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Glencoe from Skyfall to Skyline

Updated: Oct 1, 2019

We take a quick look at the Glencoe Skyline Race and can't help wondering what Sir Hugh Munro would have made of it.


I was in Glencoe last weekend enjoying what can only be described as untypical sunshine throughout the Friday and the Saturday of my visit. On that Sunday the Glencoe Skyline race was to take place but by then I had fled the scene.


Glen Eitive from the summit of Bidean nam Bian

As an avid bimbler I have little understanding of what it must be like to run these routes even in the best conditions.


Last Friday I strolled up Bidean nam Bian (1150m) to take this photograph of Glen Etive, an atmospheric glen now famously immortalised in the James Bond film Skyfall. More a massif than a mountain, Bidean is a complicated piece of business that includes the Three Sisters – the trio of buttresses that tower over the A82 where many a car advert has been shot. Between two of these buttresses can be found the Lost Valley where Clansmen are said to have hidden stolen cattle.


Despite its complexity Bidean is not the most dangerous part of the Skyline course which also includes ascending Buachaille Etive Mor’s eastern face via Curved Ridge (Grade III scramble), and later what is often described as the UK’s hardest mainland ridge scramble – the Aonach Eagach – from west to east.


I walked the Aonach last year with friends from east to west (the sensible way to do it because you set off higher up), and it took us no less than 8 hours, which admittedly is at the high end of published estimates.


To put that in perspective the 22 September men’s race was won in under 8 hours by Norwegian, Erik Johannes Husom who came in at 7:55:00. The Glencoe Skyline Race is 52km long and includes 4750 metres of ascent – that’s over five Munros bottom to top.


Congratulations to all participants of this year’s Glencoe Skyline Race. Learn more about the event here:


GLENCOE SKYLINE


London Connection: Sir Hugh Munro

Munro-baggers are often surprised to hear that the man who compiled the original list of Scottish Munros was in fact English by birth, born 1856 in London. He was subsequently brought up in Scotland on the family estate of Lindertis near Kirriemuir in Angus and was a founding member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club. His list of Scottish mountains over 3000 feet has been tweaked over the years and currently numbers 282. There are many more peaks and tops over 3000 feet in Scotland but Sir Hugh deemed these insufficiently discrete from linked Munros of greater height.


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