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Skye Scrambles, Big Ben, cragging and sunshine

Delivering skills high in the Cuillin on the AACUK course

Its been a very busy spring and start to the summer at Highland Guides with plenty of courses running and getting out climbing and exploring in the hills for ourselves. We have just finished our annual Skye Scrambles course for members of the Austrian Alpine Club and guiding returning client Ted on the Skye Ridge and I thought it would be time to write up an update as to what we have been up to.

The spring came with perhaps not the usual warm weather dominated by high pressures which we often have but there has been some great spells of weather to get our summer courses up and running. We have had a good mix of scrambling and hillwalking over the last few weeks along with some personal climbing thrown in.

Guiding in the Cuilin bathed in sunshine with the backdrop of Am Bastier

Our annual summer courses for the Austrian Alpine Club UK had a great three days over the May bank holiday with three teams out enjoying a mix of scrambling and instruction at various spots on the ridge with summits such as the Inn Pinn, Sgurr Alistair and Sgurr Nan Gillian being done. This is our third year of offering courses for the AACUK which always has a great mix of people joining us. Aside from the insurance gained through the membership there are some great training opportunities both in the UK and in the Alps with a very active club. Big thanks to the team Louis and Tom for helping to deliver a great course with Jo and I.

Ted enjoying the weather coming along from Sgurr Bastier at the Northern end of the ridge

I had some great weather for returning client Ted. Ted visited late last year and unfortunately we had some pretty violent weather to contend with making it not possible to get onto the ridge. But this time it was a complete contrast with two of our days bathed in warm sunshine and views right across the ridge. We had a good couple of ridge days together with one at the Southern end from Coire Ghrunda and then another at the Northern end with a loop of Fionn Choire. It was a busy bank holiday for us as we also had a team out with Karl who where ticking the Skye Munros. Emma and Matt had a great two days getting plenty done with Karl in the slightly brooding weather but largely the weekend stayed dry for us just before a bank holiday Monday deluge. Pack the midge net though as they are gaining momentum now.

The Skye Ridges northern end.

The Cuillin are perhaps the jewel in the crown of UK mountaineering with a wonderful ridge making up a linked scramble between the main eleven munros along its crest. Great scrambling and climbing all the way, with also plenty of day trips and other outings and hidden gems to be had.

Happy on Big Bens Mountain Track

We have also had a few days up and down Ben Nevis which I always enjoy although as I mentioned on the blog its suffering a little at the moment and perhaps needs a little attention at the moment. I wrote a previous blog on this which can be viewed here.

The significant change since my last update blog is that we have changed our name to Highland Guides and also made it a limited company. Being placed in the Highlands where the majority of our work is it seemed the logical choice for a name and has been met well. You might have thought that name was already in play being such an obvious one. Well it was however it was run by a close friend who while we where visiting in Chamonix this winter let us take it over, so a big thanks to now High Mountain Guides for the inheritance. With some quite a lot of hard work we made a make over on the site and logo we have been driving it forward since and we are looking forward to having a busy season ahead offering mountain adventures across the Highlands.

Jo checking out the bolted lines at Glenmarksie crag

Jo and I have also been out plenty although Jo much more than me climbing in various places around the Highlands. We have had a good couple of trips to a new to us crag deep in Glenmarksie near Contin just North of Inverness. Jo easily ticked the classic of the crag Sea of Tranquility’ HVS. It also has some great little sport routes which would make for a perfect intro spot for beginners to bolt clipping or as a rock intro with some nice easy slabs and a great outlook through the Glen. But tuck your socks into your trousers here as there are a lot of ticks here. Simon and I also had a quick trip to the rather idyllic Redhythe Point along the Moray coast a nice sea cliff crag on a perfect blue sky day.

Si enjoying warm rock at Redhythe Point

We are looking busy for the summer ahead with more trips to Skye and intro climbing courses. We still have plenty of space though should you wish to join us in the Highlands this summer. We also still have some places on the remainder of our Austrian Alpine Cub courses with an intro to climbing course one in Aviemore and the other Fort William, click here to find out more.

Feel free to get in touch to find out more about what we offer and how we can deliver you a great mountain experience. Fingers crossed for more fine weather spells coming.

The AACUK team relaxing under the Cioch, set for the famous Highlander film (now on Iplayer)

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