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Book review: Skye, The Cuillin climbing book

Written by Fiona November 28 2011

This book review will be greatly welcomed by a host of outdoorsy types – especially climbers –  out there, but I’m not very happy. You see, after the G-Force’s 40th birthday I was already running out of ideas for his Christmas present. He received so many outdoor store vouchers that I doubt he’ll need another outdoors type gift for a while. Then I turned to ideas of books and climbing kit. Climbing is his latest big obsession and I spotted the new SMC Cuillin guidebook by Mike Lates, of Skye Guides, which reveals a wealth of fabulous routes on  the famous Cuillin, on the Isle of Skye. Brilliant. “Stocking filler jackpot for the G-Force.” I thought. But then the author asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the book and so I felt obliged to ask the G-Force for his opinion, and in the process had to cross off a Christmas present idea.

Review of Cuillin climbing book

SMC Cuillin climbing book by Mike Lates

SMC Cuillin climbing book by Mike Lates

Anyway, the G-Force seems thoroughly delighted by the book. He has visited the Cuillin a number of times to ascend the various Munros that are located on this infamous ridge. On these occasions his aim was to tick off the Munro summits, rather than explore the ridge for further climbing and scrambling challenges.

But since he’s now compleated (this is how they spell “compleat” in this context) his Munro round, he has been more intent on becoming a climbing enthusiast. This is not to say that he wasn’t already a fairly decent climber, having completed HVS (Hard Very Severe) routes over the years, but now the G-Force has a renewed passion and has been spending at least two or three nights each week at indoor climbing walls in Scotland.

As with all climbers, the Cuillin holds a special place in the portfolio of Scottish climbs. But what the G-Force hadn’t realised is just how many different climbing routes there are on this Skye mountian ridge.

He said: “I already knew of many of the Cuillin routes, but this book has opened my eyes to how much more there is. It is also gratifying to know that because I can climb up t the level of HVS, that there are many, many options available for me to try.

“The book is brilliant if you want to know more about each of the routes, and offers a great deal of detail. It clearly shows where the routes are and the grades of the climb. By reading this book I would feel far more confident about which routes I could tackle and what to look out for when climbing. Knowing what you can manage before setting out to climb is vital in terms of safety in the mountains. Also, I like to know if a route is going to be too ‘easy’ for me because it will often feel a bit like a waste of time if I am looking for a greater challenge.

“I am really impressed by the text, pictures and content of this book and I will definitely be heading to the Cuillin next year to spend some time climbing some of these routes.”

“Oh no,” I thought to myself as I took these notes from the G-Force. It seems that the G-Force is about to swap a Munros addiction for a climbing obsession. I’m saying hello to a new world of widow-hood.

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