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Long Distance Records
Cuillin Ridge traverse
It has often been said that the Cuillin Ridge on Skye is the finest mountaineering expedition in the country. At 8 miles and 7,000 feet of ascent (NB end-to-end stats) it doesn't sound very long, but most of the route is exposed and serious scrambling, and there are a number of sections involving rock climbing of up to Severe standard. The first traverse was achieved by two great Cuillin pioneers, L.G. Shadbolt and A.C. McLaren, in 1911 in 12 hours 20 mins: a respectable time even today. The most notable summer times in subsequent years are tabulated below, with the fastest currently being Finlay Wild's 2 hours 59 mins 22 secs of 12th October 2013.

Please note that the summer record route is now well established following the 'Hyslop rules', which specify a time from Gars-bheinn to Sgurr nan Gillean taking in all 11 Munros plus Sgurr Thearlaich, the tops of Bidein Druim nan Ramh and the four main climbing sections: TD Gap, King's Chimney, the Inaccessible Pinnacle of Sgurr Dearg (up the long East Ridge and down the short West) and Naismith's Route on the Basteir Tooth. For proposed winter requirements with the winter record still more in its infancy, please see below.

Cuillin Ridge Times
Name Date Time
Dan Stewart 1950 6:45
Eric Beard Spring 1963 4:09:09
Andy Hyslop 07/05/84 4:04:19
Stott/Davies 12/08/86 3:49:30
Martin Moran 02/06/90 3:33
Andy Hyslop 25/05/94 3:32:50
Andy Hyslop 07/08/94 3:32:15
Es Tresidder 04/05/07 3:17:28
Finlay Wild 16/06/13 3:14:58
Finlay Wild 12/10/13 2:59:22

Notes: Early traverses did not include Sgurr Dubh Mor. There is some debate about the exact year of Eric Beard's record run (1963 or 1967). Paddy Buckley believes 1963 is the correct date (he provided the split times recorded above) [Refs. BH, MM, Climber magazine 5/95, Rockfax mini guide, www.rockfax.com].

Prior to his latest sub-three-hour run, Finlay Wild also had a fast (very) 'near miss' to his name, having run 3:10:30 the week before his 3:14:58 record before belatedly realising he'd narrowly bypassed the summit cairn of Sgurr Mhic Choinnich! [Ref: Finlay Wild.]

Winter traverse

Since the first (two-day) winter traverses of Patey/MacInnes/Crabb/Robertson and Tiso/Moriarty in 1965 followed not just half a century later than the pioneering summer traverse but after Eric Beard's reduction of the summer record to not much over four hours, we clearly don't have the same history of winter records, with the first formally listed here being Finlay Wild and Tim Gomersall's 6 hours 14 mins 17 secs traverse of Sunday 14th February 2016. (While we can't be 100% certain this was a record because we'd never recorded one before, we've treated it as one because the chances of a faster unreported time seem negligible.) In keeping with standard winter practice (best balance of abseils vs. obstacles), Wild and Gomersall traversed north-to-south from Sgurr nan Gillean to Gars-bheinn [Ref: Finlay Wild's blog].

On Monday 26th February 2018 (the same day Finlay Wild set a new winter Tranter's Round time), Uisdean Hawthorn traversed the Cuillin ridge from Sgurr nan Gillean to Gars-bheinn in just 4 hours 57 minutes 7 secs [Refs: Facebook, UKC and personal communication]. Uisdean's traverse took in all Munros, Bidein Druim nan Ramh and Sgurr Thearlaich, but omitted the TD Gap as he was climbing solo. Since there is good precedent for the omission of the Gap in winter dating back to Tiso and Moriarty in 1965, and other 'required' summer sections (Naismith's Route and King's Chimney) are bypassed by abseiling on a north-to-south winter traverse, it seems sensible to propose that the required elements of a winter record traverse are simply the required summer peaks and proper winter conditions (the question of acceptable date range possibly remaining open with available daylight not being the issue it is with, for example, Ramsay's Round). So we acknowledge Uisdean's stunning time as the fastest known and challenge others to better it following the same guidelines.

Page updated 27th February 2018

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