After the hardships of the ridge and the spartan overnight camp at Coir’ a Ghrundda we felt we deserved some luxury so booked some nights at the Sligachan Hotel. Its one of those wonderful faded grandeur type of places; The Hotel has been owned by the Campbell family since the turn of the century, and has rich historic connections with many of the finest mountaineers and alpinists. In the hallway, there is a small partitioned area containing memorabilia from the golden age of mountaineering. Exhibits such as the menus and shopping lists from the mid 1800s show that luxury eating still had a long way to go, boiled mutton, boiled cabbage and boiled potatoes followed by steamed suet pudding and custard seemed to feature quite frequently. The exhibition area also shows fantastic old photos of the Mountaineers at their business in the wilds of the Cuillin, exploring and putting up new routes.
Sligachan’s popularity with climbers dates back to the late 1800s. Two of the most notable climbers to visit at that time were Norman Collie and Charles Pilkington. Collie came to Skye in 1886 and had two attempts to climb Sgurr nan Gillean, both of which failed, despite his climbing expertise. He then turned to a local guide, John MacKenzie, who showed Collie the easiest route to the top, which has now become known locally as “The Tourist Route”. Collie was one of the first British climbers to show that the British mountains, and particularly , the Cuillin, offered some of the most exhilarating climbs, without the need to travel to the Alps or Rockies. He spent as much time as possible on Skye thereafter and particularly enjoyed his frequent stays at the Sligachan Hotel.