Charles Rhodes has produced a series of guides detailing walks all over Skye and scrambles in the Cuillins. The individual booklets can be purchased from local shops & from the Tables Hotel.
you know that there are over 40 documented walks on Skye. It’s a much
bigger island than you think; with six peninsulas, each of individual
character and over???? miles of coastline. Walk from the professional
peaks of The Cuillins to low level wanders by the shore; moorland, forest,cliff
tops; iron age brochs to 19th century clearance villge ruins; sea birds,
eagles, otters and seals; take photos or draw pictures.
MacLeod's Maidens - from Loch Bharcasaig
This deservedly popular walk has the objective of reaching Skye's finest sea stacks off Idrigill Point -the Maidens- and offers magnificent views across the sea to distant hills and islands. The path climbs and descends throughout its course but the gradients are never excessive; nevertheless the walk can be tiring. The path is ill-defined in a few places but generally route finding is not a problem as much of the way is cairned. The Bharcasaig forest has recently been extended two miles to the south thereby taking up two thirds of the walk and it will take some time for the ground to recover and for the path to become re-established in places. The Forestry Commission has taken measures to create vistas, and species of broad leaved trees have been planted by streams and at fringe areas.
5 miles each way.
Loch Bharcasaig gives a very beautiful start to the walk on the broad track which enters the forest by crossing the bridge over the Abhainn Bharcasaig at the far side of the bay. It takes about 25 minutes to walk through the forest which has vistas to the flat-topped hill of Beinn na Boineid. On leaving the forest the Forse Burn is crossed to ascend a steep bank by a cairned rocky path. The beginning of the plantation furrowing is encountered at the top of the following rise and here the path is partly obliterated, but go straight ahead keeping a lookout for cairns. A gradual ascent is now made to the bealach between Beinn na Moine and Beinn na Boineid, where there is a prominent cairn and from where there are views to the isles of Rhum, Eigg and Canna. The descent from the bealach (pass) traverses the slopes above Brandarsaig Bay with the Cuillin now coming into view across Loch Bracadale. The path cuts across a corner of fencing then continues downward through what was once the crofting settlement of Brandarsaig. Cross the Brandarsaig Burn and bear left up the slope where the path becomes obscure but soon re-establishes itself to cross the moor then down to the boundary fence where the plantation ends at the Idrigill Burn. Cross the burn and ascend the slope to the pleasant area of grassland and ruined houses of Idrigill Further on an area of well-formed lazybeds extends to the turf wall at the cliff edge above Camas na h-Uamha
(Lazybeds — a form of cultivation which paradoxically was not born of laziness but of hardship.)
The fine natural arches which are a feature of this coast are just to the north of Camas na h-Uamha and merit a diversion from here by ascending to a cliff-top vantage point a little to the south and looking back at them across the bay (see O.S. map). The way continues by turning inland away from the cliffs on the clearly defined path by Glac Ghealaridh, a heathery valley between the hills of Ard Beag and Steineval. This is followed until the path turns left and out of the valley to an area of undulations and hillocks with the sea beyond. The now uncairned way uses a sheep track which is becoming increasingly defined as part of The Duirinish coastal path. Follow this southwest for 2 miles across the slopes above the lower ground of ldrigill Point to where the path turns to round the impressive cove of lnbhir a Gharraidh. Leave the path here and cross to the cliff-top which is followed southwards for a short distance to the viewpoint overlooking the Maidens. The scene from the cliff-top is dramatic indeed, the proximity of the 200 foot stack exerting a compelling presence. It was first climbed by Ian dough and J. McLean in 1959. Legend has it that the three stacks were so named when the wife and two daughters of the fourth Chief of MacLeod (14th C) were shipwrecked and drowned at these stacks on their return to Dunvegan from Harris where the Chief had been mortally wounded in battle. The best place for taking photographs is from the cliff to the north, across the bay, from where a side view of the Maidens with the Cuillin in the background can be obtained. It takes longer to reach this point than one expects as ravines have to be avoided by contouring round but for keen photographers it is worth the effort. Great care is needed at the cliff edge. The return journey is by the outward route and is usually quicker because the way is now familiar. It is worthwhile to start off by following the indented coastline of the Point round before rejoining the path at the entrance to Glaic Ghrealaridh.
Coral Beach s - from Loch Bharcasaig
The Coral Beach:The white sand of this beach is not true coral but fragments of a bleached seaweed. Nevertheless the effect makes a pleasing contrast to the greensward of the bay and the colour of the sea. The Coral Beach is a beautiful sight with the sea and the hills of Harris beyond. It is a very popular outing. The walks here described offer two approaches. The first is from Claigan, north of Dunvegan, which is the usual way and is very short. Few walks give such reward for so little effort. The other is from Loch Bay in Waternish, which is much longer (5 miles each way) but is less frequented and is a very good walk, although the Bay River has to be forded. Some may prefer to make this a one-way walk by arranging for a pick-up point at Claigan, and there are merits in this. N9. Coral Beach from Claigan—Dunvegan A short and easy walk with lovely views. Good path to start followed by short grass. The approach road by Loch Dunvegan is particularly beautiful when the heather is in bloom.
Time: 40 minutes each way, but a leisurely half-day for a picnic
is more enjoyable.
Note sign — “No Dogs”.
The start of the walk down a rutted cart track is signposted and after two gates descends to the shore. The first bay is soon reached, where there is a small stretch of coral and where the cart track turns off. Slant up the grass to the right crossing a small burn, where there is the ruin of a house, to reach a wall. Avoid climbing the wall by following into the gap at its abrupt end and from where the best view of the extensive coral bay is obtained. Descend from the wall to the bay and cross the delightful sward to pass below a small hill and so to the end of the peninsula, Groban na Sgeire. A grassy knoll makes an ideal spot to conclude the walk and take in the scene. Return by the same route.