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Trip created by David Russell
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Explore the spectacular and varied landscapes on the Isle of Skye – the jewel of Scotland’s island crown.
Learn of the myths and legends, passed down through generations, that make this place so magical and mysterious. Enjoy some of the best hiking in Scotland, if not the world as you explore the north, south, east and west of Skye on a series of hikes.
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.
For the following departures, the day by day itinerary runs in reverse order:
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 ascent
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 ascent
After enjoying breakfast, we drive up a steep road which 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 ascent
Today we will be transferring 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. 5hrs
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 in to 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 ascent
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 which 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 ascent
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
This itinerary is based in two different locations throughout the course of the week. We spend 3 nights in north Skye and then the next 3 in the south of the island. The first is an owner-managed 3-star hotel which benefits from fantastic views across Uig Bay. Our accommodation in Southern Skye is a 3-star, 2 rosette privately owned hotel with spectacular views over the Sound of Sleat to the Knoydart Peninsula.
Each accommodation offers double and twin rooms, most with en-suite facilities.
There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you request a double room for single occupancy, a supplement of £495 is charged.
Due to the nature of the accommodations we use, single supplements are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis.
Throughout the journey, varied local produce will be served up in hearty and imaginative meals. Seafood is a speciality with beef, lamb and venison also popular and of course, any special dietary requirements can be catered for.
On this trip, we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations
You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide in the centre of Inverness Railway Station at 10:30 am on Day 1 of your trip. Most people choose to stay in Inverness before the trip. We aim to have you back by 4 pm on the last day.
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Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
David loves the lure of wild places. He’s regularly seen heading off with his canoe, camera and tent for a night under the stars. David spent 5 years as an outdoor guide and instructor with qualifications from the Mountain Training Association and British Canoe Association. He’s passionate about landscape photography and has been commended for his many incredible photographs of Scotland’s wild places.
- David RussellAsk David a Question
Green Graded Walking Holidays
Green graded walking holidays are suitable for active travellers who are reasonably fit and enjoy moderate hikes. We walk at a comfortable pace and you can expect to be out for 5-6 hours a day. The terrain will be mostly good paths and hill trails but these can still be muddy and rough in places. Some hikes may involve an ascent up to a max of approx 1,500 feet / 450m. Distances will be typically 8-10km but there may be the odd slightly longer day. Daily hike details are available in the itinerary.
Rated 4.92 out of 5 based on 120 review(s) of Wilderness Walking – The Isle of Skye
Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.
That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.
Reviewed on 17/10/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Trip Date: 17/08/2019
Trips Taken: 1
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
I was impressed with the level of attention to detail and excellent communication
as I believe is pretty normal , we had marginal weather almost every day Emy was awesome in changing out the schedule to go different places , see different things so the days weren't just about the weather
I travel for a living for my companies and average about 75-100 hotel stays per year I think all the places we stayed were great not typical big box major North American hotel chains , but that's what made them cool
I've been hiring and firing people for 40+ years so I think I have a pretty good grasp on what makes a good employee without knowing what you pay Emy , it isn't enough !! I'm completely serious - the trip was great and interesting , but if Emy wasn't so awesome , I would probably never come back since its a big world out there and there's lots to see both Mark Robertson and I agreed that we would like to return to the region if we could get Emy again anybody that meets her for a short period of time learns that she would probably do her job for food money , but I simply can't say enough about her cheerfulness , knowledge , ability to adapt to changes in weather , injuries , personalities and on and on she never ever got exasperated with her herd of old people , always had a backup plan , and was never without a smile her people skills are tremendous - just an all around great person that kicks ass at her job I've always heard there's only 2 grades of anything - the best and everything else - I cannot imagine anyone being better than her at this job
the only way it could have been better is if it had lasted longer !!you run a great program with excellent personnel and communication
Reviewed on 11/10/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Country: United States
Trip Date: 28/09/2019
Trips Taken: 3
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
The people who work the front office are always so nice and also very responsive
Gill’s knowledge of the history of Skye made this trip so wonderful. It’s beautiful scenery enhanced by history.
Both accommodations on the Isle of Skye were super. Hotel staff at both were accommodating and helpful. Rooms were very clean and beds wonderfully comfy.
Gill was fantastic, balancing the needs and wants of a very diverse group.
A week on the Isle of Skye barely scratches the surface of the diversity and beauty of the island. There is no better way to get a taste of Skye than this Wilderness Scotland trip.
Reviewed on 07/10/2019
Age: 70 - 80
Country: United States
Trip Date: 28/09/2019
Trips Taken: 1
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
It was clear and efficient
Gill was a great guide and just an all round super human being. She tailored things for the group in an expert way.
The accommodations and food were incredible
Gill’s intelligence and consciousness kept all of us happy
The trip brought the substance of the land and people to us. Gill shared the heart of the matter with us always with a touch of soul and class