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Eastern Red Hills


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It is easy to overlook the fact that Skye has many fine hills outwith the Black Cuillin. Not only that, many provide outstanding views of that classic ridge, perhaps as a whet to your appetite, perhaps as an easier day when you can look back at past accomplishments.

One such walk takes in three hills, lying in a tight-knit group between Broadford and Loch Slapin and, as the name suggests, to the east of the main Skye ridge. Choose a day with clear views and you will be doubly rewarded. The ascents appear steep but will be found to be much more reasonable.

Start from the A881 road south of Broadford, where a path goes north to Coire-chat-achan (coire of the wild cats). There are three hills, of which Beinn na Caillich is the highest at 732m. The photo is taken from Loch Slapin and shows the other two hills, Beinn Dearg Mhor and Bheag, with Beinn na Caillich hidden behind.

From the ruins at Coire-chat-achan take the slopes WNW leading to the east shoulder of Beinn na Caillich (601 233, 732m). Its name means the old woman, and when, after the bouldery finish leads to the grassy summit, you may be tempted to imagine the past, as a Norwegian princess is supposed to be buried under the giant cairn.

Leaving the sleeping princess, continue west round the north of Coire Gorm, dropping to a bealach then up to another large cairn on the summit of Beinn Dearg Mhor (big red hill, 709m, 588 228). From here also, there are fine views, in this case of Blaven.

Scree slopes now lead SSE down to the Bealach Coire Sgreamhach, with a gently curving ridge leading up to the prominent cairn of the third hill of the walk, Beinn Dearg Bheag (little red hill, 584m, 593 219). The descent goes SSE at first then east, leading down to the Allt Beinn Deirge. Follow this back to Coire-chat-achan and the path back to the road.

 

Maps: OS Sheet 32 'South Skye & Cuillin Hills'
Distance: 10 km
Ascent: 975 m
Time: 3.5 hours
Food & Drink: Broadford has hotels, an information centre, and several cultural points to visit. It was in 1772 that Thomas Pennant climbed Beinn na Caillich, the first time any peak in Skye had received an ascent.

 

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