Thursday 1st October 2020
We were itching to explore the Black Cuillins once more.
This time we decided on the Munro Bruach na Frithe which was meant to provide spectacular views over its sister mountains.
As we left the carpark and began our hike, we could see the tops of the Black Cuillin but we all know how that can change at any given time!
The mountains here produce wetter and windier weather than elsewhere on the Island. The weather can also be very unpredictable and you can never assume it will remain the same from the time you set off to the end of your day.
We climb at a reasonably easy gradient along the north side of the Allt Dearg Mor. The rain started to fall lightly. However there was some really beautiful waterfalls and pools which took our mind of the rain and added interest to the walk.
We eventually reached a couple of cairns marking the start of the path up into Fionn Choire and the clouds started to build again!
As we headed up we kept glancing back and we eventually got a beautiful view of what lay below us.
The Pinnacle Ridge of Sgùrr nan Gillian slowly came in and out of view over to the left looking so impressive.
The gradient steepened as it rose to the corrie which, when we reached it, I was surprised to find flat, grassy and pretty pleasant to walk across.
We headed towards the back of the grassy bowl and began to head up an increasingly steep well-worn rough scree path that zig-zags up through boulders to reach the ridge at the Bealach na Lice between Bruach na Frithe, on our right, and Sgurr a’ Bhasteir, on the left.
This is when you can truly see the difference in these Munro’s compared to all others.
The Ridge of the Black Cuillin comprises extremely rough terrain, boulder hills, steep scree slopes and knife-edge ridges, suitable really for only experienced climbers…you can feel the meanness in these mountains.
The Red Cuillin, although less challenging, also contain areas of steep, rocky terrain but they are more rounded
The cloud remained low but opened up at points, it was very atmospheric whilst slightly intimidating too.
If there had been no cloud and mist (something of a rare occasion on Skye) we should have been able to view most of the main Cuillin ridge…what we got was small openings and glances of spiky, huge, dark summits but we were very lucky!
We were still given amazing views just not clear great amazing views along the Cuillin!
The bealach was spectacular. As you reach it, everything happens at once. The massive summit of Am Basteir is right beside you, it’s huge, this is another Munro we hoped to undertake and is known as ‘The Executioner’, seeing it from here I can now understand why! This involves a scramble to the top and conditions are better to be dry as the rock when wet is very slippery…today it was windy, wet and slippery.
We were also up close and personal with the magnificent and hugely impressive Basteir Tooth, a dramatic fang of rock….see I told you these mountains are vicious!
As the cloud rose we looked up to the top of Basteir Tooth and there stood two rock climbers right on the top – wow guys!!
To the right of the tooth is the rock peak of Sgurr a Fionn Choire, which is less fearsome than the Tooth and can be traversed by scramblers.
We took the time to enjoy the Bealach na Lice as you never know when times like these will come again.
From here we were heading to Bruach Na Frithe’s shapely summit which has a trig point – the only one on the Cuillin ridge. The name means Slope of the Deer Forest.
As we were on the summit of Bruach Na Frithe we got our first snowflakes off the year.
Eventually we left the summit taking the path back down to Bealach na Lice…it was so stunning we wanted another look…the jagged shapes of the mountains up here are something else!
From here we decided to undertake a Munro Top, Sgurr a’ Bhasteir, we didn’t want to leave these tops. Although we could not see a thing, we hoped as we got over to the summit things would open up as views from this summit were meant to be amazing. We got to the top and never got our views, the clouds seemed to thicken.
We returned to the bealach for one last time before descending firstly down some steep loose scree, onto a rocky path, into the coire and then eventually onto the long path out past the waterfalls and pools.