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An unforgettable day in the Cuillin
by HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon May 22, 2017 1:28 pm
Route description: Bruach na Frithe
Munros included on this walk: Bruach na Frithe
Date walked: 27/03/20177 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).
Before breakfast at the Old Inn, Carbost - an early morning game of golf. Clubs, balls and tees supplied by the Old Inn.
IMG_5476 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Our target hill was Bruach na Frithe. This walk is also covered by Beery Hiker at https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=71264.
We started at the Fairy Pools car park, which is a rather nice spot surrounded by trees, with views of the Cuillin ridge-crest silhouetted in the morning light.
IMG_5195 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
But, rather than going down to the Fairy Pools themselves, we branched along a smaller path to the left and crossed a stream (Allt an Fhamhair) where it cascades down in a series of waterfalls.
IMG_5201 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
From the stream crossing point we had a view into the gloomy Gothic portals of Coire na Creiche, divided by the pyramid of Sgurr an Fheadain into two smaller corries, Tairneilear on the left and Mhadaidh on the right. Sgurr an Fheadain's famous Waterpipe Gully can just about be made out in the centre of the photo.
IMG_5200 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Some holes worn in the stream bed by swirling stones.
IMG_5205 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
As we walked along the easy moorland path beyond the stream, the jagged skyline to the South gradually changed shape. This photo was taken about half a mile beyond the stream, looking at the four peaks of Sgurr a' Mhadaidh, with Sgurr a' Greadaidh on the right. I suspect that very few non-walkers, if shown this photo with no caption, would guess that these peaks are located in the British Isles - and that they are of much less than Alpine height!
IMG_5211 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
This first section of our route continued onwards very easily across the moors towards the low pass of Bealach a' Mhaim. The was hardly any wind and the air felt warm. At the Bealach we came across a nice pond with a new view - across to cone-shaped Glamaig.
IMG_5216 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Looking back from the pond towards Mhadaidh, Ghreadaidh and Thuilm.
IMG_5221 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
The Bealach a 'Mhaim is the watershed of Skye. The pond on Bealach a' Mhaim drains west towards Glenbrittle, but just beyond it there is a spring (Tobar nan Uaislean) which feeds a stream flowing east to Sligachan. We followed a path alongside this new stream, slightly downhill, until we tuned left to cross the Allt an Fhionn-choire, with a great view ahead of the peaks surrounding Fionn Choire. From left to right these hills are Meall Odhar, Sgurr a' Bhasteir, Sgurr a' Fionn Coire and Bruach na Frithe itself, with its NW ridge looking like a separate peak from here.
IMG_5229 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
A closer view of Sgurr a' Bhasteir from the mouth of the corrie.
IMG_5237 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Fionn Coire is a delightful place and much of the walk up into the corrie can be done on grass.
IMG_5249 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Walking this route the day after climbing Sgurr na Banachdich, we could compare the routes on the two so-called "easy peaks" of the Cuillin. Both routes get five stars for spectacular scenery. But although this route is longer than the Banachdich one, the Bruach na Frithe path is more pleasant underfoot - a major consideration for me, who has only one of my own knees left!
The final west ridge of Bruach to the summit is perhaps fractionally more scrambly than Banachdich. But for those who walk for enjoyment and who want to climb just one Cuillin Munro, Bruach would be my recommendation.
In fact, in the glorious weather we had, the whole route was sheer delight, among superb scenery.
IMG_5243 by Half Man Half Titanium,
Higher up in the corrie the grass and boulders were snow-covered. There was a clear trodden trail in the snow and it led us, not up to the Bealach nan Lice as per the guidebooks, but rightwards under the rocky castle of Sgurr a Fionn Choire. In the deep shadow under the Sgurr, the snow was still wonderfully crisp, the trail was easy to follow, and the whole route from here on reminded me vividly of my walks in the Alps.
IMG_5266 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
The trail took an excellent line, weaving easily through ground that would otherwise have been steep and awkward. Looking back, the trail's steepest section can be seen at the left-hand bottom of this photo. From here we were starting to get superb views to the north and east. Although Am Bhasteir steals the show in this view, the most interesting thing to me was the strange sight of the low sea-mist which surrounded Raasay and its top-knot Dun Caan. The mainland hills are, I think, Ben Alligin about Glamaig, then Liathach above the col, then moving over a bit the Coulin Forest peaks and then the Loch Monar hills.
IMG_5278 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
We reached the well-trodden bealach between Sgurr a Fionn Choire and Bruach na Frithe, and stopped for a few minutes to enjoy the stunning surroundings. The ridge to the summit of Bruach is in the background of this photo. The foreground is, of course, Beery Hiker!
IMG_5283 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Enjoying the wonderful scenery all around.
IMG_5281 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Suddenly revealed: the highest peaks of the Cuillin.
IMG_5286 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Another view of the Gillean group without me in it.
IMG_5301 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
The ridge to the summit of Bruach was one of those magical moments in the hills when time seems to stand still. As we went along I enjoyed this view northwards over the NW ridge towards Loch Harport and MacLeod's Tables.
IMG_5312 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Looking back towards the jumbled peaks of the Gillean group. The exact outline of Am Basteir is hard to pick out from here, but the Tooth can be made out, a triangle of smooth rock. It was hazier than the crystal-clear skies we'd had on Banachdich the day before, but it is still just possible to see in the photo, on the right-hand side, a tall snow-capped peak far away on the mainland, which I am pretty sure is Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan.
At the bottom of the picture is the last bit of ridge before the top of Bruach. It is much easier than it looks, due in part to the super-grippy gabbro. If you're a walker rather than a scrambler, don't be put off it!
IMG_5311 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
I reached the summit trig where I put the camera on self-timer to take this selfie, very happy indeed. All the joys of hillwalking come together at moments like this.
IMG_5337 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
The trig column.
IMG_5345 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Looking south-east from the summit.
IMG_5331 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Bla Bheinn. To the left of the summit, above Clach Glas, are I think the hills around upper Loch Hourn - perhaps Sgurr nan Eugallt? To the right of Bla Bheinn's summit is Knoydart - I guess the most prominent peaks are Ladhar Bheinn (left) and Sgurr na Ciche (right).
IMG_5340 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Looking south along the twists of the Black Cuillin Ridge. A bit (should that be a tot?) of Rum can be seen in the dip between Sgurrs Alasdair and Dearg.
IMG_5349 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Snow in the summit shelter.
IMG_5346 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Heading back down the ridge.
IMG_5370 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Descending Fionn Choire.
IMG_5379 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
The descent was marred by an accident to one of us (featuring a nasty crampon-points injury).
But, not being the one injured, I was still able to selfishly enjoy the lovely scenery. This pond at the north-west lip of Fionn Coire was ringed by fresh new grass.
IMG_5399 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Off we go again.
IMG_5413 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
A ravine cut into the basalt, above the Bealach a' Mhaim.
IMG_5429 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
The pond on the bealach, this time in late afternoon light.
IMG_5436 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Coire Creiche lit by the westering sun.
IMG_5462 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Sunset scenes on Loch Carbost, from the Old Inn.
IMG_4963 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
IMG_4961 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
I may as well use this report to include a couple of photos which otherwise would have no home. Later in the week we had a lot of wet weather - so wet in fact that the path to the Fairy Pools was flooded and we couldn't get to them. We had to content ourselves with a view of this waterfall on the Allt an Fhamhair.
IMG_6136 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
We tried a hill walk on Marsco but turned back in relentless rain and low cloud. This was about as good as it got...
IMG_6193 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
But we did have one good view that day - a gap in the clouds revealed the moors and the little white cottage near Sligachan, and a nice rainbow.
IMG_6164 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Finally, on the day we left, the sun came out again and we had a superb view of the Gillean / Bruach group.
IMG_6219 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Le Rouge et le Noir.
IMG_6216 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
by Beery Hiker » Mon May 22, 2017 2:27 pm
by Woodzmeister » Mon May 22, 2017 7:33 pm
- Munro compleatist
- Posts: 1
- Joined: May 22, 2017
by Mal Grey » Mon May 22, 2017 8:26 pm
by HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue May 23, 2017 8:16 am
Mal Grey wrote:Great stuff, another amazing place that is attainable by most walkers. The little bit of snow makes it all look just that bit better too.
Cheers Mal! Yes - the scenery was out of all proportion to the easy walk!
by Bod » Tue May 23, 2017 1:57 pm
by spiderwebb » Tue May 23, 2017 9:46 pm
by Alteknacker » Tue May 23, 2017 10:37 pm
by Cairngorm creeper » Wed May 24, 2017 10:24 am
by HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed May 24, 2017 12:10 pm
Alteknacker wrote:Well, I thought I'd had good weather on all three occasions I've been in the Cuillins, but this beats my experiences into a cocked hat! Absolutely wonderful! What a difference a little bit of the white stuff can make, even to what is already the best place on the planet! I guess this is an experience that will live in your memory for the rest of your life (the first time I ventured into the Cuillins I dreamed of them every night for a couple of weeks!).
Cheers Alteknacker - I'm still dreaming of the Cuillins... two months later! Can't wait to get back to Skye although it may be a year or two!...