Wilderness Walking - The Isle of Skye
Explore the spectacular and varied landscapes on the Isle of Skye – the jewel of Scotland’s island crown and enjoy some of the best hiking in Scotland, if not the world.
Learn of the myths and legends, passed down through generations, that make this place so magical and mysterious.
From gentle bays to wave-ravaged peninsulas, elegant glens to tortuous rock formations, Skye delights and surprises at every turn. With excellent accommodation and wonderful food, this trip takes you away from the crowds and well-known routes, allowing you to discover some wonderful hikes that get under the skin of Scotland’s most famous island.Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 – Inverness to the Isle of Skye
This morning we meet in Inverness, and drive west via Loch Ness and the spectacular mountains of Kintail before arriving on Skye. We’ll pass by Glen Sligachan where Wilderness Scotland travellers have contributed to path repair through our Conservation Contribution Scheme, so a stop here is well worth it for a short stroll to enjoy the spectacular views of the hills and to hear about how ecotourism helps benefit the local landscape.
We’ll then continue on to Portree, the capital of Skye, and here we can enjoy a short hike around a headland overlooking Portree Bay. This short trail offers beautiful views and is on a defined track but is rough and stony along the shoreline. We then turn inland with an ascent of about 100m/300ft which is steep for a short section – a good warm-up for the legs! Afterwards, a 20 min transfer takes us to our accommodation to settle in and enjoy our welcome dinner. (L, D)
Walk details: 3km/ 2 miles | approx. 2 hrs | 160m/525ft ascentDay 2 – Waternish Point
Today’s walk is exactly the kind we love. Spectacular sea views, great walking and fascinating history. To cap it all, this part of the island is almost unknown to most tourists, meaning we can enjoy Skye’s beauty at its peaceful best.
Starting from a ruined church, we will hike out to a remote headland crowned with a lighthouse, overlooking the Minch with views of the Outer Hebrides. This is a great place to spot whales and dolphins on a calm day, as well as enjoying the dramatic sea cliffs which line the peninsula and the distant Dunvegan Head. The route follows a track for part of the way before we take to the heathery and grassy moorland, cropped by sheep. On the way, we pass the ancient ruins of one of the best-preserved brochs on Skye. From the headland, we enjoy wonderful sea views before returning along the same route, and as you walk your guide will bring the place alive with stories of the Faeries and the great rivalry between Skye’s MacDonald and MacLeod clans. The terrain is undulating with most of the ascent on the return leg as we climb gradually back up from the headland. (B, L)
Walk details: 13km/ 8 miles | approx. 5 hrs | 390m/1275ft ascentDay 3 – Hiking the Trotternish Peninsula
After enjoying breakfast, we drive up a steep road that takes us to The Quiraing (pronounced as ‘kwirrang’). This is one of Skye’s most famous landscapes – a testament to the island’s unique geology – and the start point will be busy, but we will soon leave the crowds behind. Depending on the weather and the desires of the group there are several route options for this hike that vary the length and amount of ascent, so the guide will discuss this the night before with the group to decide which is best. This is one of the more challenging days on this itinerary as the path has some steep bits and short tricky sections with a little exposure, but your guide will see you safely through these and the rewards are ample. We’ll pass by the spire-like rock formations of The Needle and The Prison, marvelling at the fantastical shapes, and all the time admiring sweeping views across the Sound of Raasay to Torridon and Wester Ross. (B, L)
Walk details: 8km/ 5 miles | approx. 4 hrs | up to 390m/1280ft ascentDay 4 – Exploring Raasay
Today we will be transferred to our second hotel in the south of Skye, but first, we have another island to explore! From Sconser we board the small ferry to the Isle of Raasay where we will walk today. Raasay is an often overlooked gem, and much quieter than Skye. Yet the island has much going for it, including the quality of its scenery and hiking, and has a fascinating history all of its own to enjoy. There are several excellent hikes that we can choose from, hiking up to 10km. The terrain on Raasay is mostly good paths but has steep sections and can be rough in places. After returning to Skye we’ll continue on to our next accommodation and get settled in. (B, L)
Walk details: 10km/ 6 miles | approx. 5hrsDay 5 – Wild Loch Coruisk and the Cuillin mountains
The wild and jagged peaks of the Black Cuillin are a real highlight of a visit to Skye. While the summits are accessible only through challenging scrambles, their beauty is easy to appreciate from a secretive loch hidden away in the depths of the mountain.
Today we’ll take a boat trip to the remote southern edge of the Cuillin from the tiny coastal village of Elgol. As we drift quietly into Loch Scavaig, it’s a wonderful opportunity to look for the seal colonies that occupy the skerries just offshore and to start soaking up the atmosphere of this place. After being dropped off in this lonely and wild spot, we’ll aim to circumnavigate Loch Coruisk – ‘The Cauldron of the Waters.’ This might well be Scotland’s most dramatic loch, with dark sharp summits rising straight from the shoreline above the deep grey waters. Although there is not much ascent on this hike the terrain is wild and quite rough, with stony and boggy terrain. To circumnavigate the loch completely we’ll also need to cross a couple of rivers with care on stepping stones, so in rainy conditions, a there-and-back walk may be planned instead. A memorable and spectacular place to be, wherever you walk. (B, L)
Walk details: 7km/ 4 miles | approx. 4hrs | 122m/400ft ascentDay 6 – The Clearance Villages
Today’s walk delves into a beautiful coastline, yet one that is poignant with the remains of one of the darkest times in Scottish history – the Highland Clearances. On this coastal circuit, we’ll pass through the sites of two villages that were abandoned during the Clearances, and your guide will tell you of this sad but crucial time in Highland history, and of Skye’s significant place in how events unfolded. The peaceful landscape of today contrasts with the harsh emotions felt at the time of the evictions. This walk is slightly longer than others on this trip, but worth that bit of extra effort!
We’ll head along the coast on a good track for several miles before it runs out near the first abandoned village. After looking around the mossy walls of the houses we’ll follow the rugged shore beneath steep cliffs on a surprisingly good path (from the days this area was populated and this was an important route) but it is rough and bouldery in places where the track has worn away. This is a good place to look out for coastal wildlife such as otters. We then ascend away from the coast with a long gradual ascent which has most of the ascent for the day. (B, L, D)
Walk details: 13km/ 8 miles | approx. 6hrs | 350m/984ft ascentDay 7 – Glenelg then return to Inverness
Leaving our accommodation, we depart Skye via the unique community-owned ‘turntable ferry.’ Such vessels were once common in the Highlands but this is the last one! Arriving in Glenelg, a remote village on the mainland, we hike down
to the coast to see the site of the house where the famous author Gavin Maxwell lived when he wrote ‘Ring of Bright Water’. We visit the well-preserved Brochs – Iron Age dwellings – in Glenelg before making our way east via the spectacular Mam Ratagan Pass back to Inverness. (B, L)
Walk details: 3km/ 2 miles | approx. 2 hrs
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April — September
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Wilderness Scotland is an award-winning adventure travel and ecotourism company. We specialise in offering an inspiring range of guided, self-guided and customised adventure holidays in the most remote and beautiful regions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
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