Glenbrittle, Coire Lagan, Cuillin Foothills, Loch an Fhir-bhallaich and Eas Mor Waterfall

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Start: Glenbrittle Camp Site Distance: 5.3 miles (8.5 km) Climbing: 582 metres
Grid Ref: NG409206 Time: 2-3 hours Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File About the Cuillin
Start: Glenbrittle Camp Site Distance: 5.3 miles (8.5 km)
Grid Ref: NG409206 Time: 2-3 hours
Climbing: 582 metres Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

Summary: This walk is hard in the first part as it begins with a demanding climb of over 550 metres but it is well worth the effort to reach Coire Lagan lochan in one of the most spectacular Cuillin corries. Once here take stock and enjoy the tranquility of the place while peering up at the awesome rock face of the Black Cuillin Mountains. Then afterwards enjoy a lovely walk down to Glenbrittle via Eas Mor, a spectacular waterfall. Awesome walking.

The Walk:

The Black CuillinsThe Black Cuillins
Loch BrittleLoch Brittle

I had planned two walks during two days on the Isle of Skye during our Scotland Holiday 2008. First was the Quiraing and I did that in the company of my wife Lil on the first day. The second was an introduction to the Cuillin Hills by walking from Glenbrittle to Coire Lagan and because we were so lucky with the weather I did it, again in the company of Lil on the second day. We started off by driving from Portree to Glenbrittle and by stopping several times to take pictures or just soak in the views of the magnificent Red Cuillins and Black Cuillins. It was to be Black Cuillins that we were to walk among. When we arrived I reassured Lil she would be fine (after all she had walked the Quiraing yesterday and was not a regular walker). for all my assurances I was to get some stick along the way!

Beautiful Scenery on the approach walkBeautiful Scenery on the approach walk
Getting closerGetting closer

We set off from the camp site at Glenbrittle and started the climb from Loch Brittle steadily. Other walkers passed us at intervals and some passed appropriate courtesy to keep Lil motivated. Just as well for one the climb from Glenbrittle to Coire Lagan is a continuous climb with no respite. It can be demoralising when you focus on one high spot ahead only to reach it and find another identical high spot to attain. I did my best to keep Lil just behind me, not too far to devastate. At one juncture she exclaimed "This walk is a pointless exercise!" I think she was feeling it. Eventually though by putting one foot in front of the other we reached Loch an Fhir-bhallaich which gave her (and indeed I) a spur in which we knew we were more than half way to Coire Lagan and just over half the altitude gained too.

View to Rum, Canna, Eigg and Muck from SkyeView to Rum, Canna, Eigg and Muck from Skye
Waterfall on Allt Coire LaganWaterfall on Allt Coire Lagan

Once past the Loch the ground below changed from lush grass to a boulder field. It reminded me of Gingilos in Crete with its haphazard chaotic arrangement of boulders strewn about. I always sense a feeling of beauty and awe in these harsh places and so I journeyed on and up while in rapture and by looking out to sea to view the Isles of Rum, Muck, Eigg and Canna that were now appearing clearly as ground was gained. I also kept stopping to take breath for the continuous climbing was demanding and also to wait for the wife. Always a good idea.

Great Stone Chute of the Black CuillinsGreat Stone Chute of the Black Cuillins
Lil celebrates her 500 metre climbLil celebrates her 500 metre climb

Eventually, and after a little minor scrambling we reached the waterfalls of Allt Coire Lagan. Now it was only a short push to the lochan and I rushed on to get there and rest. Lil struggled on valiantly and at one stage laid down on rocks to ease her back. I beckoned her to join me at the lochan and after a final surge she was with me. The photograph above right shows her pleasure at her achievement and I was well chuffed for her. The lochan was indeed an eerie place, an amphitheater that is closely surrounded by the daunting, sometimes vertical crags of the Black Cuillins. I could easily understand how this place attracts serious scramblers and climbers. These were real mountains. I peered up to them in awe while enjoying my Skippers lunch. Lil just rested.

Amazing viewAmazing view
Loch an Fhir-bhallaichLoch an Fhir-bhallaich

Soon it was time to head down and thankfully it was all downhill with no short sharp uphills to bother Lil. The sun was beaming down, the views were truly tremendous of mountains, hills, dales, sea, lochs, islands - what a magical mix. Lil stopped a couple of times to talk to fellow walkers. So did I, it was that type of day. After passing Loch an Fhir-bhallaich on our way down we enjoyed a short stretch in anticipation of the final highlight of the day. Eas Mor Waterfall was not to disappoint for it was in good form allowing crystal clear water from the high Black Cuillins to fall uninterrupted for 70 metres into a chasm below. I have not seen a waterfall with a more dramatic backdrop. Fantastic.

Eas Mor WaterfallEas Mor Waterfall
Looking back to the Cuillins from GlenbrittleLooking back to the Cuillins from Glenbrittle

After the spectacle of Eas Mor it was just a short walk down into Glenbrittle. Then we followed the road around back to the car on the camp site but not before Lil had again chatted with a couple, this pair visiting for the first time in 30 years since their courting days. A lovely place to woo a lady I thought. This walk had certainly got me, and after the early tribulations it struck Lil too. A superb Isle of Skye walk and one that will remain in my memory.

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