Loch Coruisk Memorial Hut – A History
Loch Coruisk Memorial Hut is based on the Isle of Skye in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Few, if any, places can capture so much of the essence of Skye and particularly of the Cuillin Hills. Loch Coruisk is set in the very heart of the Cuillin ridge. It offers a stunning panoramic view of many of the famous peaks of the Black Cuillins which surround the famous loch.
Loch Coruisk is a popular tourist destination for walking, climbing and hiking. It offers many different routes from a casual stroll up to the loch itself, a longer walk right round Loch Coruisk or anything up to a climb from the edge of Loch up the famous Dubh slabs.
Loch Coruisk is a place of inspiration. Her beauty has birthed poetry, song, prose and art in the hearts of many creative visitors. Turner has painted the Loch. Johnson and Boswell (amongst many other famous explorers of their era) have visited and written beautifully of its unique atmosphere. Even the world famous ‘Skye Boat Song’ originates in a way from a trip across Loch Coruisk! These days writers, poets, artists, musicians and photographers all visit Loch Coruisk in search of fresh inspiration. I have never heard of anyone returning home disappointed!
The Loch Coruisk Memorial Hut
The Loch Coruisk Memorial Hut was built in 1959 in memory of two young climbers who lost their lives whilst climbing on Ben Nevis on April 1st 1953. During the opening day (pictured,left) of the Loch Coruisk Memorial Hut there was a ceremony dedicating the hut to the memory of Peter Drummond Smith and David Monro. It was then handed into the care of the Junior Mountaineering Club of Scotland who maintain it to this day.
The Loch Coruisk Memorial Hut is situated in an ideal location. It provides visitors with quick and easy access to a number of popular climbs on the Cuillin Hills including Sgurr na Stri, the ‘Bad Step’ and the walk from Loch Coruisk to Elgol through Camasunary. It also gives good access to Sligachan or Glenbrittle, the Dubhs, Druim nan Ramh, Garsbheinn and many more famous climbing and walking routes on the Isle of Skye.
The hut was built by a local Elgol builder, Lachlan Mackinnon. Lachlan is pictured, right, with the Drummond Smith family. The Oban Times shortly afterwards described in this way: “one of those mighty men for whom foul weather offered no terrors, or if it did, he did not allow it to deter him.“ (See below for the full text of the article).
Lachlan’s son, Seumas Mackinnon accompanied his father during the summers of 1958 and 1959. They would camp on the banks of Loch Coruisk as Lachlan built the hut.
During this time Seumas fell in love with Loch Coruisk. He began running boat trips for visitors to the Isle of Skye, taking them from Elgol to Loch Coruisk. Initially Seumas ferried visitors across in small 12 seater passenger boats, starting in 1967. Over nearly 50 years Seumas has continued running the boat trips in various small passenger boats and also using his fishing boats. For years he would fish for langoustines, crabs and lobsters during the winter before doubling up the boats as fairly unique passenger boats during the summer months!
These days, 50 years after Seumas’ first memorable days at Loch Coruisk with his father, Lachlan, he is still running tourist boat trips. He sails from Elgol on the Isle of Skye to Loch Coruisk. These days however he has the luxury of a 42 foot traditional wooden launch which is licensed to carry groups of up to 63 passengers. The boat trips now include a entertaining and informative talk. There is also the luxury of an on board toilet and hot and cold drinks served with shortbread. Of course the boat has all the latest safety equipment, but this is all coupled with the same memory-making feeling of a warm, traditional Highland welcome. The boat is run by a local family who have lived their whole lives in Elgol and who have a deep-rooted love and respect for Loch Coruisk and the local people, culture and wildlife.
If you ever have the joy of visiting the Isle of Skye, join us for one of our boat trips from Elgol to Loch Coruisk or for one of our popular and very reasonably priced charters. We can sail from sunrise to sunset for groups of any size up to 63. You are assured of a warm Highland welcome (in Gaelic as well as English!) from Seumas and his team.
To take a boat trip to Loch Coruisk or to discuss your group’s requirements, call Anne and Seumas on 01471 866288 or click here to email.
To book the Loch Coruisk Memorial Hut, please click here to visit the web site of the Junior Mountaineering Club of Scotland.
Article from the Oban Times
Saturday 23rd May, 1959
HUT FOR CLIMBERS IN SKYE – Memorial Building in the Cuillins
In memory of two climbers who lost their lives on Ben Nevis six years ago, a rest hut and rescue centre for climbers was opened on the shores of Loch Scavaig, in Skye, on Saturday.
Constructed stoutly of stone blocks and with two rooms, having accommodation for sleeping nine people, the hut was dedicated to the memory of Peter Drummond Smith and David Monro, by their parents, for whom Mrs Monro handed it over to the custody of the Junior Mountaineering Club of Scotland.
Over 50 attended the ceremony and overnight tents numbered 15.
Mrs Monro said it was a solemn occasion for them but what they had done they believed was what the young men would have wished. Since the boys lost their lives on April 1, 1953, their parents had not ceased in their efforts to find a suitable site for the hut.
Of the difficulties in building, Mrs Monro voiced a special word of thanks to Lachlan Mackinnon, of Elgol, who seemed to be one of those mighty men for whom foul weather offered no terrors, or if it did, he did not allow it to deter him. They offered Mr Mackinnon sincere thanks for his work.
The custodian of the hut, Mr Allan Thrippleton, said the hut would open up the Loch Coruisk side of the Cuillins and that mean the availability of a lot of new climbing routes.