The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - CAMERON McNEISH

Lo­ca­tion: Skye Map: OS Lan­dranger 32 Dis­tance: 5 miles (8km) Time: 2-3 hours Grade: Mod­er­ate moor­land walk NO visit to the Isle of Skye is com­plete with­out a visit to the Fairy Pools and a wan­der into Coire na Cre­iche. At this time of the year the main peaks of the Cuillin are prob­a­bly still en­cased in snow and ice so if you want a more leisurely stroll, with the feel­ing that the big hills are only an arm’s length away, then try this route. The near­est vil­lage to the Fairy Pools is Car­bost in the west of Skye and the start of the walk is from a For­est En­ter­prise car park on the road to Glen Brit­tle.

We ar­rived on a lovely day when we were hope­ful that win­ter was at last eas­ing its way into spring. The high tops of the nearby Cuillin were still snow­bound but to­day it was the se­ries of sparkling, crys­tal-clear pools which form part of the Allt Coire a’Mhadaidh that took our at­ten­tion.

This stream falls down from the high cor­rie, gath­er­ing a num­ber of lesser trib­u­taries be­fore tum­bling over a se­ries of rocky shelves and ledges to form a mag­nif­i­cent se­ries of gush­ing wa­ter­falls and deep translu­cent green pools – ideal for skinny-dip­ping, but not to­day. It was far too cold for bar­ing all.

We spent a good bit of time wan­der­ing from pool to pool, ad­mir­ing the con­trast be­tween the red rock and green wa­ter and pho­tograph­ing some of the mag­nif­i­cent or­na­men­ta­tion that had been formed by ice.

Be­yond the top pool we were tempted to just re­turn the way we had come but ahead of us, draw­ing us higher, was a mag­nif­i­cent ar­ray of Cuillin peaks clus­tered around the head of Coire na Cre­iche – Sgurr Thuilm, Sgurr a’ Mhadaidh, Bidein Druim nan Ramh and Bru­ach na Frithe.

The foot­path con­tin­ued be­yond the pools so we just fol­lowed it, climb­ing higher into the cor­rie be­fore meet­ing an­other path that veered north to­wards the Bealach a’ Mhaim. I knew from past vis­its that a good path ran through the bealach and de­scended moor­land back to the Glen Brit­tle road.

These two foot­paths turned a lovely ex­plo­ration of the Fairy Pools into a ter­rific half-day ex­plo­ration of this corner of the Cuillin. The hills be­hind be­came more im­pres­sive as we walked away from them and the de­scent back to the car park gave great views across to Macleod’s Tables and down into Glen Brit­tle it­self.

Route: Start and fin­ish at the For­est En­ter­prise car park, Glen Brit­tle (GR: NG424258). From the car park cross the road and fol­low the path down to the stream. Con­tinue in an E di­rec­tion fol­low­ing the line of the stream and soon, the pools and wa­ter­falls. As the path climbs higher it be­comes rougher but fol­low it be­yond the last of the pools un­til you reach a stony slope. Look out for an­other path run­ning N and fol­low it all the way to the Bealach a’ Mhaim. Once you reach the path that runs through the bealach from Sli­gachan, turn left on to it and fol­low it down­hill, past some forestry, all the way back to the start.

The walk to the Fairy Pools brings you close to the Cuillin with­out risk­ing the dan­gers as­so­ci­ated with climb­ing them in colder months

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