UK Big 3 Rounds
Ultras by Region
Ultra Route Index
Bob Baxter Traverse
Bob Graham Round
Canary Islands 3 Peaks
Charlie Ramsay Round
Dales Top Ten
Dark Peak County Tops
The Cuillin Round Scotland
This is a 24 hour 'rock and run' challenge taking in 59 Cuillin tops on the Isle of Skye. It involves running and scrambling across a distance of some 34 miles while ascending over 23000' to take in a dozen Munros plus a dozen more Munro tops (including Knight's Peak). Although no technical climbing is involved the route does include sustained exposed scrambling up to about diff standard. The challenge is to complete the route as an un-roped scramble. Rob Woodall advises anyone requiring roped assistance to consider taking the route at a more leisurely pace: a sub-24-hour completion is probably only feasible un-roped
The tradition of long days in the Cuillins dates back at least a century starting with the Cuillin Main Ridge (1911), followed by the Greater Cuillin Traverse (1939) and the Sligachan Horseshoe (around 1981). In 1998 Paddy Buckley and Rob Woodall devised the Cuillin Round as a new 24 hour benchmark challenge. It was first completed by Rob in 23 hr 28 min in 1999 followed by Yiannis Tridimas in 2000 in 21 hrs 22 min who added in the extra top of Sgurr a' Bhasteir. While relatively short on distance compared with the UK Big 3 challenges Rob considers the Cuillin Round to be no less an achievement due to the challenging rock terrain.
click to view enlarged map.
Recommended Map: Harveys Superwalker Skye: The Cuillin, 1:25,000 with 1:12,500 Main Ridge enlargement.
The object is to complete a round of 59 Cuillin tops (defined by a 50' drop on all sides) within 24 hours starting from Glen Sligachan (NG 493287) or Coruisk hut (NG 487196). Rob Woodall's schedule contains a full list of the tops - see below. Assuming a Sligachan start, the Round takes in the Red Hills from Glamaig through to Marsco, then Garbh-bheinn through to Bla Bheinn with short detours to Belig and Sgurr nan Each. It then drops almost back to sea level before crossing Sgurr Hain and Sgurr na Stri. Then it's back to sea level at Coruisk before the steep climb onto Gars-bheinn. From here the Black Cuillin Main Ridge is soloed, with a short detour out to Sgurr Sgumain. After Sgurr nan Gillean, Knight's Peak is taken in, then a neat traverse leads out to Sgurr Beag, then after Sgurr na h-Uamh a surprisingly grassy descent is made to the Glen Sligachan path, and so back to the starting point. A detailed route description is avaiable from Rob Woodall - see below.
Rob Woodall's route guidance notes
Convenient starting points are Glen Sligachan and the Coruisk Hut. The first completion in 1999 was Sligachan-based and this is the most convenient option, with access to a weather forecast, the road network, not to mention "The Slig" itself.
Ropes should not be used: the sections normally abseiled by Main Ridge parties are bypassed by scrambling routes. Intimate route knowledge is essential: recce at least the Main Ridge and Clach Glas - Blabheinn in clear dry conditions. You need to be able to do the Main Ridge in around 7 hours.
The "T-D Gap" is bypassed in order to take in Sgurr Sgumain; the Inaccessible Pinnacle can be scrambled, up and down the long side; Banachdich, the Basteir Tooth and Knight's Peak can also be reached by scrambling. The hardest single move is possibly on the down climb from Bidein Drum nan Ramh North Top where you need to know exactly where the holds are.
An important consideration in choosing a start time is the In Pinn. This is best tackled before midday: by afternoon it is liable to be busy with Munro baggers. While it is possible to scramble through roped parties, this is best avoided. Get to the summit of Gars-bheinn at about first light and you should have the In Pinn to yourself.
It is possible to solo the ridge with 2 litres of water, but it is best to have support to carry extra fluid or meet you part way. You'll need reasonable weather. Misty is OK if you've done your homework, but if its wet and windy, forget it. A good strategy is to spend a week there in late May and watch the weather forecast. Skye is well worth a week. But beware - it can be addictive...
Click on the icon to view/print Rob Woodall’s 1999 schedule (excel).
This is 24 hour round without registration or rules. Why not share your experience on facebook to encourage and inspire others to have a go!
Links and Further Information
Detailed route description: available from Rob Woodall - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Long Days in The Cuillin, Rob Woodall (The Fellrunner, Autumn 2007) - includes a full history of traverses and rounds since 1911.
The Cuillin Round (The Fellrunner, October 2000) - report on Yiannis Tridimas's successful 2000 round. The pdf here includes additional photos plus a map and schedule.
Scottish Hill Runners Long Distance Records - the long distance section contains a brief overview of the Cuillin Round in the context of previous Cuillin challenges.
Skye Ridge Mini Guide, Andy Hyslop A guide to running the ridge, overcoming the various obstacles, short cuts etc.
The Black Cuillin, Gordon Stainforth (Constable,1994) - contains an excellent detailed route description of this section. Out of print (2012) but route description available from Rob Woodall (see above)
All the routes on this site require proven mountain running experience. You undertake them entirely at your own risk. Please take full mountain safety precautions at all times. Always ensure you carry sufficient clothing, food and equipment to cope with dramatic changes in the weather conditions! Appropriate insurance cover is recommended.
HAVE A GO!
The object of this website is to provide a single, ready source of information on the ultra-distance mountain challenges which have been developed over the past three or more decades. It now offers a diverse range of long and "short", old and recent, formal and informal routes from around the UK to encourage runners of all ages and abilities to have a go subject to proven mountain experience in all conditions.
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RECORDS and NEWS
Please send details and a schedule of any record-breaking runs and the like to Martin Stone who maintains records on behalf of the Fell Runners Association. Email: email@example.com
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