Over the years we have spent much time and effort in familiarising ourselves with the difficult involved terrain of the Cuillin Ridge, and reccying, and also in trying to actually do a full traverse of the ridge in as pure a way as possible. This meant that every attempt we made, we carried all our own gear, food and water for the entire journey, left no supplies or equipment along the way to help us and that we should complete the traverse in 24 hours, and that we should do all the climbs and avoid nothing. This means that in addition to all the clothes, food and water needed, one must also carry rope and climbing harnesses and gear and in my case if not a very confident climber, a pair of climbing shoes to make the rather slippery TD Gap more easy.
Throughout all these training efforts and attempts I kept diaries and it is these that I am drawing on now to write and illustrate this account.
Thurs April 8 2004
Youth Hostel, Glen Brittle
Get the 1 am bus to Sligachan from Manchester, which involves getting to Manchester on the last train (about 11pm) and then hanging around the bus station with our enormous bags full of camping and climbing and bivvying gear and food for attempts. Jims bag is typically too heavy for him to carry and we have to carry it between us along with at least one other large rucksack each and sometimes two.
Following a 24 hour journey we arrive at Sligachan at 1.15 pm and take a taxi to Glen Brittle Youth Hostel. Immediately we leave the gear at the hostel and go for a walk up Allt Choire a Ghreadaidh into Coir’ an Eich, and up to the Ridge and Sgurr na Banachdaich starting off up the stream immediately opposite the hostel door, glad to be moving and stretching after the long confinement of the journey.
For some reason I have brought a tin of squid in ink with us to eat for tea which is revolting eaten cold, with its black oily juice, and luckily Jim has brought some wine in his capacious bag as a surprise