Sadly another wet day on Skye – The Fairy Pools a “honey pot” and Bruach Na Frithe in the wet and misty wander.

Skye Day 2 – I was staying at the fantastic BMC hut in Glenbrittle in Skye with the Moray Mountaineering Club. I had already had a short day previous on Sgurr Na Bannadich before the weather broke. I had an early night after my early start and a broken sleep as the others arrived late to the hut and some stayed up late. I was away early just after 0800 and the weather was not great the forecast was windy on the tops low cloud and rain.The hut is right among the hills and the rain was pouring down and the mist was heavy down to about 1000 feet when I left. It was not a day I would have chosen to be on the hills but I was in the heart of the Culllins and I needed some time on the hills.  My plan was another Munro and Bruach Na Frithe and there was no one up so I left on my own. This suits me as I had a busy two weeks travelling and lots going on in my head so the wind and rain would sort it out.

I had decided to walk in from the famous Fairy Pools car park a few minutes from our hut and as it was early there was only one other car there at 0815. The Fairy Pools are a honey pot nowadays and on the infamous bucket lists of most folk. I wanted to see at first hand the impact of so many visitors, this had been a regular way in and out off the hill for many in the past. It is a lovely place but I never imagined the change due to the popularity and media int rests. Popularity has its problems and this place as you will see later is extremely busy with so many coming to see these now famous pools. Yet Skye has so many other wonderful places so many hidden pools and Glens to visit but this is the most popular.  The parking is crazy the small forestry car park  with no toilets cannot cope so the single track road to Glenbrittle is now very busy.

Sadly later on the cars on my way home were parked along the tight single track road making this road fairly hazardous. It was still quite early and I met two girls walking in they left at 0600 as they had heard how mad it can be here. They were from Australia and we had a chat in the rain, they loved the mist and the colours of the bracken, things we take for granted.  On the path the erosion and mud was terrible especially by the river, where many take their photos from. The many thousands of feet have done so much damage and the peat is fragile and near the path a mud bath and needs so much tender loving care. What a mess it is in.I was not hanging about and followed the river up into the Corrie past the signs telling me I was entering a wild environment.

The river was my companion it was noisy and the ground soaking and boggy and it was head down in the rain that along with the mist was constant.The path was hard going higher up the rain, mist and slippy rocks meant I had to take it easy. The path also a bit battered higher up due to the heavy rain and footfall. I was soon up on the Corrie and into the wind it got colder and then onto the main ridge. The visibility by now was awful even worse wearing specs  the rain made the task harder. I had all my gear on yet everything was soaking after 2 hours walking and the last bit to the summit on the main ridge a bit sporting. I did not stop for a break it was freezing, my camera stopped working as the rain got everywhere. From the top I just turned round and fled of the hill. I had seen no one and the hills were not feeling friendly. My hands were cold and my gloves soaked time for the winter gloves.

On the way up a wet wander the river was battering down there was no one else about away from the Fairy Pools.

There was no break on the summit, no photos and no one to look after just get down in one piece. I found it hard going, there was little visibility and the route down hard to follow. I took care as you have to when on your own. It took a while to get down of the rocks back onto the main ridge and the slippy scree and back to the river and the easier ground. I was soon back at the Fairy Pools in among the crowd many with posh trainers in the mud?  Despite the weather it was as a local said “Like Lourdes” a constant stream of folk heading to these now World famous  Fairy Pools. To me it is  strange to see so many folk in a place that used to be very normal and now they are so special?  Many times in the past I have cooled of in the Pools when this was a place few knew about!

A muddy mess

This place will need so much work done if it is to continue in its popularity ! What can be done but there are so many bus tours visiting maybe there should be an “environmental tax” to help sort it out. Am I being elitist or not seeing things from the tourist view? All comments are welcome.

I was soon back at the crowded car park , there were so many mini buses and tours packed in all making a living and I wonder if they give anything back to the local area. The cars and people were everywhere the rain teeming down. I decide not to linger and then headed back to the hut and straight into a warm shower as I was freezing . A change of clothes some tea and then ate my lunch that I was supposed to have on the hill. I was the first away and the first back it had been a short but strange day?  There rest headed back few had been on the high peaks many happy with a walk round into the corries or the lower hills.

The  Fairy Pools in Skye parking over-spilling onto the single track road on a wet miserable day ” but still they come”

After getting sorted I was heading home after a Meeting with the Skye Sculpture Group at Sconsor it would be a late night and I headed home. The hills were still mist covered and I got few views until the Sligachan.

A wet wander , some time to think and some wet wild hills.



About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Books, Bothies, Friends, Gear, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Sadly another wet day on Skye – The Fairy Pools a “honey pot” and Bruach Na Frithe in the wet and misty wander.

  1. finniedog says:

    It is so sad that not only the Fairy Pools but all the other honeypots on Skye are being trashed. I don’t know what the answer is and arguments about it go on forever. They must be disappointed when they actually get there too, how can you enjoy the place as it is now. We used to love it and frequently swam in the pools 20 years back. It’s lost it’s magic too as if broken by those very hoards.

    Liked by 1 person

      • finniedog says:

        Progress would be very good but everyone seems to have a different opinion as to which direction.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So true they need some direction!

        Liked by 1 person

      • finniedog says:

        The trouble is none of us know what will work and be good for the island longterm, we need help from areas that have addressed this problem successfully to see what solutions will work here. There was never enough accommodation over 20 years ago and now there is way more but still not enough, same with the restaurants, where do you stop! The Fairy pools car park has been increased 3 times in the last 20 years but look how inadequate it is now. Just increasing capacity isn’t the right way I don’t think. I feel so sorry for all the folk that have come here this year and not enjoyed it, say they won’t come back or if they do it will be out of season. They save up hard for their holidays and we owe them a better experience. Marketing could be improved, a lot come here and ask what there is to do? where is Ladbrokes, Marks and Spencer? you hear them on their phones telling folk they are leaving because there is nothing to do. No easy answers and a lot of hard work needed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for that so many things that need done ! Do you live on Skye ?

        Thanks again!


      • finniedog says:

        Yes I have lived here for over 22 years 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for that your comments are greatly appreciated especially
        As a local.



      • finniedog says:

        Sorry I don’t mean to hide I have been with wordpress for many years and it’s just the name it set me up with from my e mail back then!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Eleanor Billson says:

    So sad. I have visited Skye since late 60s to see family and have watched the steady growth of tourists particular since the bridge was built. Locals fought to have the tolls removed as they wanted to enable tourists to see the beauty of the island. These locals are now trying to raise funds to maintain paths and put in toilets etc. Perhaps tourists who visit should understand this and generously donate to allow future to generations the ability to enjoy before we all ruin another beautiful place.

    Liked by 2 people

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