Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Skye - Some Black Cuillin

Skye - Some Black Cuillin

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:48 am

Munros included on this walk: Bruach na Frithe, Sgurr nan Eag

Date walked: 06/06/2016

5 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Day 1 – Skye – Beinn Dearg Mhor
Day 2 – Skye – Marsco
Day 3 & 4 – Skye – Trotternish Ridge
Day 5 – Harris – Uisgebhal Mhor
Day 6 – Harris – Oirebhal and Tiogra Mor
Day 7 – Harris/Lewis – Rest Day
Day 8 – South Uist – Beinn Mhor & Thecla
Day 9 – Skye – Glas Bheinn Mhor and Belig
Day 10 – Skye – Skye – Sgurr a’Bhasteir, Sgurr a’Fionn Choire, Bruath Na Frithe
Day 11 – Raasay – Dun Caan
Day 12 – Skye – Kylerhea Hills
Day 13 – Skye – Sgurr Beag
Day 14 – Skye – Sgurr nan Eag

Day 15 – Skye – Beinn Dearg Mhor & Beinn na Caillich
Day 16 – Skye – Sgurr nan Each

The final section of my report on our Skye summer holiday covers our forays into the Black Cuillin. I had planned to do some of the summits on the ridge which count as Simms, 11 of which I had still to do. I didn't have any real preference - I knew some were way beyond what we could manage unassisted (eg Bidean na Druim Ramh, Sgurr Dubh Beag) but it's always an experience to go up on the ridge, so easier things like Sgurr a'Bhasteir, Sgurr Thuilm etc were up for grabs.

The Monday of our second week was the first venture out - we were back encamped at Sligachan and I'd been looking and looking at Gillean. Well how could you not. Settling beside that peak, Sgurr a'Bhasteir led up to the Tooth. I fancied making a circuit of Sgurr a'Bhasteir, over Sgurr a'Fionn Choire and down Bruathe na Frithe - looked a great day out with not too much scariness.

A cloudy start didn't seem too promising, but I checked yr.no and full sun was forecast from 10am. All day. In fact, all week :lol: Great :D :D We packed up and set off up the path to Sgurr nan Gillean, following the Allt Dearg Beag. Clag blocked our views of the summits as we headed into Coire a'Bhasteir and made SW for Meall Odhar. Boulders and bits of scree underfoot, some wooly sheep poking out of the clouds. We reached the broad ridge top and started off onto the narrow NW ridge of Sgurr a'Bhasteir. This was enjoyable, bits of scrambling, a few exposed places, one section which reminded both of us of climbing up the In Pinn, just the feel of the rock, not the challenge. Everything was bypassable if you wished. As we git over 750m we suddenly broke through the clag into sunshine. Rejoice!

ImageDSC00724 by Al, on Flickr

Up to Meall Odhar
ImageDSC00725 by Al, on Flickr

There's daylight up ahead!
ImageDSC00726 by Al, on Flickr

From this point on everything just got better and better. We reached the summit of SaB and were greeted by the most spectacular vision of Pinnacle Ridge on Gillean floating on a sea of cloud. An enchanted rocky island adrift in some alien landscape. Wow! Up ahead, the Bhasteir tooth jutted and we saw a couple of guys preparing to abseil. Another of the party was below - they'd just completed a three day ridge traverse and were signing off by doing a long abseil off the tooth. Problem was - only 50m of rope. Abseiling down the King's Cave Chimney, that would be fine, but not off the top of the tooth as they found out. A bit of dangling and a jump from the end of the rope was involved :shock: We continued on and had some fun finding different routes up Sgurr a'Fionn Choire. I had my reasons for wanting to do this one. :problem: Afterwards we descended, found a place to sit in the sun and ate lunch, looking out at Bla Bheinn, Sgurr nan Uamha, Gillean, well - just all around :lol:

Sgurr a'Bhasteir
ImageDSC00730 by Al, on Flickr

Pinnacle ridge
ImageDSC00732 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00734 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00736 by Al, on Flickr

Heading towards Sgurr a'Fionn Choire
ImageDSC00740 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00742 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00744 by Al, on Flickr

Climbers preparing to abseil off the Tooth
ImageDSC00749 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00751 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Sgurr a'Fionn Choire
ImageDSC00752 by Al, on Flickr

View to Bla Bheinn, Beag and Uamha in the foreground
ImageDSC00757 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr a'Fionn Choire, Tooth & Am Bhasteir
ImageDSC00762 by Al, on Flickr

Afterwards we headed down the NW shoulder of Bruath na Frithe. To my surprise and shame I found myself freaking out a bit at anything exposed. Now this is a ridge that's great fun - I've done it twice before, once in full winter conditions. Why today? Who knows. Anyway, I didn't enjoy it much and mused about it walking back to the tent. We did stop off at the Slig for a pint which might have helped a bit.

Bruath na Frithe
ImageDSC00763 by Al, on Flickr

Bidean a Druim Ramh
ImageDSC00764 by Al, on Flickr

Heading down
ImageDSC00766 by Al, on Flickr
Day 13 - Sgurr Beag
I felt out of sorts today. Whether it was the heat on the Kylerhea Hills the previous day or something else, I don't know. Just vaguely anxious - like "one of us is going to die today" - nothing very specific :lol: We had planned to head up towards Gillean, go over Sgurr Beag and have a look at Sgurr nan Uamha although I didn't feel it was likely we'd (or rather I'd) manage it with my current head on, then if there was time, check out the "tourist route" up Gillean - we'd come via the northern chimney route when we did it. So far so good. Clag was down at around 750m, but I hoped that it would clear away as the day progressed. Wrong...

Again we walked in from the campsite, along the track into Coire Riabhach. enjoying views to Marsco etc on the way. we walked into the coire and found a cairned path upwards into the clag. We met the south east ridge and continued southwards towards Sgurr Beag. I was feeling a greater sense of foreboding now and having difficulty with simple stuff. The ridge was really quite straightforward to be honest and Allison was romping up it.

Starting out
ImageDSC00845 by Al, on Flickr

Irritating band of cloud
ImageDSC00847 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00849 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00851 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00852 by Al, on Flickr

Ridge to Sgurr Beag
ImageDSC00854 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00855 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00858 by Al, on Flickr

From the tiny summit we got some glimpses down to Sgurr nan Uamha. No way could i face clambering up that today. With the clag sitting in there was little point in heading back up to Gillean either. What to do? I decided we should drop down to Bealach a'Ghlas Coire and from there descend into Harta Coire. We could see Sgurr na Stri off in the distance and I did wonder about doing that, but it would have been a major undertaking from where we were - it had taken us 4 hours already to get not very far. We picked our way down, over slabs and boulders, enjoying some pretty views to the southern half of the main ridge as we did so - with some zany clouds in the sky.

View down to Sgurr nan Uamha
ImageDSC00861 by Al, on Flickr

The southern section of the ridge is cloud free
ImageDSC00863 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00865 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00866 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr na Stri
ImageDSC00867 by Al, on Flickr

Once down into Harta Coire I thought we'd visit the Bloody Stone (Stone of the Flaying in Gaelic). It is a huge boulder that we wondered about scrambling up, but a little too challenging for me. To our right, Sgurr Dearg and the Pinn stood out against the blue sky. Dragonflies zipped around in the warm air. We returned to the track up Gleann Sligachan, called in at the Slig but it was very busy. An unsettled night followed - the Coastguard Helicopter had been out last thing at night and again at first light, circling over the campsite. Never good.

Uamha and Beag
ImageDSC00868 by Al, on Flickr

The Bloody Stone
ImageDSC00873 by Al, on Flickr

In Pinn
ImageDSC00872 by Al, on Flickr

H Bomb on the Cuillin
ImageDSC00878 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00883 by Al, on Flickr

Day 14 - Sgurr nan Eag
Since we'd had such a disturbed night it seemed reasonable to just get up early and face the day. It was also very hot in the tent as the morning sun beat down. Driving round to Glen Brittle I was surprised to see the campsite largely empty - I regretted we were not pitched here in such fine weather. We walked round into Coir a'Ghrunnda with the intention of ascending Sgurr nan Eag and continuing on the ridge over Sgurr a'Choire Bhig and onto Gars-Bheinn - with a rather unclear route after that - maybe back the way we'd come or heading off west into Coire nan Laogh. Rock was warm and dry, a few flies buzzed around and the air was clear - great views out to the islands. We followed the path up to the loch - water level really low, revealing sand at the western end. From here we enjoyed a playful scramble up to Bealach a Garbh-Choire, then onwards to Sgurr nan Eag. A pair of raven perched on the summit, talking away to each other.

Another fine day on Skye
ImageDSC00885 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00888 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00889 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00892 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00895 by Al, on Flickr

We looked along the ridge towards Sgurr a'Choire Brig. It seemed a fair distance away. We had taken quite a long time to get this far. Allison had noticed some twinges in her back too, with the scrambling. It seemed unlikely that continuing along the ridge would be good for that :lol: So we made a decision just to return the way we'd come up, which - with a minor fumble for the right way going down the slabs from Coir a'Ghrunnda was uneventful. It was very warm indeed.

Sgurr nan Eag and the ridge continues
ImageDSC00896 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00898 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00902 by Al, on Flickr

We decide against it
ImageDSC00903 by Al, on Flickr

Day 16 - Sgurr nan Each
Our final day of holiday and another scorching day. We gathered up the tent, packed away our belongings and set off for the drive to Torrin. Sgurr nan Each would be our parting shot for this holiday, allowing a close up view of the Clach Glas traverse which we might like to have a try on one day. Bla Bheinn looked beautiful as we drove towards it and parked in the forest parking spot. Setting off up the path by the Allt Dunaiche we turned off to our right before Choire a Caise and began walking up the grassy shoulder of the hill. Above, we could see crags and a path of sorts wending through the scree. We kept towards the SE aspect of the mountain and clambered to the 623m summit before walking across to reach the main top. There wasn't a breath of air and the sun beat down relentlessly. We looked for any shade to have our lunch and found the opening of a cave some distance below the summit where we could find respite.

ImageDSC00923 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00925 by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr nan Each to the far right
ImageDSC00928 by Al, on Flickr

Ascent route
ImageDSC00930 by Al, on Flickr

View NE
ImageDSC00933 by Al, on Flickr

Onwards to the main summit
ImageDSC00934 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00935 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00941 by Al, on Flickr
Descent was on scree - there are clefts that open up in the central part of the descent, so we required to traverse back towards the eastern side. Back on the grass we returned to the car - 27 degrees - too hot for the hills. A long drive back home followed, the air con getting a lot of use on the journey :D
User avatar
Hill Bagger
Posts: 1922
Munros:217   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:377   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Skye - Some Black Cuillin

Postby dooterbang » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:55 am

Fab stuff....and you didn't die ;)

Loved the trotternish ridge report also. Have spent lots of time up there in winter, and summer, just a magical place.

User avatar
Munro compleatist
Posts: 1828
Munros:262   Corbetts:58
Grahams:18   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:10   Hewitts:18
Wainwrights:21   Islands:19
Joined: Oct 27, 2009
Location: Isle of Skye from Feb 2019 (Originally Glasgow)

Re: Skye - Some Black Cuillin

Postby Phil_rose » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:35 am

Thanks for posting the photos Fred and Rory on the Bastier Tooth - great to find them. Our rope was actually 60m - just long enough with a little hop onto the rock o the bottom..... Excellent photos!
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 30, 2016

Re: Skye - Some Black Cuillin

Postby wilkiemurray » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:15 pm

Absolutely superb!

The photos of Gillean above the cloud are breath taking -


(a jealous) Murray :)
User avatar
Posts: 1332
Joined: Jan 26, 2012
Location: Perthshire

Re: Skye - Some Black Cuillin

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:04 pm

Wonderful. When the weather plays ball you can't go wrong in this place. Brilliant pics of the most brilliant place on the planet :clap: :clap: :clap:
User avatar
Posts: 3125
Munros:173   Corbetts:31
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Skye - Some Black Cuillin

Postby prog99 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:00 pm

Great photos as usual and glad you got the weather, we were on the north side of the ridge in identical weather a week before you and forgot about that top on Bruath na Frith! Still, pinnacle ridge and popping up above an inversion made up for it.

To abb easily off of the tooth you downclimb back down to a cave where its a mildly exciting descent into free space (especially when you put too many twists into your prussic knot :shock: ).
User avatar
Posts: 1363
Joined: Aug 14, 2013

5 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Anne McNaughton, BlackPanther, fraser1, jyeats, Lindseyspiers, Lymbo60, The fox covert and 52 guests