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Robert MacFarlane in the Cuillins

Starting later today is a new two part series on the Cuillin Hills of Skye. It is presented by Robert MacFarlane. It will, of course, be excellent, especially given the involvement of the three musicians that he mentions here.

In this two part series, we accompany the writer and mountaineer Robert Macfarlane on his attempt to complete the Cuillin Ridge. This expedition marks twenty years since his first book 'Mountains of the Mind' in which he tries to understand the human fascination with mountains. Along the way, he muses on the ways in which these particular mountains have been explored imaginatively and in reality. The reality for Robert is both challenging and wonderful.

The Cuillin Ridge of Skye has long been a source of fascination and wonder for climbers, geologists, writers and artists. Its 22 peaks offer the most extreme alpine climbing in the British Isles and includes the much revered Inaccessible Pinnacle, a very exposed shard of rock protruding from the ridge. To cross the Ridge ordinarily involves a two day expedition of skilled mountaineering with a bivvy overnight. However, it is no easy feat to complete and the majority of people don't make it on their first attempt.

Two modern works are weaved throughout Robert's journey. 

The words of the great late Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean who knew these mountains intimately and wrote of them in his long poem, 'The Cuillin'. 

And the more recent musical work of fiddler and composer Duncan Chisholm and his album 'Black Cuillin'. We also feature brand new music from Duncan Chisholm and Gaelic Singer Julie Fowlis. Plus a song with lyrics by Robert Macfarlane based on his experience of the Ridge.

I was fortunate enough to meet Sorley MacLean on a previous visit to Skye - a place I used to visit regularly to climb in the Cuillins and elsewhere.


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