Saturday, 8 June 2019

Bruach na Frithe - proper pointy stuff


Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir and Sgurr a'Bhasteir from the start of the walk

Chasing the good weather again - all week the forecast got worse, until Friday afternoon when a sudden break appeared over Skye... off we go.

Red Cuillin, Glen Sligachan and northern end of Black Cuillin Ridge over Allt Dearg Mor 

It was a beautiful day in our little corner of Skye - we parked up just along the Dunvegan Road, a few hundred yards from the Sligachan Hotel and took the path to Glenbrittle ... views abounded.

Bruach na Frithe, our Munro objective of the day - on the northern end of the Black Cuillin Ridge. It has the reputation as the easiest Munro on the ridge - we shall see...

Jim - footpath beside Allt Dearg Mor

It was easy going - a good path, an obvious route, brilliant weather and mountains everywhere!

Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir and Sgurr a'Bhasteir over waterfalls on Allt Dearg Mor

The path followed Allt Dearg Mor for about 3km - a tumbling burn, cascading over rock and into beautiful blue pools. It wasn't quite the Fairy Pools, but we had the place to ourselves.

More waterfalls on Allt Dearg Mor

Pinnacle Ridge, Sgurr nan Gillean,and Sgurr a'Bhasteir over Allt Dearg Mor

Sgurr a'Bhasteir, Sgurr a'Fionn Choire and Bruach na Frithe from Coire na Circe (NG455278)

The path turned towards the Black Cuillin and Fionn Coire, and very soon branched off left from the main Glenbrittle path at a prominent cairn - good spot for a first lunch.

Views to Black Cuillin - leaving the main path at the start of the ascent into Fionn Choire

Jim - ascent into Fionn Choire

There were cairns every 50 yards (or less!) - on one occasion we thought we were lost when we hadn't passed a cairn for a couple of minutes...

Looking back (north) towards Loch Sligachan and a distant Trotternish Ridge

The path led us up and into Fionn Choire - the terrain increasingly rocky - and increasingly steep.

Jim - ascent into Fionn Choire

We kept stopping to take it all in - ahead was Sgurr a'Fionn Choire, a Munro Top, to our left Sgurr a'Bhasteir, the very triangular and prominent hill that had been ahead of us since the start of the walk...

Jim - ascent into Fionn Choire - views to Sgurr a'Bhasteir, Sgurr a'Fionn Choire and Bruach na Frithe

...to the right was Bruach na Frithe and it's North West Ridge - our descent route, should it not look too scary from the top!

Fionn Choire - views to Bruach na Frithe NW ridge (descent route)

Looking back (north west) from Fionn Choire towards Loch Harport

We could see other people on the ridge - the first other hill-walkers seen all day - it looked like they were having fun.

Scramblers on Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Ascent from Fionn Choire with views to Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Fionn Choire - views to Bruach na Frithe  and its NW ridge (descent route)

Jim - ascent from Fionn Choire with views to Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

It really wasn't long before we were in Bealach nan Lice. 

Sgurr a'Bhasteir from ascent into Bealach nan Lice

Stunning - and somewhat awe inspiring...

Over Coire a'Bhasteir to Red Cuillin and Loch Sligachan from Sgurr a'Bhasteir south ridge

Am Basteir and Basteir Tooth with Pinnacle Ridge beyond

We took a left (north), along the easy south ridge of Sgurr a'Bhasteir - the views of Am Basteir and Pinnacle Ridge opening up with every step.

Jim - ascent of Sgurr a'Bhasteir

The summit of Sgurr a'Bhasteir seemed like a pretty good place for a second lunch.

Pinnacle Ridge, Sgurr nan  Gillean, Am Basteir and Basteir Tooth from Sgurr a'Bhasteir 

We settled in. The sun was warm and there wasn't a breath of wind... could have stayed there all day!

Over Glan Sligachan from Sgurr a'Bhasteir

But that Skye gabbro was calling...

Am Basteir, Basteir Tooth and Sgurr a'Fionn Choire from Sgurr a'Bhasteir south ridge

Back at Bealach nan Lice we had a bit of a mooch about - photographs were taken!  Am Basteir and its attached Tooth loomed above us, black and imposing - and somewhat intimidating.  Some research required as to routes for the future.

Jim - Sgurr a'Fionn Choire  and Bruach na Frithe over Fionn Choire from Sgurr a'Bhasteir south ridge 

Am Basteir and Basteir Tooth from Bealach nan Lice

Lookung south from Bealach nan Lice

Am Basteir and Basteir Tooth from Bealach nan Lice

Am Basteir and Sgurr nan Gillean from ascent of  Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

It was definitely hands on whilst scrambling up and over Sgurr a'Fionn Choire - nothing too hard and pretty good fun.

And the views...

Sgurr a'Bhasteir from ascent of Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Bruach na Frithe from ascent of Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Am Basteir and Sgurr nan Gillean from ascent of Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Over the Black Cuillin to Bla Bheinn from ascent of Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Ravens on Basteir Tooth from ascent of Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Scrambling about on Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Jim - Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Sgurr a'Bhasteir from Sgurr a'Fionn Choire (Munro Top 180, 935m)

Bruach na Frithe from Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

The Black Cuillin Ridge from Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

We looked over to Sgurr na Banachdaich - gave Rafie a wave...

Jim - Sgurr a'Fionn Choire with views to Bruach na Frithe

Raasay, Loch Sligachan and Bastier Tooth from descent from Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Bruach na Frithe from descent from Sgurr a'Fionn Choire

Back on the Ridge, it was an easy ascent to Bruach na Frithe - very soon we could see the trig point, the only one on The Black Cuillin.

Looking back to Sgurr a'Fionn Choire with Am Basteir beyond

Jim - ascent of Bruach na Frithe

Black Cuillin Ridge from ascent of Bruach na Frithe

And beyond - the rest of the Ridge - just breathtaking.

Sgurr a'Bhasteir from ascent of Bruach na Frithe

Looking back (NE) along the Cuillin Ridge from ascent of Bruach na Frithe

Black Cuillin Ridge (WSW) from near summit of Bruach na Frithe

Ascent to Bruach na Frithe summit

Bruach na Frithe summit (Munro 200, 958m) - views ENE

Bruach na Frithe summit (Munro 200, 958m) - views WSW

We had the summit to ourselves. Time for a third lunch.

Jim - third lunch near Bruach na Frithe summit - views NW 

We really didn't want to go down yet.

Views west over Coire na Creiche and the Fairy Pools from Bruach na Frithe

Bruach na Frithe's north west ridge looked good - that'll give us some more scrambling practice and keep us on the hill for a bit longer.

Off we go again.

Loch Harpool and beyond from Bruach na Frithe

Black Cuillin - WSW from descent from Bruach na Frithe

Descent on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Climbers on Basteir Tooth from descent from Bruach na Frithe

Climbers on Basteir Tooth from descent from Bruach na Frithe

Views ENE from descent on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

We stuck to the ridge as much as possible. There were a couple of places where down climbing looked a bit iffy - but there was always a bypass route to our left (south west).

More good fun.

Descent on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Roseroot - Bruach na Frithe

Forgotten how much we enjoy scrambling.

Descent on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Looking back to our descent route on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Black Cuillin from Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Fionn Choire from Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Jim - descent on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Looking back to our descent route on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Jim - Black Cuillin from Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

And just to cap it all off, a couple of White Tailed Eagles decided to take a close up look at us clambering about on the rocks. They soared and spiralled just above us, giving us a great windblown show - eventually taking themselves off over the hills to the east.

White Tailed Eagle above Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Descent on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Rain shower to the north - descent on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Looking back to our descent route on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Jim - descent on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

It was over too soon - back on the grass, we descended gently into lower Fionn Choire and back towards the stalkers path.

Looking back to our descent route on Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

Jim - descent into Coire na Circe

Loch Sligachan and Red Cuillin over Coire na Circe

Looking back at Bruach na Frithe north west ridge

It was already teatime. Where had the day gone?

Looking back into Fionn Choire

Jim - descending towards Sligachan

We wended our way back towards Sligachan - tired (surprisingly tired) but elated.

Pinnacle Ridge, Sgurr nan Gillean,and Sgurr a'Bhasteir over Allt Dearg Mor

Red Cuillin from descent towards Sligachan

Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir and Sgurr a'Bhasteir over waterfalls on Allt Dearg Mor

Can't wait for the next one!

Jim - nearing Sligachan Hotel - views to Red Cuillin and Alltdearg House

Route:  Layby beside the A863, just W of Sligachan Hotel (NG484296), briefly SE along road (to NG479297 sp Glenbrittle), SSW along access track to Alltdearg House, taking rough path (sp "path"!) before reaching the house, SW along this path beside Allt Dearg Mor to NG454278 and cross burn at cairn, continue S along rough path ascending into Fionn Coire and up to Bealach nan Lice, N around coire rim on scree and boulders to Sgurr a'Bhastier (898m, Sim), return S to Bealach nan Lice, scramble to Sgurr a'Fionn Choire (Munro Top 180, 935m), descend to W (scramble) to rideg W of the Munro Top, continue on rough path along ridge to Bruach na Frithe (Munro 200, 958m), descend via Bruach na Frithe's NW ridge, mostly on ridge, but dropping to rough path to the W when the scrambling becomes too difficult, when the ridge widens (NG 455259 approx) take the N pathless slopes to regain the outward route (at NG457265 approx) and follow path back to start

Statistics:  Distance: 15.5km  Ascent: 1000m  Time:  7 hours 15 minutes

Map:  OS Explorer 411 Skye - Cuillin Hills

Bruach na Frithe

Bruach na Frithe - proper pointy stuff

Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir and Sgurr a'Bhasteir from the start of the walk Chasing the good weather again - all week the fore...