11 May 2013 to 18 May 2013
The Isle of Skye is by far my favourite part of Scotland. Each part of the island has wonderful features very different from the next. There are stunning coastal paths, awesome rock formations and impressive mountain ranges all within a few miles of each other. There is no set itinerary on our trips as the weather and group preferences will dictate when to go high and when to do a lower level walk.
Our dates for 2013 are from Saturday 11th May to Saturday 18th May 2013. We'll head up on the Saturday aiming to do a pickup from Glasgow Central Station at round noon and Fort William Railway station at about 2pm.
We will be based for the week in the capital of the island, Portree at Seafield House.
From their website...
The five bedrooms ... have been specifically designed to match comfort with space. The bedrooms have quality beds and all the bed linen and towels are provided. Four of the bedrooms, a bathroom and a shower room are situated on the upper floor. The twin bedded room on the lower floor has a shower room adjacent.
Guests can relax in the sunny conservatory overlooking the large walled garden with a view to the Cuillin Hills.
Seafield has a well equipped modern kitchen with a casual eating area and is complete with a fridge, freezer, dishwasher and microwave. A separate utility area provides washing and drying facilities.
Being based in Portree means that we have easy access to a range of entertainments in the evening from otter watching on the fishing boats on the quay, to bagpipes in the town square and a variety of pubs.
What we'll get up to.
We plan to arrive in Skye around 6pm. After dinner we'll start looking over the maps and discussing our options for the following day. My personal highlights of this trip include.
The weird and wonderful Quiraing rock formations to the north of the island were formed as part of the massive series of land slips along the Trotternish Ridge, indeed the Quiraing is still moving.
There are a couple of routes that we can take going into this area, one a bit more challenging than the other. Not a good choice if the weather is terrible but great on a clear day like above and even better (in my opinion) if the cloud is low adding extra atmosphere as the formations go in and out of view as the cloud swirls around them. While this is a short walk it always takes all day with lots of little diversions (like the 'prison' and the 'table' below) to explore.
Corrie Lagan and the Cullins
The Black Cullins are famous with walkers and climbers throughout the UK. It offers the undisputed finest ridge walk in the British Isles. The Black Cullins are black due to them being made up (primarily) of a rock called gabbro, this rock is a joy to walk on as it is incredibly grippy. We can get right into the heart of the Cullins up to Corrie Lagan. From this corrie you can see (on a good day) the infamous Inaccessible pinnacle the only one of Scotland's Munroes that requires a graded rock climb to conquer. On the way we'll pass the Eas Mor waterfall (Pictured at the top of this page).
The walking in the Black Cuillin feels alpine in nature, with stunning views and good possibilities of spotting Golden Eagles.
If there is a call for it an adventurous group may return to the Black Cullins later in the week and attempt to summit one of the munros that makes up the ridge Bruach Na Frithe (958m). To get to the top you need to do a bit of scrambling so we wouldn't expect more than 2 or 3 to attempt it out of a normal group but, as we have two mountain leaders, the option is always there.
The day starts with a drive to Trumpan, the site of a particularly brutal massacre in 1578 as a part of a feud between the MacLeods and MacDonalds. There is then a short walk of about 6 km to the end of the point where a lighthouse stands. This is a great place for wildlife, last year we sat about for an hour or so watching Seals, Minke Whales, Oyster Catchers and loads of diving Gannets before heading back to the bus and driving home.
If some of our guests are up for it, next year, we'll split the group and leave one Mountain Leader and those who want to camp over night on the point where they can stay to watch the sun set over the Atlantic before cooking dinner on a fire on the beach. We'll supply light weight tents and other camping gear, please let us know in advance if this is something you may wish to do so we know how many tents and other items of equipment to bring.
Macleod's Tables stand alone (if 2 things can stand alone) in the North-West of Skye giving fine views over the rest of the island and off to the Outer Hebrides. According to legend Macleods tables got their shape when St. Columba, on his visit to a fort nearby, was very ill treated by the chief. The chief, being a hard man, denied St. Columba a place to rest his head for the night. The rocks - being more hospitable - crumbled and flattened so to host St. Columba as men were not able to do so.
If you're tired of going up and down all day there is an option of a coastal walk to see Macleod's Maidens. Legend has it that Macleod's Maidens, three sea stacks lying to the south of Idrigill Point on Skye, are named after the wife and daughters of one of the Macleod chiefs. The chief had been wounded in a battle on the island of Harris and his family were returning to Dunvegan Castle when their boat was wrecked in a storm and they were drowned. The tallest of the stacks, the 'mother', is between 220-250 feet high and the smallest is around 100 feet.