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I DUN IT!; Climber Chris claims conquest of UK's last uncharted peak.

Byline: JONATHAN LESSWARE

A SCOTS-BASED mountaineer has climbed what could be Britain's last unconquered peak.

International mountain guide Chris Dale, 41, scaled 1000-foot Dun Dubh on Skye.

Experts believe Dun Dubh, Gaelic for the black fort, may have been the last UK peak that had not been climbed.

There is no record of anyone else reaching the summit, even though the mountain is relatively small and stands little more than a mile from a popular tourist path.

Chris said he was not sure why no one else had climbed the distinctive peak.

The Speyside-based climber spotted Dun Dubh three years ago, while guiding a client in the Quirang mountains in north-east Skye.

And when he returned to the range recently, he decided to conquer it in a daring solo ascent.

Chris hacked his way up steep and treacherous slopes of turf and rock, armed only with a rock climber's hammer.

He returned a week later with top Scots climber and photographer Dave Cuthbertson to record the feat.

Chris said yesterday: "It's one of the pointiest UK peaks I have ever been on.

"It has a triangular shape and a very fine summit, which you can straddle with a leg on either side.

"It's quite precipitous, and not for the walker.

"I took a route up a 1000ft face because there's a 300ft overhanging cliff on the other side. It was certainly very serious climbing.

"The turf was very steep and slippy and the rocks were very loose. There's no room for error - if you slipped, you would go right to the bottom.

"The rock is absolutely atrocious, and not the most pleasant place to climb. The Quirang is renowned for that."

Chris took an hour to reach the top. He said: "There was one stone on the summit and I chiselled a small triangle into it."

In a 24-year climbing career, Chris has pioneered several new routes in the Alps.

And after checking the mountaineering record books, he believes Dun Dubh may have given him another first.

He said: "In terms of being difficult, it's serious enough for somebody to record it."

Experts at the Scottish Mountaineering Club had no knowledge of a previous ascent of Dun Dubh. And spokesman Andy Nisbet believes they would have recorded it if it had been done before.

He said: "Only when they are registered does anyone notice they haven't been done."

Chris's pal Dave Cuthbertson said: "A lot of people were surprised to hear there was still an unconquered mountain in Britain.

"I just think not a lot of people had noticed Dun Dubh, as it is tucked behind several other peaks.

"It is quite a serious and unique climb and you will certainly not want to fall off it. The ridge is mainly turf and is very slippery."

HE'S THE FIRST OFFICIAL CLIMBER BUT DID YOU BEAT HIM TO IT? CALL THE NEWSDESK ON 0141 309 3251
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 16, 2003
Words:485
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