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Bruach na Frithe
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The Fionn Choire Horseshoe - Black Cuillin

Location: The Black Cuillin above Sligachan Hotel, Isle of Skye

Length: 14km / 8.75 miles

Ascent: 1035m / 3392ft

Time: 7 hours

Difficulty: Amazingly for the Black Cuillin there are no technical difficulties save the sometimes rough going, the length of the walk and its remoteness. Navigation in bad weather is notoriously difficult. It should also be noted that, even at a 1:25000 scale, the steeps are so great and the area so complex that the Black Cuillin cannot be truly represented by a map. There is also the fact that within the gabbro rocks are deposits of magnetite which deflect the compass needle from magnetic north, so a map and compass are of limited use amongst these demanding and serious mountains.

  Looking west to Bruach na Frithe
     

Seasons:

Summer conditions may be expected from May to September, and winter conditions from October to April.

Geology:

Typical of the region is gabbro interspersed with basalt dykes. The course-grained gabbro is renowned for its hard roughness, giving good friction and making it an excellent rock on which to climb. It does vary in quality, however, and there are crumbly and denatured sections.

Loose rock and scree will be found on the ledges and paths, so care must be taken not to dislodge any stones forfear of climbers below. There is also basalt which is a much darker and more compact rock which becomes extremely slippery when wet.

 

  The Basteir Tooth
     

Flora and Fauna:

Ptarmigan, Kestrel and Merlin may be seen, also otter and slow-worm. Alpine saussurea and northern rock-cress grow in this region.

Comment:

This is perhaps the easiest and most accessible of the high Cuillin; nevertheless it is a very rewarding outing amongst breathtaking scenery: Scurr nan Gillean, The Pinnacle Ridge, The Basteir Tooth and the main Cuillin Ridge are all seen to tremendous effect.

In many respects Bruach na Frithe offers one of the best views of the main Cuillin Ridge. To the east lies Scurr nan Gillean, the northern terminus, and to the south Gars-bheinn which is the usual starting point in summer.

  Cuillin ridge looking south
     

In between stretch eighteen major summits (including Bruach na Frithe), 11km in distance, over 3000m of ascent, involving difficult route-finding and sections of sensationally exposed rock climbing; from end to end this is truly the most wonderful expedition in the British Isles.

Our way leads along the rocky crest - a little scrambly but not difficult - around the head of the corrie to the top of Scurr a' Fionn Choire above Bealach nan Lice, overlooking the impressive rock fang of the Bhasteir Tooth.

The fine crest leads pleasantly along to the top of Scurr a' Bhasteir where there is a spellbindingly impressive view of Scurr nan Gillean and The Pinnacle Ridge

Thereafter, our descent takes us down to the Allt Dearg

Mor - where its milky waterfalls and polished rock slides may prove irresistible for some on a hot summer's afternoon.

  Sgurr Dearg

 

   

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