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Tim Winter


When I was living in the South of England, I was a very keen rock climber, but since I moved to Scotland and was employed by Rannoch School, I found climbing partners hard to find. For several years before I joined the School, I had climbed in the Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye and in my present employment found scrambling there by myself to be very enjoyable and became familiar with the Skye Ridge.
As the boys who belonged to the Mountain Service were keen on climbing , it occurred to me that Skye might be a suitable place to take them. During the term every Tuesday they climbed on the local crags whenever the weather permitted and they had visited Glencoe and Ben Nevis on occasions, so I thought Skye might be the next step for them. As an experiment I took two boys to Skye over the Autumn Half Term and they performed very well, so next Summer half term I took a group of boys during which we climbed on sections of the Cuillin Ridge including Pinnacle Ridge.This continued over the next few years until I decided that an attempt on the Ridge in its entirety would be on the cards. In order to avoid the sole destroying ascent of Gars Beinn screes, I decided to start from the north and include Pinnacle Ridge and to make the attempt over two days, having a support party to bring a tent to a site below Sgurr Banachdich where there is running water. The attempt was to be made during Summer Half Term at the end of May when the weather usually is good.
The boys more or less selected themselves for the attempt. They were Jonathan Fagerson, Michael Legg, David Cropley, and Matthew Donald, all being fully up to the task.
The ascent to Gillean went well and we abseiled the Bhasteir Tooth back onto the ridge which was quite exciting, but having done it before with the regulars, it posed no problems. We continued along the ridge in good weather and were met by our support party made up of two boys , Willie Craig , John Smith, and an enthusiastic Glennie. As the school, the cooks and domestic staff were known as "Glennies" after John Glenn who at one time was in charge of them.As we settled down in the 2-man tent , rather a squash for 5 of us, we awaited the dawn with a strong wind outside. As daybreak approached, the wind abated luckily and we were away quite early. The T-D gap was the only technical bit remaining but we managed that without much trouble and hastened on to Gars Beinn. Originally I had planned to descend to Coruisk and walk along Glen Sligachan back to our tents, but the boys were murmuring amongst themselves at this suggestion, so I decided to descend to Glenbrittle. I remember one of the Boys, David Cropley, saying as I changed my mind "Sanity has returned"
So it was a happy party which descended the screes having completed what we had come to do. In the coming years several boys repeated their achievement.


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