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First taste of the Cuillin by a Skye virgin

First taste of the Cuillin by a Skye virgin


Postby Graeme D » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:15 pm

Route description: Bruach na Frithe

Munros included on this walk: Bruach na Frithe

Date walked: 17/07/2008

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 14.4 km

Ascent: 1055m

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This was my first visit to Skye in July 2008 with a couple of colleagues from school. Skyepilot2 had been on the Cuillin before but the the other two of us were Skye virgins. He said it really was high time we experienced the Cuillin, although he did admit that they still scared the living daylights out him. We headed up on the Tuesday planning to spend three nights camping at Sligachan.

BNF1.JPG
Tents with a view down Loch Sligachan

BNF2.JPG
Glen Sligachan and Marsco


Day 1 on the Wednesday was to be Bruach na Frithe. This was still very early on in my Munroing days, the tally sitting at 5. And they were (by Cuillin standards, indeed by any standards) fairly rounded and benign Munros at that – Schiehallion, Ben More (Mull), Ben Chonzie, Mayar and Driesh. Skyepilot2 reckoned that Bruach na Frithe would be a decent introduction to the Cuillin Ridge. Sgurr nan Eag had been suggested for Day 2 on the Thursday and the Friday, well, we’d see how it went before heading back down the road to Perth.

We got the tents set up and headed for the Slig to partake of their excellent range of fine malts and ales. And when they called time, we retired to the tents which we had made sure were also well equipped with the basic essentials.

BNF3.JPG
Well stocked tents!


We made a leisurely start in the morning, heading up behind the hotel on the A863 and soon striking off across the moor towards Alltdearg House and alongside the Allt Dearg Mor, passing a series of cascading waterfalls before bearing south into Fionn Choire.

It was one of those weird on-off days as far as temperature was concerned – too hot (especially whilst on the move) for multiple layers but any time you took a layer off, it had to swiftly go back on again. Towards the upper end of Fionn Coire, we met a bloke coming down the way. He said he had spent most of the past week on the Cuillin and for most of the time the weather had been so grim that he’d seen sweet hee-haw! From the look of it, he had not fared a great deal better today.

It is quite a sweaty toil up through the bowl of the corrie which progressively becomes steeper and more scree covered as we approach the Bealach na Lice. The mist is really swirling and seems to be permeating our very bodies and the rocks around us. In these conditions, there are a few scary moments where it simply feels like you’ve reached the end of the world, and you kind of think of way back in time, before the earth was known to be round and people thought there came a point where you reached the end of it and could fall off into oblivion!

BNF4.JPG
Myself and Mackie at the Bealach na Lice

BNF5.JPG
Skyepilot and Mackie

BNF6.JPG
Standing on the brink by Sgurr a Fionn Choire


After a bit of careful navigational work, we pick our way gingerly along the base of Sgurr a Fionn Choire before the final climb along the ridge to the trig point at the summit of Bruach na Frithe.

BNF7.JPG
Nearing the summit

BNF8.JPG
Skyepilot crosses the line!


There still isn’t much in the way of a view but as we take some pics and enjoy a bite to eat the sun starts to break through and the splendour of the ridge and the sea beyond is slowly revealed.

BNF9.JPG
Myself and Mackie at trig point

BNF10.JPG
Look guys, the sun's coming out!

BNF11.JPG
South-west along the ridge

BNF12.JPG
From summit looking down northwest ridge

BNF13.JPG
Elgol peninsula and Sleat beyond


We descend by scrambling high along the northwest ridge in increasingly clear conditions before popping back out into the lower reaches of Fionn Choire and traversing across some rough ground to pick up the path leading us back to a well deserved reunion with the bar staff in the Slig!

BNF15.JPG
Scrambling the ridge

BNF16.JPG
Posy shot

BNF17.JPG
Skyepilot at the edge of the world

BNF18.JPG
A seat with a view

BNF19.JPG
Steep descent

BNF20.JPG
North to Portree and the Storr (zoomed)

BNF24.JPG
Sgurr nan Gillean and Am Basteir from Alltdearg House on the descent


As it turned out, the following day was absolutely foul weather, including torrential rain, which limited us to a low level circuit from Elgol along Loch Scavaig to Camasunary before heading east over the track to Kilmarie and returning back along the road to Elgol. By the day after that, which offered only a slight improvement in weather conditions, we decided we were washed out and decided the best course of action was a swift return home to Perth and the comfort and warmth of our own homes.


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Last edited by Graeme D on Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First taste of the Cuillin by a Skye virgin

Postby mountain coward » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:21 pm

Hmmmm - you're not encouraging me any here... I thought Bruach na Frithe was supposed to be the easy one?! Doesn't look easy to me there!

LOL to the flat earth just ending - that's more or less what Borthwick says in his first chapter about his first ever rock climbing on The Cobbler's South Peak - something like '{the ledge} ended the way the earth was believed to end when people still believed it was flat - it just flopped' :lol:
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Re: First taste of the Cuillin by a Skye virgin

Postby Graeme D » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:24 pm

Sorry MC! :(
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Re: First taste of the Cuillin by a Skye virgin

Postby kevsbald » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:31 pm

Fab Graeme - a real teaser for what hopefully lies ahead this year...
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Re: First taste of the Cuillin by a Skye virgin

Postby skyepilot2 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:18 pm

A great report. Brings back some brilliant memories, Graeme. Think we should avoid the edge of the world for our night nav though! We must get Mackie out and explore a bit more ...
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Re: First taste of the Cuillin by a Skye virgin

Postby 37lumleyst » Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:11 pm

mountain coward wrote:Hmmmm - you're not encouraging me any here... I thought Bruach na Frithe was supposed to be the easy one?! Doesn't look easy to me there!


I did this one inj easter last year on my own - like your name sake, I never push myself when I'm walking ans scrambling on my own. Bruach Na Frithe isnt a hard Cuillin to do, but it is very rewarding as the views down the ridge are stunning

I really liked the report here and the string of pics, its written in a very nice style with a good humour level and combined with some good photos makes for a great report.
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Re: First taste of the Cuillin by a Skye virgin

Postby malky_c » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:39 pm

37lumleyst wrote:
mountain coward wrote:Hmmmm - you're not encouraging me any here... I thought Bruach na Frithe was supposed to be the easy one?! Doesn't look easy to me there!


I did this one inj easter last year on my own - like your name sake, I never push myself when I'm walking and scrambling on my own. Bruach Na Frithe isnt a hard Cuillin to do, but it is very rewarding as the views down the ridge are stunning


I wouldn't worry too much about this one MC. Most of the exposed shots are from the NW ridge, which they appear to have descended. No requirement to go this way!

There is no scrambling required in the Fionn Choire, although there is scree and boulders. Doesn't really get that steep though. Providing the visibility is good and you can work out where you are going, you can exit the corrie to the West of Sgurr a Fionn Choire. The ridge to the summit isn't exposed, and is just about all walking. I assume Graeme and skyepilot added a few optional bits of scrambling in here to spice things up a bit. I think I provided a few more instructions at the bottom of a report once: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3183
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Re: First taste of the Cuillin by a Skye virgin

Postby colgregg » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:34 am

Bruach is a great summit and as has been mentioned relatively straightforward by Skye standards. Even the North West Ridge posed no problems from what I can remember. Bealach Nan Lice is a favourite spot for me. I've spent an odd hour or two over the years sitting out rainstorms hoping the weather would improve.
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