Some of my best memories from my time in Glencoe are of "smash and grab" trips to the Cuillin, often leaving straight after work finished at mid-night and getting back for my next shift in the evening. Blurred memories in a way…a mix of sunburn and warm rock and classic routes and fighting against falling asleep at the wheel as I rushed back to yet another crazy night in the Clachaig.
Often they'd be the reason behind stints of over 50 hours of no rest…either working, driving or climbing non-stop for 3 days as I tried to make the most of short windows of opportunity to get to the Cuillin. Brief but fairly intense insights into the Isle of Skye.
Spending a full month on the island has been a remarkable eye-opener. Now I had time to look more closely, to stand and stare, to see the sunset every evening over The Little Minch, to smell the air at dusk and see every tide come and go.
Before I couldn't think "Skye" without thinking "Cuillin" automatically. Where else is there such world-class mountaineering, on an island, looking down on the sea on all sides? But what about the endless sea-cliffs, the crazed "Lost World" scenery of Trotternish, the eagles of Duirinish and Waternish, the evening mists over the Shiants? When you put all of that in the context that Skye is just one island amongst this huge collection of islands, and that each one has similar treasures…
Like all the best things I've ever done, my month on Skye has broadened my mind and wetted my appetite. I still have a lot of the world to see, but I doubt I'll ever go anywhere else quite like the Hebrides.
Here's a few more photos from when I wasn't climbing
Rubha Hunish, the most northerly tip of Skye - where I would go in the evenings.
The Old Man of Storr
The Isle of Lampay and the coral beach near Dunvegan
Macleod's Maidens near Indrigil
Stacan Gobhlac, Balmacqueen
Uaimh Oir, the Cave of Gold
Fladda-chuain and the Isle of Lewis at sunset
Grey seal, Isle of Soay
Shipwreck on the coast of Rum
Puffins, Isle of Sanday
A tripod sea-arch, Isle of Canna
Rock architecture at Rubha Hunish
Snow showers over the Northern Cuillin
The Spar Cave, Elgol. A mind-bending place.
Driftwood, The Aird
A 260ft waterfall into the sea, Rubha Maighdeanan
The pinnacles at Bornekestaig