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An unforgettable day in the Cuillin

An unforgettable day in the Cuillin


Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon May 22, 2017 1:28 pm

Route description: Bruach na Frithe

Munros included on this walk: Bruach na Frithe

Date walked: 27/03/2017

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This was our second full day in Skye, and again the weather was perfect.

Before breakfast at the Old Inn, Carbost - an early morning game of golf. Clubs, balls and tees supplied by the Old Inn.

ImageIMG_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.


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



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.

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_5200 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Some holes worn in the stream bed by swirling stones.

ImageIMG_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!

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_5216 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking back from the pond towards Mhadaidh, Ghreadaidh and Thuilm.

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_5229 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A closer view of Sgurr a' Bhasteir from the mouth of the corrie.

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_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!

ImageIMG_5283 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Enjoying the wonderful scenery all around.

ImageIMG_5281 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Suddenly revealed: the highest peaks of the Cuillin.

ImageIMG_5286 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Another view of the Gillean group without me in it.

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_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!

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_5337 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The trig column.

ImageIMG_5345 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking south-east from the summit.

ImageIMG_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).

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_5349 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Snow in the summit shelter.

ImageIMG_5346 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Heading back down the ridge.

ImageIMG_5370 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Descending Fionn Choire.

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_5399 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Off we go again.

ImageIMG_5413 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A ravine cut into the basalt, above the Bealach a' Mhaim.

ImageIMG_5429 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The pond on the bealach, this time in late afternoon light.

ImageIMG_5436 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Coire Creiche lit by the westering sun.

ImageIMG_5462 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Sunset scenes on Loch Carbost, from the Old Inn.

ImageIMG_4963 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_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...

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_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.

ImageIMG_6219 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Le Rouge et le Noir.

ImageIMG_6216 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Last edited by HalfManHalfTitanium on Tue May 23, 2017 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An unforgettable day

Postby Beery Hiker » Mon May 22, 2017 2:27 pm

Thanks Tim - as always some great pictures there. Pleased to say the injury is almost fully healed now - glad there were no pictures of it here!
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Re: An unforgettable day

Postby Woodzmeister » Mon May 22, 2017 7:33 pm

Good looking bloke doing emergency paramedic type stuff in the pond reflection shot.
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Re: An unforgettable day

Postby Mal Grey » Mon May 22, 2017 8:26 pm

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.
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Re: An unforgettable day

Postby 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!

Tim
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Re: An unforgettable day in the Cuillin

Postby Bod » Tue May 23, 2017 1:57 pm

Great photos and reflection of your day. Some nice close up pictures too and be certain to get back and enjoy a clear day on Marsco :D :D :clap:
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Re: An unforgettable day in the Cuillin

Postby spiderwebb » Tue May 23, 2017 9:46 pm

Stunning photos, a worthy summit is snow conditions :D
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Re: An unforgettable day in the Cuillin

Postby Alteknacker » Tue May 23, 2017 10:37 pm

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!).
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Re: An unforgettable day in the Cuillin

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed May 24, 2017 10:24 am

That looked fabulous in sunshine and snow, great report and pictures :clap: :clap:
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Re: An unforgettable day in the Cuillin

Postby 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!...
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