Scottish Highlands based GP, Finlay Wild, has broken his own Cuillin Ridge speed record. The 29-year-old, from Fort William, ran the epic 12km ridge on the Isle of Skye in just less than three hours. In doing so he smashed his own previous two records, both of which he achieved earlier this year.
What is the Cuillin Ridge?
Claimed as one of the toughest Alpine-style traverses in the UK, the Black Cuillin stretch across the rocky landscape of the Isle of Skye in north-west Scotland. The lofty and jagged ridge includes some 11 Munros, and one of the hardest of this stable of 3000ft peaks, the Inaccessible Pinn (In Pinn).
Traversing the Cuillin Ridge
For most people – and you do need to be an experienced mountaineer – the traverse takes two days with an overnight on the ridge. It’s advisable to take the lead of a guide for this exposed route, and to hope for a window of good weather. Some experienced mountaineers might pull off the feat, with many thousands of metres of ascent and descent, in one day if the weather is on their side.
Cuillin traverse at speed
Fin Wild on the Cuillin Ridge. Pic credit: Roger Wild
The Cuillin speed attempts are measured from the southernmost summit of Gars-bheinn to the northernmost peak of Sgurr nan Gillean. And the “rules” dictate that all of the main climbing pitches, including four notoriously challenging climbs, must be completed. To achieve the solo traverse, runners travel unsupported and solo climb and descend without use of ropes. This month, this is exactly what Fin pulled off, traversing the ridge in an amazing 2hrs 59mins 22 secs (2:59:22). Earlier in the summer he also recorded a traverse of 3:14:58. On another occasion he clocked three hours 10 minutes, although during this crossing he accidentally missed touching the cairn of one of the summits so he dismissed this attempt himself.
The previous record holder was Es Tresidder, who in 2007 ran the route in 3:17:28. After achieving his record, Fin said: “I am delighted. I have been practising the route for a while now and this year I really set my sights on breaking the record. It feels brilliant to have achieved it and to have gone under the three hours.” Fin, who has won the Ben Nevis Race four times, added: “The Cuillin ridge doesn’t scare me and while it can be dangerous I have the expertise to do the climbs well. But there are still risks and you need the conditions to be on your side to make good progress.” On the day, superb autumnal conditions meant the Cuillin were clear and dry. Fin said: “When I set off at noon, I knew that the Cuillins were in almost the best condition they can be. It wasn’t too cold or hot and my trail running shoes stuck really well to the rock. I was relaxed and really enjoyed the run, then around two-thirds in I knew that a sub-three hour attempt was possible. I stayed focused and kept on pushing it and at just before 3pm I arrived at the finish point.The knowledge that I have run the Cuillin Ridge in a record-breaking time feels very good.”
Where to walk on the Isle of Skye
You need to be fit and have a good head for heights to complete the Cuillin Traverse. A mountain guide is also essential for most walkers. However, Skye offers many other fabulous trails that can be walked or cycled, and often with great views of the Cuillin. Check out: