Mar 022024

First published in: The Times Click here to view a map for this walk in a new window
Eas Mor waterfall above Glenbrittle, looking to the Black Cuillin Black Cuillin from Glenbrittle 1 Black Cuillin from Glenbrittle 2 mountain view from Glenbrittle Black Cuillin from Glenbrittle 3 Loch Brittle Approaching Corrie Lagan, Black Cuillins Eas Mor waterfall above Glenbrittle, backed by the Black Cuillin

As we drove the narrow twisty road down Glenbrittle after a stormy night, it was a relief and a thrill to see the sharp silhouettes of the Black Cuillin mountains stamped against the sky.

We started up a broad steep grass slope towards Skye’s most magnificent backdrop, the Cuillin Ridge, standing dark and dramatic with clouds drifting among its razor-toothed peaks. The view back south was of dark blue waves riding in from Loch Brittle to cream on a long sandy beach.

Heather, moor grass and white crustose lichen clung to the peat that covered the underlying rock, grey knobbly gabbro from which the sun struck a cheerful sparkle. Violets were rebeginning to struggle out among the clumps, and curlews had already begun their haunting territorial calls.

The well-made path trickled with runnels as the rain-sodden slopes disgorged their surfeit of water. We paused for a breather and a look back over Loch Brittle to where the Cocktail Isles had slid into view – flat-backed Canna, mountainous Rhum and the volcanic prow of Eigg.

A posse of climbers heading for the ridge swung past us, belts a-clink with multicoloured clips. I felt my customary twinge of envy for their careless athleticism and daring, then bent my efforts once more to the upward climb.

Now the sunshine fell behind and we were forging up the cleft of Coire Lagan in the shadow of the Cuillin ridge. A short sharp scramble up a jumbled staircase of rocks with a stream hissing down beside the path. Then the reward at the top of the climb, the still black pool of Loch Coire Lagan under tremendous upthrusts of black gabbro, with the shark fin of Sgùrr Thearlaich rising dramatically to the 992-metre pyramid of Sgùrr Alasdair, highest peak in the islands.

Descending past Loch an Fhir-bhallaich towards Eas Mòr’s horse-tail plume of falling water, we stopped for a last look at the high black rock spires of the Cuillin Ridge. The clouds were already drifting back, and against their grey backdrop a magnificent golden eagle, monarch of the range, was slowly wheeling away.

How hard is it? 5¼ miles; strenuous; mountain paths; one short, steep ascent with a little scrambling. For experienced, sure-footed walkers. Wear hill-walking gear; take map/GPS; consult weather forecast (

Start: Car parking area near Glen Brittle campsite, IV47 8TA (OS ref NG 410205)

Getting there: From Skye Bridge, A87 north to Sligachan. Left on A863 (‘Dunvegan’). In 5 miles, left on B8009 (‘Glenbrittle, Carbost’). In 1.6 miles, sharp left at Merkadale for 8 miles (narrow road) to Glenbrittle.

Walk (OS Explorer 411): From car park area at end of road, continue along track. Pass to left of campsite toilet block (pitched corrugated roof); through kissing gate; up path. In a few metres fork left on path. In 600m ignore path that heads to right (421203) across small burn and waterfall; keep ahead uphill here. In ¾ mile ignore a left fork (434206), and another in 400m with a big cairn (438206), both these paths leading past Loch an Fhir-bhallaich; instead, keep ahead up main path. In another 200m path steepens beside Coire Lagan burn on your right, leading up a rocky ‘staircase’ to Loch Coire Lagan (444209). Return down same path; in ½ mile, near large boulder on right (438206), fork right at big cairn on path for 2 miles, passing Loch an Fhir-bhallaich (432208) and later Eas Mòr waterfall (420214) to descend to road at Glenbrittle House (412214). Left along road for ⅔ mile to car park.

Lunch: Picnic

Accommodation: Sligachan Hotel, IV47 8SW (01478-650204,


 Posted by at 02:41

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