

The facebook group All Things Cuillin has regular posts with on the ground conditions reports.

 

Conditions that make for particularly challenging conditions in Skye that might not be a problem elsewhere include cloud. Navigation in Skye in cloud can be impossible, extremely hard or at best, very unenjoyable. Imagine walking across a motorway whilst looking through a pingpong ball and you may understand why cloud makes things tough.

There is magnetic rock, so even if compass navigation was desirable, it's not usually possible to trust it. Most GPS don't include detailed maps, so for most, Cloud can render the mountains inaccessible despite otherwise favourable conditions.

Often when the Black Cuillin is miserable, the Red Cuillin (Bla Bhennin etc) has much better weather, as does the north of the island.

 

Mountaineering isn’t usually a good sport if the weather is wet and the Cuillin is extremely bad place to be when the cloud is low. However, there will be some plan B’s, these could be:

  • Go to the whisky distillery
  • Go for a forest walk
  • Stay in the hut and make a roaring fire
  • Go to a castle or tourist attraction
  • Go to the beach
  • Go to the
  • Practice Skills

How fit do I need to be?

In short: those with the most skills and stamina will get the most out of this trip, but everyone is welcome and will get something out of this trip.

If you can push yourself to develop your mountain skills before the trip, you'll get more out of your time there. There's no set level you should be, and on our last trip to Skye, several people exclusively enjoyed low level options - including someone with a significant knee injury... and had a GREAT time.

Skills of walking up big hills, scrambling, abseiling, building and cleaning multipitch belays are extremely useful in the Cuillins, and you're encouraged to make use of it as much as possible.

The more experience you have had in the mountains, the more you will get from this trip. This is something you can and should work on before the trip. Below is a list of suggestions of things you could do that would help:

Climb a classic scramble:

  • Snowdon via Crib Goch
  • Helvellyn via Striding Edge (descending via Swirral Edge)
  • Blencathra via Sharp Edge

Climb a less well known scramble:

  • Pinnacle Ridge on St Sunday's Crag
  • Llech Ddu Spur
  • Aonach Eagach
  • Curved Ridge on Buchaille Etive Mor
  • Pinnacle Ridge (Pen yr Ole Wen)

Navigate up and down some classic hills:

  • Find your way to the B29 aircraft wreck in Glossop without using GPS
  • Find your way to the top of Pike of Stickle via Jack's Rake
  • Do the climbers traverse on Bow Fell
  • Do a circular route up Black Hill in the Peak District

Do some classic mountain multipitches

  • Cwyfrys Arete on Cadair Idris
  • First or Second Pinnacle Rib on Tryfan
  • Anything on Milestone Buttress, Tryfan

Some other good objectives:

  • Elbow Ridge in the Peak District
  • Fiacaill Ridge
  • Liathach traverse
  • Horns of Alligin
  • Bidean Nam Bian
  • Pillar in the Lake District via low level traverse
  • Haystacks to Great Gable circular route
  • Any mountain walk you do, carrying an extra 5L of water (to simulate climbing kit)
  • Any Munro
  • Any Peak District night hike
  • Any mountain walk in drizzle or less good weather.

The more of these objectives you've done within 6 months before the trip, the more you'll enjoy the trip

What climbing skills do I need to know?

There isn't a set minimum, but the more you know, the more you'll get out of this trip. An 8a climber indoors, with no mountain skills, will not get much out of this trip. This is not the location to learn them from the start, and you should be taking the opportunities to get more days out in the mountains before you come on this trip.

This is a false friend question, as the truth is you probably are plenty good at Climbing for this trip. Your mountain skills are probably where you should focus your energy (see below).

You need to know how to lead belay, though it would definitely help if you'd seconded trad routes before.

There is plenty for people who don't lead, but the most useful climbing skill probably Multi-pitch Trad leading at grade Mod and above, shortly followed by having some experience "moving together" and setting up retrievable abseils where you pull the rope down after you.

How will it work? Do I need to bring a climbing partner?

You don't need to bring a climbing partner, but a greater degree of self-sufficiency and self-direction will be required compared to other Climbing Clan trips you may have been on.

The Black Cuillin is one of the most severe mountain environments in the UK, more severe and barely comparable to Snowdonia, The Lakes or most of Scotland. This is not a location we'll all go climb at a single pitch crag together. Groups will need to be self-sufficient in things like:

  • researching where to go
  • figuring out how to get there
  • making good decisions about the group and conditions and deciding when to turn round or back off
  • dealing with things that don't go quite to plan

Its not expected that everyone has all these skills, but everyone will need to take responsibility for what they want to do.

People in the Clan support each other and usually climb with more than one person exclusively.

Generally plans for tomorrow tend to be made the night before based on the weather, and how people are feeling.

Is anyone doing the full ridge traverse?

Well, if you have the right fitness, and you're with the right people, and you know the route, and the weather plays, and you're equipped right... maybe?

It's fair to say the full Cuillin Ridge traverse is very challenging, and perhaps often underestimated in difficulty. If you're in the right place for it, crack on - but if this is your first time on Skye, you may want to satisfy yourself with a few individual summits.

I don’t have a rope or any trad gear – will I be ok?

Yes.

The minimum climbing gear to bring if you aspire to climb is

  • Harness
  • Climbing Helmet
  • Belay device and karabiner
  • Nut key

There is walking and mountaineering equipment you will absolutely need - for example, hiking boots - see the kit list for the full details.

Who does what on these trips?

Climbing Clan trips work because everyone contributes in some way.

Everyone helps make the trip a success. Some people drive. Some cook. Some organise. Some wash up.

In truth, lots of people do lots - and everyone is expected to do what they can to support the trip.

I have unusual dietary requirements. Will I be catered for?

Yes, you will be fully catered for - simply let us know about your requirements in the sign-up form.

I don’t have any outdoor climbing experience yet, but really want to climb on the trip. Will you be running training beforehand?

This will 100% not be the opportunity for you to get your very first climbing outside. We run many other opportunities to outdoor climb - come on those.

You are unlikely to roped-climb on this trip without lead belaying skills, so focus on learning that.

I've not been away with you lot before. Is this a good first trip?

A week with a bunch of strangers in one of the most committing mountaineering locations in the UK? Probably not ideal.

We have quite a lot of other events scheduled - come on one of those first so you know what we're like and know a few people?

Can I come for the day? Can I arrange my own accommodation elsewhere?

This usually doesn’t work.

All plans are made the night before, usually changing 3-4 times during the night and changing at least once in the morning. This makes it extremely difficult to tell anyone where to be and when. It might be possible to come for the day, if you were prepared to arrive at the hut at ~6am and were prepared for mountains of faff and uncertainty.

You also won’t be able to stay for any social bits in the evenings, where the group really gets to know each other.

Can I sleep in my van or camp?

Yes, but no discounts will be available for doing so.

However, the trip is planned with the assumption that everyone pools together and supports each other by doing the same thing. Therefore, you won't be eligible for any discounts on the trip cost on the basis of your sleeping location etc.

Can I arrange my own transport or only stay for 5 nights?

Yes, but no discounts will be available for doing so.

Organising a trip like this is a logistical challenge. One of the things you're paying for is the certainty that it will happen. The Clan has to prebook and pay everything months in advance.

By spreading the costs across the whole group, and helping reduce the faff and uncertainty, we make the trip work at this scale.

As our costs are fixed, anyone seeking a discount would mean that everyone else had to pay more.

What's your cancellation policy?

Is this a for-profit, professionally guided event?

The Climbing Clan is fully run by volunteers. No-one is compensated for sharing their climbing and rope skills amongst the group. Nobody is using or assumed to be trained to professional qualifications unless they tell you otherwise in writing.

Everyone that comes to Climbing Clan events recognises that:

that climbing, scrambling and hill walking are activities with a danger of personal injury or death, and by taking part acknowledge they are aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.

What is The Climbing Clan?

An BMC affiliated group of supportive, friendly people who like to encourage each other to climb and eat cake. Sometimes at the same time.

We support an open, inclusive and accepting atmosphere for all members, whatever their ability or ambition.

Kit List

Key:
normal text: things you definitely need
italic: optional things you might like to have

Sleeping things

  • Sleeping bag (mummy style sleeping bags with a hood are best in the UK)
  • Pillow
  • Slippers? (see below)
  • Earplugs and eyemask (other people can be loud, can snore and this may help you sleep better)

Climbing kit

If you’re hoping to climb, you’ll need your own gear - there isn’t anywhere to hire it from. At a minimum - you’ll need:

  • Harness
  • Helmet (this needs to be a climbing helmet as kayaking, snowboarding, cycling helmets are designed to protect you from different things and don't work for climbing)
  • Belay device & karabiner
  • Climbing shoes

Really helpful things to have, even if you’re not leading

If you have any of these things, bring them:

  • extra karabiners
  • some or all of a trad rack
  • half ropes
  • a 50 or 60m rope
  • relevant guidebooks
  • Crampons
  • Ice Axes
  • microspikes
  • Bouldering Mat

If you're a trad leader, you should know what to bring (everything!).


Outdoor Clothes

The weather and time of year is important to think about, but this is the British Isles, we have to plan for all weathers at all times of year.

The hut does not have a washing machine.

  • Outdoor trousers (not denim or jeans of any type)
  • comfortable climbing top
  • underwear
  • waterproof top and bottom
  • an extra warm layer
  • hiking boots
  • thick socks for hiking in
  • gloves + spare gloves
  • a full change of clothes back at camp (for being around the hut)
  • an extra warm layer for belaying
  • hat
  • buff / scarf
  • swimming costume(!)


General outdoor gear

There is often a walk to any climbing, maybe even a bit of a hike. It’s good to be equipped in case we’re outside longer than expected.

  • Small rucksack (25-40 litre)
  • headtorch
  • water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • spare batteries
  • suncream
  • sunglasses
  • themos flask
  • midge net / insect repellent
  • first aid kit with plasters, hay fever medication, painkillers
  • phone charger and cable
  • book / cards / headphones
  • walkie-talkies


Washing

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • toiletries
  • all medication you need
  • towel

Food

Almost all meals are included in the trip price, and will be tailored to your dietary requirements - specifically:

  • Breakfasts on Monday to Sunday
  • Packed lunches on Monday to Sunday
  • Evening meals on Monday to Saturday

We already have your dietary requirements from the signup form, and everyone will be catered for. If the chefs on this trip have any questions or queries, they'll be in touch directly.

Food that you may want:

The minibuses will stop at supermarkets and food stops en-route, but you may wish to bring food for the journey up on the Sunday we depart.


Drinks

Tea & Coffee (and dairy/non-dairy milk) is included, but most other drinks are not.

Bring your own drinks - it's a 1h30 round trip drive to the nearest offlicence... at offlicence prices.


Maps and Guidebooks (optional)

You don't need to bring any guidebooks or maps and various people will bring guidebooks they already have, but having more never hurts.

The best guides and maps for the Cuillin are not obvious:

Skye Scrambles

Pretty much the best scrambling guidebook with lots of crag diagrams which is the only way to navigate.

Skye: Sea Cliffs and Outcrops

Contains all the venues on Skye not in the Cuillin, including the single pitch roadside crag at Neist Point

Skye The Cuillin

Contains all the climbing routes in the Skye that are roped and above Grade 3.

Skye Ridge Traverse Advice

The modern high quality guide to the Ridge Traverse. Probably one of the better, newer ones.

Skye Superwalker Map

Probably only map of the Cuillin worth having. Still not detailed enough most of the time, and largely useless without a guidebook.

Note: OS Maps are largely pointless for anything near the Cuillin Ridge, and are only useful for hiking on the rest of the island - they simply aren't detailed enough.

Walking Guides for the rest of Skye

The Cicerone books are alright - the Walkers Guide or the more recent Purple book.


Plans

Times are all subject to change, and are mainly for illustration and to start conversation.

Sunday (that we arrive)


08:00 Leave Manchester
08:00 -> later Driving
19:00 Arrive in Skye
22:00 We'll make plans for tomorrow
22:45 Lunch marshals put out lunch and round people up
23:00 Lunch Making
23:45 Lunch marshals teardown, washup and put everything away
23:45 Breakfast Marshals put breakfast things out

The days in between


We'll have breakfast, and then head off outside.

We'll return to the hut for food together, and drinks... and to make lunch and plans for the next day.

07:30 Cold breakfast things available
08:00 Breakfast
08:30 Washing Up
09:00 leave hut
16:00 Return to hut
16:10 tea and showers
17:30 Evening Meal Chef Dinner prep start
19:00 Dinner
21:00 Making Plans
22:00 Washing Up after dinner coordinated by evening meal washing up marshalls
22:45 Lunch marshals put out lunch and round people up
23:00 Lunch Making
23:45 Lunch marshals teardown, washup and put everything away
23:45 Breakfast Marshals put breakfast things out

Sunday we depart


We'll have to:

  • Clear all the stuff out of the bedrooms into the vehicles.
  • Clean the Bathrooms, Showers, Hall and communal areas.
  • Redistribute excess food. Any excess food not taken home by someone will be binned.
  • Clean the Kitchen.
  • Take the bins out.
  • Ensure the hut is locked and shut down.

We'll have breakfast, clean and empty the hut, and head off:

06:30 Cold breakfast things available
08:00
Clear bedrooms
Clear living room, Have cleaned bedrooms
8:15 Clear kitchen, showers
09:00 Leave hut
17:00 Hopefully arrive home

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