Walk: Beinn na Caillich - Saucy Mary's vista

Skye | Red Cuillin | Full day walk | ★★★★

[Most of the circuit, seen from the descent from Beinn Dearg Bheag]

Who says Skye is full up with tourists? Head to the hills and it's still easy to escape the crowds - we had this wonderful horseshoe all to ourselves on a sunny August bank holiday weekend! Beinn na Caillich (Hill of the Old Woman), Beinn Dearg Mhòr (Big Red Hill) and Beinn Dearg Bheag (Little Red Hill) are the trio of scree-topped domes immediately west of Broadford - and the easternmost group within the underrated Red Cuillin. Climbed as a horseshoe route around Coire Gorm they make up a route with all the typical characteristics of this hill range: short in distance but bursting with character, airy ridges, boulders, scree and a particularly punishing initial ascent. Saucy Mary - a Norwegian Princess who once inhabited Caisteal Maol at Kyleakin - is reputedly buried at the top of the highest summit, allowing her eternal views towards her land of birth.

[Black Cuillin from Beinn Dearg Mhòr]

📌 Walk: Beinn na Caillich - Saucy Mary's vista ★★★★
▶ 8 km / 5 miles | ▲ 980 metres
Summits: Beinn na Caillich (732 metres, Graham); Beinn Dearg Mhòr (709 metres, Graham); Beinn Dearg Bheag (582 metres)
Start / finish: Car park at minor road end a mile west of Broadford, G.R.: NG 619228 ///wheat.complain.proves

Route: Car park - Beinn na Caillich - Beinn Dearg Mhòr - Beinn Dearg Bheag - cross Allt Beinn Deirge at foot of east ridge - start
Terrain: Very faint path just at first, then tiring rocks and heather followed by steep boulderfield to ascend Beinn an Caillich. Generally good going on short grass or faint paths for ridges between hills; descent from Beinn Dearg Mhòr is on a very steep scree path. Awkward, pathless return across moorland from the Allt Beinn Deirge. Hands generally not required anywhere on the circuit.
Wildlife today: Rabbits at the car park, cows on lower slopes of Beinn na Caillich. Sheep on Beinn Dearg Mhòr; hairy caterpillars.
Weather today: Warm (20°C at finish) and mostly sunny, shower clouds building but staying dry. Light winds except for a curious invisible "tornado" of very strong wind on Beinn Dearg Bheag, uprooting plant debris - fascinating to witness.

[Looking back at the scree run off Beinn Dearg Mhòr]

Route map


Route credit: Walkhighlands

Chronological photo guide

[Early views of Beinn na Caillich's pathless slopes]

[Ascent of Beinn na Caillich]

[Broadford Bay from Beinn na Caillich's lower slopes]

[Coire Fearchair]

[Beinn na Caillich summit cairn, Scalpay beyond]

[Beinn Dearg Mhòr (right) & Beinn Dearg Bheag (left)]

[Red Hills]

[Beinn Dearg Mhòr, Black Cuillin beyond]

[Beinn Dearg Mhòr]

[Beinn Dearg Beag]

[View back to Beinn na Caillich]

[Red Hills from Beinn Dearg Mhòr]

[Black Cuillin from Beinn Dearg Mhòr]

[Start of the scree run off Beinn Dearg Mhòr towards Beinn Dearg Bheag]

[Coire Sgreamhach from the bealach between the Beinn Deargs]

[Beinn na Caillich & Broadford]

[Looking back at the scree descent off Beinn Dearg Mhòr]

[Beinn Dearg Bheag summit cairn; Isle of Eigg beyond the bay]

[Beinn Dearg Bheag east ridge]

[Coire Gorm]

[Wildlife on the east ridge]

[Beinn na Caillich from the descent]

[Looking southeast towards Beinn Shuardail (centre)]

[Most of the horseshoe can be seen from the descent]

[Allt Beinn Deirge]

[Last section to the car park]

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