*April Fool alert - this article is factually incorrect and contains poor jokes. You can breathe a sigh of relief - the Bolster Stone remains intact (as far as we know!)*
Skye's iconic Inaccessible Pinnacle has lost the Bolster Stone, the prominent boulder which had been perched precariously on its summit. As a result of the rockfall yesterday afternoon the height of the 'In Pinn' has reduced by a little over eight metres. The adjacent peak of Sgurr Dearg is now marginally higher, and though its promotion has yet to be officially endorsed it seems inevitable that it will replace the In Pinn as the listed Munro summit.
The rockfall was witnessed by a group of scramblers in Coire Lagan. The team reported hearing a loud rumbling noise, which alerted them to a plume of dust and a pile of rubble below the west side of the Pinnacle.
Non-climbing hillwalkers may be relieved at the In Pinn's demotion. As the most technically difficult mountain summit in the British isles, and famously the only Munro that required high level rock climbing skills by its easiest route, it was a major barrier to anyone trying to complete all 282 Munros.
Local guides, who have made a fortune leading height-averse Munro baggers to the summit, are likely to suffer from its loss, and proposals have already been made either to reposition the fallen boulder, or to replace it with a 'tastefully constructed' cairn of equal height.
'75% of my work is climbing the Pinn and folk have already started to cancel because they don’t need us anymore' said Mike Lates of local firm Skye Guides.
'Our poor guides will really suffer; they’ll have to stop their ski-touring, cancel their alps trips, and one is even talking about selling his Arcteryx jacket. I’ll have to tighten the belt too - the Beemer will soon be gone & I’ll be back in a Focus. Disneyland Paris instead of Florida was really hard to tell the kids.'
The Cuillin are renowned for loose rock and the occasional spectacular loss of iconic features, so it comes perhaps as no surprise that the infamous boulder has finally succumbed to time and weather. In 2007 the In Pinn was hit by lightning, and lost a huge chunk on its north-west corner.
'This is devastating news but the lightning strike in 2007 was a warning' confided Mike Lates; 'I should have retrained in IT then.'
'There’ll have to be an enquiry of course. Tony was up with the dogs yesterday looking for signs of deliberate vandalism. With bolting so openly supported by the MCofS & BMC it was only matter of time before someone lowered the Pinn to their own safety levels. We expected a via ferrata might one day be put up, and could have lived with that, but if the felling of the Bolster Stone was a deliberate act then it really was a step too far.'
Following yesterday's rockfall questions are now being raised regarding the structural integrity of the rest, and fears have been voiced that the entire Pinnacle might even be at risk of sliding into Coire Lagan. Climbers and hillwalkers are being warned to wear helmets to guard against that possibility.
'I’ve heard Mountain Training UK will be offering courses on how to deal with loose rock up there, and only those with a LOOSE-R ticket will be able to work here after this season' said Mike Lates.
84-year-old scrambler Maple Foule was a member of the group that witnessed the rockfall. She commented:
'I couldn't believe my ears when I saw what had happened. I've been walking in this area for years and it has always looked very precarious, as though it could fall at any moment. But I never truly believed it would drop off before I did.'
She added: 'I blame that Danny MacAskill for posing on top of the summit block with a BMX. The weight of his bike must have weakened it.'
A photo clearly showing that the entire Pinnacle could slide off the hillside, pic: Mike Lates