Swimming Over The Cuillin
After a previous day of awkward rope-work on the Cuillin Ridge, myself and Tom awoke at Glen Brittle campsite to a beautifully clear blue May sky. We soon decided that our focus for this fine day would be water rather than rock.
Our first water feature was a dip in the sea at Loch Brittle, a dip we decided to place in the realms of the “bastard cold” temperature range; after the coldest winter since circa 1534 the sea was indeed taking a long time to warm up. We followed the track/road up to the river that would lead us to the magic of the fairey pools. We enjoyed much plunging, diving and head-freeze in the pools and then basked in the finest sunshine that Skye can offer.
Energised by the cool water and warm sunshine we pulled the map out and began plotting an ambitious route over the Cuillin, with our final water feature being Loch Coruisk. By our reckoning we had just enough cereal bars to get us there and then back to the pub near The Sligachan Hotel without the need for an epic - particularly as there was not even a hint of a cloud in sight.
As we followed the river upwards we discovered many great spots for water fun - you could spend the whole day enjoying this river. However we were focused on getting over the ridge, down to Coruisk and out so we had to limit our breaks.
As you can see from the Google map that I retrospectively plotted the route is around 17 miles and is not for the faint-hearted.
We climbed up steep, un-even ground over the Cuillin ridge (running south-west of Am Bastier). Once over this ridge we were faced with a more than tricky downward south-east traverse over scree and boulders which eventually brought us to the ridge that runs parallel to the main Cuillin Ridge displaying Inaccessible Pinnacle in all its glory.
Another tricky descent brought us to a much needed soak in Loch Coruisk. We found a nice shallow area which had been warmed by the sunshine all day, it must have been at least 12 degrees Celsius - toastie compared to Loch Brittle.
Loch Coruisk was a fine arena for swimming with the majestic Cuillins peering down as you swam. It felt like the definition of remote, we both thought what a great spot this would be for wild camping.
Alas we faced a walk out that would bring us to the Sligachan Hotel just after they had stopped serving food. Guinness, nuts and some homemade shortbread sufficed. Exhuasted we broke with tradition and took a taxi back to Glenbrittle campsite to collapse.
You could make this route a two-dayer with a wild camp at Loch Coruisk, allowing more time for fun and exploration.
This route is remote, at times exposed, and involves some difficult moving over steep ground, scree and boulders.
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