Bruach na Frithe : The dark heart of the Black Cuillin

The Cuillins are all about Drama.  The landscape is schizophrenic : smooth red lumps on one side, spiky black rocks with attitude on the other.  Bruach na Frithe is definitely in the latter camp : one accesible peak in a gang of malevolant pinnacles.  This is a classic day out in the Black Cuillin, with views that fix themselves for ever into your memory !

To make life a little easier, you start and end this walk at the iconic Sligachan Inn, just the place for a pre-walk fry-up and a post-walk pint of ‘Red Cuillin’.  Walk in along the Alt Dearg Mor burn, following this for a few miles.  Leave the main track at Coire na Circe and head quite steeply up the path towards the obvious corrie between Sgurr a’ Bhasteir and Bruache na Frithe.  From the Corrie basin, head straight up the rocky rim towards the lowest point of the ridge (Bealach nan Lice).

Here the vista changes suddenly, with the view dominated by the fearsome pinnacles of Am Basteir (the Tooth) and Sgurr nan Gillean (pictured left).  For best effect, take a short detour left to climb Sgurr a Bhasteir, the spur taking you out at right angles to the main ridge.  Turning around you get an awesome view of the Black Cuillin at it’s best.

Whilst the Bhasteir Tooth is reserved for experienced climbers, there are ways up Sgurr nan Gillean for expert scramblers.  This involves a traverse of the south face, overcoming the obligatoy ‘bad step’ on the ascent.

Now retrace your steps along the ridge towards Am Bhasteir, heading West from the base.

Am Basteir (left) and Sgurr nan Gillean

There are many routes to choose from here to the top of Bruach na Frithe.

Sam and I scaled the face immediately in front, getting up on to the crest of the ridge and following this (carefully) all the way to the top of Bruach na Frithe.

The scramble is fun : sharp but firm handholds come pretty easily, just watch out for rocks dislodged by any friends in front of you.

The views from this ridge are fantastic, perched high on the semi-circular ridge line, with the complete Cuillin ridge spread around you and most of Skye visible from this vantage point.  Looking South you can clearly see across to Sgurr Alasdair and the In Pin (more of that in the next post), with a birds eye view down to Loch Corruisk.
From here there are several ways to return.  We carried on down, keeping to the top of the ridge in a roughly North directlon, slowly losing height along the buttressed flank.

Here again you get a great view, looking back you see the three spires of Am Bhasteir (on your left), Sgurr nan Gillean and Bruach na Frithe.
Descend the final steeper section to re-join the outward path – and head back along the burn to a well earned steak at the Sligathan !


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