Other areas on the Isle of Skye

Date: 23-Sept-2011 to 03-Oct-2011

Map: Landranger 23 & 32

Weather: Various but predominantly wet!

 

A circular walk from the car park at the end of Loch Leathan, up through the woods to the Old Man. Ascending past Needle rock beneath the Storr to the escarpment. Then turn around to retrace steps : 3 miles – as measured by the Satmap.

I need a holiday was the shout from me – so we decided to chance our arm with the weather and plumped for a week or so in Skye. I’d seen lots of pictures from this wonderful Isle and was looking forward to visiting it. Unfortunately the weather turned out to be a little inclement, but that didn’t spoil the trip. I was a bit surprised when I tried booking accommodation online, as many places were already booked up. This was probably due to properties closing after the summer season, with the remainder booked up as a consequence, leaving me with a limited choice. This actually turned out to be a blessing really, we saw much more of the island, and ended up staying in 5 different places over nine nights. Each choice had it’s own charm and we were lucky that we enjoyed all of them.

It’s 400 plus miles from Manchester to Skye, a long drive via Stirling and Callander, but enjoyable – to make it less of a chore we stopped overnight at the Lime Tree in FortWilliam. I’ve stayed here before when completing the West Highland Way in 2008, and it’s really comfortable with good food in the restaurant. I’ve always found Fort William a little bleak and the wet weather didn’t help. After a decent breakfast we took the road to Mallaig to catch the 10:45 ferry over to Armadale, taking a detour around the coastal route closer to Mallaig. It’s a lovely change to get away from masses of traffic and makes for a much more relaxing drive – a theme of the following week.

The ferry across to Skye  takes around 30 minutes and the crossing was not too rough. We were also first on and first off so we had a clear road ahead, not that we were in a hurry mind you. Our first two nights were in Broadford, so after dumping our bags we set off along the road to Elgol for a look at the ‘finest view in Britain’. The weather was changeable with low cloud and showers rushing through, as we stopped at the church ruins of Suardal, with fine views over to the Red Cuillens. The road to Elgol from Broadford has many places to stop and ponder, with plenty of historical interest, and good photo opportunities.

We had a short 5 mile walk to Suisnish, one of the many highland clearance settlements, from the beach at Camas Malag, and this was mostly along a good track. It was a little boggy inplaces and there are still traces of peat cutting here and there – fresh turf for the coming winter. It rained quite a bit and we could see it coming along up Loch Slapin, obscuring the views over to Bla Bheinn, the other side of the loch. But despite the wet it was a pleasure to have a walk, and we ducked out of the worst showers into an old tin roofed croft. The interior was a little gloomy, and the dead sheep for company not great, but it kept us dry.

We made a dash back along the same route to get back to the car and have some lunch before journeying on to Elgol.  At Elgol, the best view was a little obscured by cloud topping the Cuillens, but cleared a little before we headed back along the road to Broadford. Not a bad start to the week.


Mallaig harbour - plenty of fishing smacks tied up due to the weather


not too rough on the journey over to Armadale

leaving a very cloudy Glen Shiel behind


a nice coastal road on the way to Armadale

just out of the port looking over to Sleat

coming in to dock at Armadale

the church ruins at Suardal

the Red Cuillens are up to the right

the track around from the beach at Camas Malag, with the Black Cuiullens beyond

looking down Loch Slapin to the south west

the path ambles along the coast, never too steep


a good track to follow

fresh peat cutting on the lower slopes



the luxury interior of the old croft

afforded us some shelter from the rain

back at Camas Malag was wet..

looking across Loch Slapin from the Elgol road towards the Suisnish walk from left to right and back again

the Red Cuillens -  Beinn Dearg Mhor and Beinn Dearg Bearg

 

The next few days after the Suisnish walk were a bit of a wash out, the occasional bright spots amongst the general ‘dreich’. A grand tour took us up to Staffin to search for the dinosuar print, followed by a visit to the delightful ‘Small and Cosy Tea House’ at Digg. The apple and cinnamon cake with earl grey tea was sublime, all served up by the lovely owner Petra – a great spot for a rainy day. We stopped to gawp at the Kilt Rock and waterfall tumbling over the high cliffs, and then drove back down through the rain to Broadford. At the head of Loch Ainort we were astounded to see the waterfalls in full spate, with a thundering rush of water – see the photograph from later in the week to compare!! – very frightening to see close up. After checking out of Broadford we had another drive along the Elgol road, hoping the coast was clear – and what an inspired choice that was. I ended up with some superb pictures, and one that will be stuck on the wall for many years to come. Once I’d canned some extra shots at Elgol (testing out some new graduated filters for my camera) we took leisurely tour up the west coast of Skye once we had driven beyond Sligachan. The view back to the Black Cuillens was superb, and the sun did try to come out now and again.


a burial cairn at Suardal backed by the Red Cuillens

looking across to Bla Bheinn from Loch Cill Chriosd on the Elgol road

showers cross Bla Bheinn and Loch Slapin


I took a few pictures as quick as I could

this being the best - probably of the whole trip

the Black Cuillens from Elgol beach

 
I took plenty of these and realised I need a spirit level for my camera


a great mix of weather


I was experimenting with filters as well

zooming in on Sgurr na Stri



inshore boats on Loch Slapin

Bla Bheinn - I didn't get a chance to go up here


a zoomed in shot to one of the stone chutes

gone are the rainbows - Bla Bheinn across Loch Slapin


one of the Highland Cows along the Elgol road - they're quite docile really

but I wouldn't fancy being on the end of one of those

cobbles on Elgol beach


the view out to the islands of Rum and beyond


plenty of intersting outcrops along the beach - honeycomb weathering on this cliff


some of the coast is easy to walk along


and some is a little slippery at times

trying out my camera filters for the first time

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 I think this was the right combination, but can't remember which one it was

Our next port of call was to stop off at the B&B in Glendale before trotting off to have a look at Neist Point. We stayed a couple of nights at ‘Carters Rest‘ in the self catering portion, and again it was delightful. We did miss out on the Northern Lights one night, but I’d had a glass or two of vino so wasn’t in a fit state of mind. One of the neighbours did capture it with a long exposure shot, so that’s another excuse for me to revisit Skye next year.

The day after Neist Point was really ‘dreich’ and we spent all day wandering around in the car. I had a 2 mile walk in the rain to visit the ‘Coral Beach’ – made up of crushed shells and resembling a ‘coral beach’ from afar. I must return in the sunshine to enjoy it’s ambiance in a better light!!


looking back to the Pinnacle Ridge of Sgurr na Gillean from the Dunvegan road

Macleod's Tables from near to Dunvegan

Waterstein Head from the path down to Neist Point


some impressive cliffs of lava

Neist Point lighthouse

some 'Runrigs' above the beach at An t Aigeach


the old winch and pulley wire to serve the Neist Point lighthouse

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the nearest to a sunset that I got up north


the soggy road to the Coral Beach

there it is in the distance - wind and rain at my back

point and shoot with the compact


it will be lovely on a clear sunny day

lots of broken shells and seaweed


a close up of the surface

nice and sandy though...well shelly anyway

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I think you can walk over to the island on the left when the tide is out


Kilt Rock beyond the waterfall at Loch Mealt


and the view the other way


searching for dinosaur footprints at Staffin beach

looking north to the Quirang from Staffin - Rubha Garbaig

the Quirang on a soggy day

old field patterns near to Uig

untethered nature - wow

 

very frightening close up

 

fairly noisy as well

 

compare this with the one below

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the normal flow a few days later

 

the partially exposed dinosaur footprint - there are 24 around here somewhere

I cleaned it up a little with seawater

the small and cosy teahouse at Digg

 

a lovely sunset down at Elgol

very peaceful when I took these

with the sky getting more colourful by the minute

the sun setting over Soay

night night

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cloud starting to pour over the Black Cuillens
 

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