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Bruach na Frithe

Bruach na Frithe


Postby AnnieMacD » Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:27 pm

Route description: Bruach na Frithe

Munros included on this walk: Bruach na Frithe

Date walked: 27/08/2014

Time taken: 9.75 hours

Distance: 15.4 km

Ascent: 967m

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The weather forecast for the week indicated that after Wednesday the weather would change to rain and minimal visibility (didn't turn out that way) so I decided to take Wednesday off and head for the Cuillin. I parked at the long lay-by on the Dunvegan road and was heading up the path by 9 am. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, a lovely warm breeze was blowing and not an insect in sight. Heaven!

Start of the walk. Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir (with tooth) and Sgurr a'Bhasteir on the skyline.
ImageBruach na Frithe by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Heading up Fionn Choire I was itching to gain some height. It's a very gentle ascent up the path to Bealach a' Mhaim and even after turning off into the corrie it takes a while to get 'serious'.

Portree and the Storr after gaining a little height.
ImageBruach na Frithe-2 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

There are cairns all along the way to reassure those of us who are in the habit of losing paths. :lol:

After the grassy field-like patch, the terrain changes and it's pretty much rock and some scree from here on up. I think there are multiple paths which all end up at Belach na Lice as I also kept seeing small cairns across the burn - I kept to the left side. To be honest this is not a difficult climb - the only real steepness is at the very top for a few metres and it's soon forgotten and the wonder of the Cuillin unfolds in front of you. This has to be one of the most amazing ridge revelations in the Highlands. Wow, just wow, I kept saying out loud! However, all of a sudden there were lots of people about. Some had come up the north-west ridge, some had come up Bealach a' Bhasteir, a couple had come up Sgurr a'Bhasteir iteself and a couple of guys from Sgurr nan Gillean and over An Basteir. It was positively buzzing (I'm not used to busy hills!)

The grassy field with a cairn in the middle (probably useful in mist). Bruach na Frithe on the right with the north-west ridge where I could see and hear people. To the left on the skyline is Sgurr a'Fionn Choire.
ImageBruach na Frithe-3 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Whoo hoo, amazing views. One minute your nose is in scree and suddenly - boom - this is what you are facing. Sgurr na h-Uamhe with Bla Bheinn and Sgurr na Stri behind.
ImageBruach na Frithe-11 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

I walked a short way along the ridge of Sgurr a'Bhasteir and intended going to the end but the wind was cold up here and I was starving. I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast at 6:15 and it was now noon. So, I thought, go up to the summit of BnF for some shelter and lunch then do this ridge on the return trip. Everyone I met told me there was great shelter at the top. I couldn't stop taking photos - lovely Lota Coire, Am Basteir and it's crazy tooth and the whole of the view of the West Highlands opened up. If you think of all hills from which you can see the Cuillin, it works in reverse too and the visibility was amazing. Only problem was the sun was high in the sky and no clouds so not the best conditions for photography.

Am Basteir and its Tooth. No people to get a sense of scale but it really looms above one.
ImageBruach na Frithe-4 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

The Sgurr a'Bhasteir ridge with Sligachan far below and Raasay beyond.
ImageBruach na Frithe-5 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Glamaig and Beinn Dearg Mhor with Applecross and the Torridon hills in the distance.
ImageBruach na Frithe-7 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Knight's Peak, Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir and his tooth from Sgurr a'Bhasteir.
ImageBruach na Frithe-8 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

I even saw a hill runner coming up the Coire a'Bhasteir. One thing to mention for people who have not been on the ridge before, and this worried me somewhat, the maps are so confusing because of all the crags and steepness - just a mish-mash of crags and contours really. However, in good weather, it's not at all confusing. I instantly knew what was what just from having read a few descriptions and you have quite a bit of it sorted out on the ascent. Also, most difficult scrambles have bypass paths although there are so many of them that you may need to back-track to get the one you need. I bypassed Sgurr a'Fionn Choire but took the higher path and had to scramble down a bit when I could see there was a lower path which would not have involved any scrambling at all. In fact I then scrambled down to the lower path!

Pinnacle Ridge and Sgurr nan Gillean. The rock on the right is the base of Am Basteir and to get a sense of scale there is a hill runner centre bottom of the photo, right at the base of the tower. She is wearing a day-glo green top and hopefully you can see the dot of her jacket. I'm kicking myself that I didn't hang around and get a photo of her with the whole of Am Basteir in one shot.
ImageBruach na Frithe-9 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Basteir Tooth with the Bla Bheinn summit behind.
ImageBruach na Frithe-10 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Lota and Harta corries.
ImageBruach na Frithe-12 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Summit of Bruach na Frithe from Sgurr a'Fionn Choire. Here's the hill runner on her way down!
ImageBruach na Frithe-13 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Some views from the summit of Bruach na Frithe:

Sgurr a'Bhasteir from Bruach na Frithe summit. Lots of people on the ridge now.
ImageBruach na Frithe-14 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

This was my favourite view - the corries (Lota and Harta) across to Bla Bheinn, Clach Glas, Garbh-bheinn, Belig, Sgurr na h-Uamha, Sgurr na Stri and many more....
ImageBruach na Frithe-15 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Zoomed in to Bla Bheinn etc. The smaller hump in front of Garbh-bheinn is Ruadh Stac (yet another one).
ImageBruach na Frithe-17 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Am Basteir, Knight's Peak, Sgurr nan Gillean and Sgurr a'Fionn Choire in the mid-distance on the left. You can see the South-east ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean go down to Sgurr Beag and then end at Sgurr na h-Uamha with Lota Coire down below.
ImageBruach na Frithe-26 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

South to the remainder of the Cuillin Ridge.
ImageBruach na Frithe-27 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Up at the summit were three people (from Sheffield?) and a lovely black Border Collie (which I would happily have adopted) so I sat and had lunch and chatted away to them. They reckoned Sgurr nan Gillean was an easy climb and the only Cuillin where I would need support would be the Inn Pin - I didn't say much but it just shows how subjective these things are! They set off and there was a string of other people coming and going. Then a young couple arrived who had the air of being happy to be alive. They told me they had come up the north face of Sgurr a'Bhasteir and it was pretty hairy so they were very relieved to be safe. Hi guys!

Meanwhile everyone I spoke to was encouraging me to descent via the North-west ridge rather than go back down the corrie. There is a bypass path to avoid the scramble down from the very top and most seemed to be taking it. Decision time - so I went down the ridge. I can always come back and do more exploring - I really would like to come up Coire a'Bhasteir the next time.

The couple who had ascended via the north side of Sgurr a'Bhasteir.
ImageBruach na Frithe-16 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Looking back up to the summit after coming down the bypass path.
ImageBruach na Frithe-19 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Then there is a nice airy ridge walk at the end of which I took a seat on a mossy hummock and wondered at all the beauty around me. It was warmer and quieter than on the summit!

Back to the summit (can you spot the two people on top?) and the mossy hummock.
ImageBruach na Frithe-20 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Glamaig and the north ridge of Sgurr a'Bhasteir. You can clearly see Beinn Eighe and Beinn Alligin and even my house! The white spot/line in the centre of the mainland shoreline is the beach at Ardbain and my house is in the row behind it.
ImageBruach na Frithe-21 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Sgurr an Fheadain with Coire na Creiche on this side and Coire a'Mhadaidh on the far side.
ImageBruach na Frithe-22 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

I chose to go straight down to the Glen Brittle path although I see now that it would have been easier to take the north spur back into the lower part of Fionn Choire. There was a steep scree slope that I pretty much avoided by keeping to the sheep paths on the moss - it was quite steep though. It was a gorgeous evening so stopped frequently on the way down to take photos.

Pinnacle Ridge, Sgurr nan Gillean, Meall Odhair, Sgurr a'Bhasteir, Sgurr a'Fionn Choire, Bruach na Frithe summit, north-west ridge and north spur.
ImageBruach na Frithe-23 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Marsco and Bla Bheinn in the evening sunshine. Garbh-bheinn is on the left.
ImageBruach na Frithe-24 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

Back to the start after a marvellous day.
ImageBruach na Frithe-25 by anniesmountains, on Flickr

I'm absolutely sure I will be back in this area as I feel so much was left undiscovered. Advice to anyone who hasn't been yet - please make sure you do this on a clear day!
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:21 pm

Grand photos you got a bonnie day :D
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby litljortindan » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:14 pm

Some lovely pictures and I eventually found your day glow green hill runner!
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby gman » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:45 pm

Looks stunning :clap:
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:17 pm

Some cracking shots of the Tooth, Annie
Glad you took the ridge route descent too - a fine day out
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby clivegrif » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:35 pm

What a grand day out!

Wonderful pictures, and especially love the B&W one Sgurr an Fheadain with Coire na Creiche on this side and Coire a'Mhadaidh on the far side.

Superb as ever!
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby Silverhill » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:00 pm

What a fantastic trip! 8) I’m not at all envious that you have these hills in you back garden, honestly. :lol:
Good to see that your knee is back to normal! :D
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby rockhopper » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:39 pm

Excellent Annie :clap: - day walks don't get much better than this, great timing - cheers :)
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:38 am

Wonderful pics of a great walk Annie, Just retraced our steps when we did this, think now we'd include the ridge after seeing your pics.
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:19 pm

A-ha, so that's how it looks without snow! :lol: :lol: A superb route if you include the NW ridge. I remember the rush of adrenaline when I scrambled down it... We had to stick to the crest as the bypass path was covered in very slushy, unstable snow. I'll definitely come back and scramble up this way on a good day like you had :D

Kevin is now hatching a plan to climb Sgurr na Banachdich in winter conditions. We did it in summer and by my judgement it's slightly easier than Frithe, so here comes the challenge...

Sadly at the moment, we are left without a car until next week, so all we can do is walk up Beauly hills :(
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby Johnny Corbett » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:24 pm

Great stuff, brings back the memories. Looking forward to doing the Cuillins again in wee dribs and drabs without a guide, with the exception of the Pinn :D
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby AnnieMacD » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:36 pm

Thanks, all, for your comments. I know I'll be back in this area again even if there aren't too many tops I can do (well, I hope to do Sgurr na Banachdich soon). There are so many possibilities - like dropping down into Lota Coire, Druim na Ramh, ascent via Coire a'Bhasteir, Sgurr a'Bhasteir, etc etc.

Collaciotach wrote:Grand photos you got a bonnie day :D
Thanks, that's why I took a day off as I thought the weather was changing. I knew I had to do this on a good day - partly so I wouldn't get lost :lol:

litljortindan wrote:Some lovely pictures and I eventually found your day glow green hill runner!
Thanks, it really gives a sense of scale - she was just like an ant running up the scree!

gman wrote:Looks stunning :clap:
Thanks, gman!

weaselmaster wrote:Some cracking shots of the Tooth, Annie
Glad you took the ridge route descent too - a fine day out
Yes, the ridge was the right decision but I'm still kicking myself that I didn't go to the end of Sgurr A'Bhasteir. Just for a little lunch!! I'll be back though.

clivegrif wrote:What a grand day out!

Wonderful pictures, and especially love the B&W one Sgurr an Fheadain with Coire na Creiche on this side and Coire a'Mhadaidh on the far side.

Superb as ever!
Thanks, Clive. It was a wonderful day. That photo was from the north-west ridge and these corries are now definitely on the cards - Coire a'Mhadaidh looks pretty complicated. I couldn't quite see Waterpipe Gully as it's just round the corner - NO I'm not going to go up/down it :lol: :lol:

Silverhill wrote:What a fantastic trip! 8) I’m not at all envious that you have these hills in you back garden, honestly. :lol:
Good to see that your knee is back to normal! :D
I know how lucky I am. I haven't yet done a hill that's more than a 2 hour drive away. I see you have only done hills south of the Great Glen - we'll have to do a house-swap :lol: :lol: My knee is recovering slowly but the doctor told me to exercise it - what better exercise?

rockhopper wrote:Excellent Annie :clap: - day walks don't get much better than this, great timing - cheers :)
You are so right - a few puffy clouds might have been the only possible improvement!

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Wonderful pics of a great walk Annie, Just retraced our steps when we did this, think now we'd include the ridge after seeing your pics.
Thanks, John. I was persuaded by many of the people I spoke to - all said it was no problem if the bypass path was used for the very top part - and they were right. There are wee bits of scrambling but nothing that your family couldn't handle! Not sure about Hughie though - you might have to carry him over some bits. Oh, and there's a wee bit of narrow ridge (WH describes it as being like Striding Edge) so your wife might not want to look down. I really think it's a place to visit over and over!

BlackPanther wrote:A-ha, so that's how it looks without snow! :lol: :lol: A superb route if you include the NW ridge. I remember the rush of adrenaline when I scrambled down it... We had to stick to the crest as the bypass path was covered in very slushy, unstable snow. I'll definitely come back and scramble up this way on a good day like you had :D

Kevin is now hatching a plan to climb Sgurr na Banachdich in winter conditions. We did it in summer and by my judgement it's slightly easier than Frithe, so here comes the challenge...

Sadly at the moment, we are left without a car until next week, so all we can do is walk up Beauly hills :(

I'd like to go up the NW ridge too as it's a great ridge with lots of different types of walking. (Sorry about your car :( ) I was thinking of you when I was on the bypass path and wondering what it would have been like in snow when you wouldn't know where the spider-web of paths were. :crazy: I'm hatching a plan to do Sgurr na Banachdich before the snow comes :lol:

Johnny Corbett wrote:Great stuff, brings back the memories. Looking forward to doing the Cuillins again in wee dribs and drabs without a guide, with the exception of the Pinn :D
Yes, you did the hard way - with a guide :lol: Dribs and drabs at your own pace is the way to go! The Cuillin are such great hills that I'm sure many of the great walks don't involve tops at all. I know one of my best walks was when I did Harta and Lota Corries.
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby Meatball » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:24 pm

I always look forward to your reports!
I love the picture of bla bheinn and the very last pic....my favourite views ever.
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby Rossco » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:37 pm

Wow that looks amazing, some awesome pictures there!! I will get to Skye again one day to tackle these beasts. :D
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Re: Bruach na Frithe

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:22 am

Beautiful Annie, stunning photos and wonderful writing ... it makes me feel as if I'm there :D
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