Glamaig Route 2
The conical captain of Skye’s Red Hills
Glamaig and its neighbours form the Red Hills, or Red Cuillin, of Skye with their granite slopes appearing to shine red in the right conditions. While they may be smaller than their darker, more famous Cuillin neighbours, the Red Cuillin are definitely not without their own charms and challenges.
Slap bang at the bottom of Glamaig is the Sligachan Hotel, an institution of Skye and the mountaineering world more generally. Since opening its doors in 1830, walkers and climbers have flocked to its bar, which latterly even has its own brewery. This definitely provides an incentive to finish the route quickly, but some seem to have taken this to extremes.
In 1899, Harkabir Thapa, a Gurka visiting Skye decided to run up and down the scree slopes of Glamaig’s main peak, Sgurr Mhairi. He completed the run in 75 minutes but when local landowner McLeod of McLeod doubted him, he did it all over again, this time in just 55 minutes and reputedly without shoes. Over a century later there is still an annual hill race inspired by his endeavour. The 2018 winners Finlay Wild and Jill Stephen hold the current records of 44mins 22secs and 56mins 9secs. Although seems likely that they wore shoes!
For the rest of us, it’s worth taking a bit more time. With its distinctive conical peak, long airy ridges and spectacular scree slopes, Glamaig is a worthy companion to the pub at its foot. Plus, with its great vantage point in Glen Sligachan, it is arguably the best viewpoint in Skye. Drink in the views then head down to drink in the beer!
Looking over to Beinn Dearg Mhor from Glamaig, and east to the mainland mountains.
A Highland cow at the start of the route, with the Black Cuillin peaks of Sgurr nan Gillean and Am Basteir behind.