Which Are The Easier Skye Mountains?
The Skye Cuillin Munros are a favourite challenge among experienced and amateur mountain walkers alike. It’s not hard to see why: the Isle of Skye is famed throughout the world for its unique landscapes and stunning scenery.
Whether you are taking a stroll up a gentle hill or scaling the Inaccessible Pinnacle, beautiful views and memorable experiences will never be far away. Of the 282 Scottish Munros (peaks over 3,00ft), 12 are on Skye, and 11 of them form part of the famous Cuillin range. That’s pretty impressive for an island that is just 50 miles long.
There are two distinct Cuillin ranges, which are separated by Glen Sligachan: the Black Cuillin, and the Red Cuillin. The Black Cuillin were formed from igneous rock, which gives them a darker appearance when viewed from a distance, hence the name. The rough texture of the rocks makes the mountains an ideal challenge for scrambling and climbing.
The Red Cuillin are formed largely from granite rock, which has a reddish hue, and are generally less formidable than the jagged slopes and screes of the Black Cuillin. Therefore, those who want to enjoy the wonders of mountain walking on Skye at a gentler pace will often pick the more accessible peaks of the Red Cuillin range.
The highest peak of the Red Cuillin is Glamaig, a cone shaped mountain of about 2,550ft. This qualifies it as a Corbett, which is a Scottish mountain of over 2,500ft. However, Glamaig is not recommended as a climb except for the more experienced, due to steep screes and undefined paths.
The only other Corbett on Skye is Garbh Bheinn, which is 2,650ft, and it is a popular challenge for those with some prior experience of rocky terrain, with some moderate scrambling sections, and fine views from the summit.
Another popular challenge for non-technical hill walkers is Bla Bheinn (sometimes called Blaven), which is something of an outlier on Skye. It is a very fine Munro, standing at 3,248ft, but it is not a part of the Cuillin Ridge that forms all the other Munros on Skye.
Because it stands apart from the other peaks, from the summit you can enjoy spectacular views of the Black Cuillins, as well as panoramic views of the Highland coast and beyond. For this reason, some people describe it as the finest mountain in the UK.
Bla Bheinn should not be underestimated, although it is not rated highly for technical difficulty. There are some rocky scrambling sections which require moderate levels of fitness and skill. Some sections are also quite exposed, so it’s advisable to check the weather forecast carefully before you set off.
For those who wish to avoid any scrambling, the Red Cuillin Horseshoe which takes in the summits of Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach and Beinn Dearg Mhor is to be recommended.
It’s a moderate round trip of 10km, with superb views in good weather, and accessible grassy paths. It also has the advantage of attracting far fewer walkers than the other Skye peaks, so you can really enjoy that sensation of splendid isolation.