Seeing and Doing - Trotternish and Beyond

A Journey Around Trotternish

Grave of Flora McDonald at Kilmuir Cemetery

For detailed coverage of the routes and walking trails in the Trotternish area, you can use Ordnance Survey Landranger map 23 (1:50,000) or the highly-detailed Explorer map 408 (1:25,000), both of which cover the entire Trotternish peninsula (the latter showing many of the available walking paths). Walks suitable for casual and experienced walkers are also available with downloadable GPX tracks for compatible GPS units at Walk Highlands.

What follows is a brief description of the Trotternish peninsula, travelling from the Quiraing westward, then on the main road in a clockwise direction. Naturally, not everything can be covered on this page, but this should give you a taste of what the area has to offer.

The Quiraing A road which spans the width of the Trotternish peninsula is accessible from the road just north of Uig, and ends just west of Staffin at Brogaig. A parking area is around two-thirds of the way toward the eastern end of this road, and The Quiraing is just under a mile north-east from here (you may need a handheld GPS unit or a map and compass to follow the trail), and is famous for its ancient rock formations such as the Prison (so called because from a certain angle it resembles an impenetrable fortress).

Totescore Totescore has a breathtaking view of Loch Snizort from the viewpoint (ample car parking is normally available here), with the Waternish Peninsula (the north-western part of the island) on the horizon. Also, for wildlife watchers, buzzards can occasionally be seen here.

Kilmuir Keep a look out for a sign on your left (and a road on your right) for the Museum of Island Life, which is a collection of traditional homes showing the lifestyle and traditions of the early Islanders. Travelling along this same short road (you can take your car, but walking may be easier - parking is awkward and limited), you'll come to Kilmuir Cemetery, the final resting place of Flora MacDonald, who famously helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape Skye to France as a washerwoman after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden. If you are travelling to Kilmuir later in the day, you can also be treated to some of the most spectacular sunset views that Skye has to offer.

The Storr. The Old Man is out of the frame, to the left.

Duntulm Duntulm is a popular place for walkers, particularly those travelling to the ruins of Duntulm Castle, so parking places may be limited. The ruins are unstable, but a fence marks a safe perimeter to allow you to see them without putting yourself in danger.

Kilt Rock South of Staffin, a short road off the main road leads to a parking area, from which you can walk to the view point for the Kilt Rock, so named because the formation resembles the pleats of a kilt. A viewpoint affords a glimpse of the rock to the left, and a waterfall can be also be seen nearby in this direction.

The Storr Situated close to the Southern end of the Trotternish Ridge and visible for miles before you actually come to the trail leading to it, the Old Man of Storr stands proudly over the landscape, backed by The Storr itself. Some other, smaller, needles can be seen, most of them being volcanic plugs exposed by the landslip that formed the ridge. A long trail leads through the forest and another leads around it, up to The Sanctuary, where you are able to see the Old Man up close, and take a rest before further exploring the needles or decending back down to the car parking area.

Of course, these are just a few of the things you can expect to see in Trotternish. Much of the scenery requires you to either drive or walk away from the main road, and the extra effort that you make in doing so is often well-rewarded.

Venturing Further

Portree Harbour

With so much to see and do, you may not want to limit yourself to just the Trotternish peninsula, and you may want to travel elsewhere. Skye is a small enough place that if you're travelling anywhere on the island, Uig can be a good base, but with ferries travelling to and from Tarbert and Lochmaddy it's an ideal base for trips to the Outer Hebrides.

Portree is the largest town, and the main shopping area in Skye. Here, you can browse amongst the shops if you need any provisions that our local shops in Uig are unable to supply. There are also a number of speciality shops for when you're looking for something specific.

If you came to Skye from the mainland, you'll have passed by the Cuillins, which is visible clearly from the mainland from as far as Balmacara and serves as a spectacular backdrop to the Skye Bridge when looking from the east. This mountain range is one of the favourite climbing spots of Munro-baggers, due to the close proximity of so many Munros within a relatively short distance. A popular activity by experienced climbers is to attempt to travel around the entirity of the Cuillins in one go, which can take 2 or 3 days and is made possible by the ridges connecting most of the individual peaks.

Skye has many trails and walks of varying difficulty. An unmarked trail around than a mile almost directly south from Elgol leads to the cave which Bonnie Prince Charlie hid in after his defeat at Culloden prior to his exile to France. Or a well-maintained walk to Neist Point leads to the Neist Point Lighthouse. For more experienced walkers, a long walk marked on Ordnance Survey maps leads south from Sligachan between Sgurr nan Gillean and Marsco (Glen Sligachan) and has many forks, the longest of which ends at Elgol. Many other walks are marked clearly on Ordnance Survey maps (and the GPS maps that use data from them) and walks graded for difficulty are also available at Walk Highlands.

If you prefer more leisurely activities, the Aros Experience has many cultural events throughout the year, and also has a restaurant, theatre, Sea Eagle exhibit and shops which offer gifts, books and artists materials. There are many other attractions to visit as well, and you can find these at Visit Scotland (the official tourist organisation for Scotland).

If you'd like to travel even further, you could hire a bike and hop on the a ferry to Tarbet on the Isle of Harris. From there, you can explore the connected Isle of Lewis to the north, visit the Harris Tweed weavers, St Clements Church in Rodel, or the Clach MhicLeoid standing stone. From Leverburgh on the south of Harris you can take a ferry to Berneray, or straight from Uig take a ferry to Lochmaddy, and explore the Isle of Uist. Please note that bicycles are carried free-of-charge on all Caledonian Macbrayne ferries when taken aboard by foot passengers, but this is subject to space being available - please enquire at the CalMac ticket office when booking if you are travelling by ferry to ensure that they will be able to accommodate you.

 

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