The Cuillin Hills that tear at the sky over the waters of Loch Scavaig on the Isle of Skye are believed by many to be the most dramatic mountain range in the United Kingdom. The peaks of the Black Cuillin are mainly made up of gabbro, a coarse black igneous rock while the nearby Red Cuillin are generally comprised of granite. Of volcanic origin they were formed during the Palaeogene geologic period that started some 66 million years ago and lasted for 43 million years. The highest point of the Black Cuillin Ridge is Sgùrr Alasdair which reaches 992 m (3,255 ft). Overall, the ridge appears to have a jagged outline with sharp well defined peaks. There are many steep cliffs and narrow valleys of gullies.
In 1601 the last great clan battle on the Isle of Skye took place around the slopes below Bruach na Frìthe in the Cuillin Hills. It was a confrontation between Clan MacDonald of Sleat and the Clan MacLeod (pronounced: Mac Cloud) of Dunvegan. It was the climax of a year-long feud that became known as ‘The War of the One-eyed Woman’. In brief, the Mac Donald’s had terribly insulted the one-eyed sister of the lord of the McLeod clan who responded with violence and skirmishing that lasted a year. The McLeods may have had the moral high ground but still lost the final battle and so the honour of Lady Margaret Macleod was never truly avenged although it seems that enough men died in the process that both clans eventually decided to make peace.
The Cuillin range is very popular with mountain climbers and scramblers as the rock tends to offer an excellent grip. There are twenty peaks in the range and should not be informally explored without the proper equipment and the support of trained guides. This said, only the Inaccessible Pinnacle is classed as a moderate climb but most other ascents still do require scrambling skills.
The Cuillin Hills have been featured in numerous novels and poems and were even referenced in the recent animated film ‘Brave’ (2012) by Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures. The Black Cuillin Traverse is highlighted in the TV series ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls’.
The Cuillin Hills definitely have their fair share of legends and paranormal incidents. Many believe the rugged mountains are haunted by the ghost of a man called MacRaing who murdered a girl and then killed his own son when he threatened to reveal his father’s secret. Annoyed that his son had turned against him, the outlaw cut off the young man’s head and threw it down a well called Tobar a’ Chinn.
A Scottish water horse, also known as a Kelpie, is said to live in Loch Coruisk (Cauldron of Waters) at the foot of the Cuillin Hills and is said to drag unwary sailors into the ice cold waters and drown them.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
A850 (Rd), Loch Greshornish Borve, Portree
Isle of Skye, Scotland, IV51 9PS
+44 (0)1470 582 230
- Address: A863, Sligachan, Isle of Skye, Highland, Scotland, United Kingdom, IV47 8SW
- GPS: 57.19496389,-6.196058333
- Part of UK: Scotland
- Sat Nav Postcode: IV47 8SW
- Entrance Fees: Free Access
- Disabled Access: Visible from multiple roads / Trails require high levels of physical fitness and abillity
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: Mark Bulmer