This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (August 2009)
Glen Brittle (Gleann Breadail in Scottish Gaelic) is a large glen in the south of the Isle of Skye, in Scotland. It runs roughly south to north, along the River Brittle, which has its mouth at Loch Brittle (a sea loch). The glen is also overlooked from the east by the formidable Cuillin, the largest mountains on Skye. Many tributaries of the Brittle run down from these mountains into the glen, including a stream with waterfalls known as the Fairy Pools, a popular place to go for a walk. Because of its location by the peaks, the area is popular with hikers and mountain bikers. The name is probably derived from old Norse Bred Dal ("broad valley") with the Gaelic glean ("valley") being prefixed later.
A single road and power line run through the glen on the east side of the river. On the slopes on the west side there are large sections of forest maintained by the Forestry Commission. In terms of settlement there are two scattered hamlets in the south of the glen - Glenbrittle and Bualintur. The most popular choice of accommodation is Glenbrittle Campsite and the SYHA's 1930s youth hostel by the Allt a' Choire Ghreadaidh (a Brittle tributary) just north of Glenbrittle hamlet. This is an ideal starting point for walks up to the Cuillin hills. The sandy beach at the southernmost point of the glen is the most popular attraction. It is adjacent to the campsite, where there is also a grocery shop, and campers often visit the beach and swim in the loch.
Wildlife enthusiasts also enjoy the glen, as it is home to many interesting animals and plants. In the northern woods and fields red deer can be seen. Sheep and meadow pipits graze pretty much everywhere, whilst there are also large flocks of herring gulls and hooded crows about, as well as a pair of ravens by the hostel. Rabbits and swallows tend to be restricted to the farmland in the south. Again, the beach is the star attraction for wildlife. Turnstones, ringed plovers, grey herons, dunlins, curlews and most of all oystercatchers all hang around probing in the mud for food. One of the less pleasant species to populate the beach at dusk is the highland midge.
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