The Top 5 Walking Routes on Skye

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Written by Maggie Mitchell

February 17, 2021

Walking And Hiking Routes Across Skye…

When you plan your holiday, you’re bound to want to make the most of the stunning scenery and seek out some of the best walking routes on Skye. Whether you’re looking to scale the heights of some of Skye’s famous peninsulas, trek the coastal paths or lose yourself in the landscape, there are bound to be walking and hiking routes to suit you. From level walks where the only challenge is to capture a great photo, to more difficult climbs across steep or uneven terrain, Skye offers a little of everything you could wish for.

Most towns cater to the needs of the average walker, with shops stocking a range of equipment and consumables to prepare you for every eventuality. You’re never far from a sturdy pair of boots, a water bottle or a helpful guidebook wherever you go. However, it’s always best to come prepared for the terrain and to make sure you have everything you need before you set off.

But with so much choice, it isn’t always easy to pick the routes that are right for you. That’s where some planning and a little bit of local knowledge comes in handy.

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Finding The Right Walks For You

We’ve put together a helpful guide highlighting five of the best walking routes on Skye. Some of these routes, like the ones around Coral Beach near Dunvegan Castle, are suitable for families and walkers of all ages. Some, like the walk to Camasunary, are significantly longer and need a little experience to be enjoyed successfully. However, we’ve selected these five walks as they represent some of the best walking routes on Skye, and we’re confident you’ll enjoy them all.

If you’re looking for more walking and hiking routes to explore, do check out our post all about the Trotternish Peninsula which has lots of wonderful walks, specifically up on the north-east coast.

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Delight In The Fairy Pools At Glenbrittle

Located near the village of Carbost in Glenbrittle, these vivid and enchanting pools are fed by crystal clear spring water from the many waterfalls that flow from the River Brittle. Increasingly popular with visitors, these Fairy Pools are an iconic part of Skye’s landscape. Running down from the mountain, the water isn’t warm, but offers hardy souls the perfect opportunity for some wild swimming in a location that can’t be equaled. Wetsuits are encouraged!

Aside from swimmers, the pools offer tremendous scope for walkers wanting to take advantage of the stunning views but also the tremendous variety of wildlife to be found, from red deer and rabbits to flocks of gulls and smaller birds such as dunlins and curlews.

It’s around a 20-minute walk from the Glenbrittle car park to the first of the Fairy Pools. It’s a walk that will take you across moorland and rivers, past impressive ice age boulders of rock and is on a mix of rough and graveled paths. You take the same route back when returning to the car park.

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Explore Claigan’s Coral Beach

Surely a contender for one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll find on Skye, the Coral Beach isn’t really coral at all. It gets its name from the fossilized and sun-bleached algae that washes up on the shore from the reef near the Island of Lampay. Indeed, at very low tide a coral causeway is revealed, adding to the sense of adventure and magic.

For a serious walk you could begin your hike at nearby Dunvegan Castle. Alternatively, having parked in the car park at Claigan, the walk to the beach is along a farm track which takes you through fields, over streams and through a number of stiles and gates. After a while, the track begins to head downhill. Take the left-hand option when the path forks, and use the stepping stones to cross another stream. Eventually, the path rises up and reveals the stunning view of the Dunvegan Peninsula. The beach is best experienced at half-tide if you want to enjoy the coral colours.

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Take In The Stunning Views At Camasunary

Without doubt, one of the best walking routes on Skye has to be to Camasunary Bay, in the south of the island. The walk begins from the car park at Elgol and covers a distance of just under 10 kilometers, using the same route there and back.

The views inland include the imposing Bla Bhainn and Marsco, and the route skirts the foothills of the Cuillin Mountains, giving a real sense of grandeur and scale to the hike. Look out to sea for views of the islands of Soay and Rum, too.

The route takes you over streams and freshwater lochs as well as past ancient cairns. As you get closer to Camasunary, you’ll follow a zig-zag path downhill before arriving at the Bothy – a place to rest and maybe even dry out. You can also sleep there overnight if you don’t mind sharing the space with strangers. Eventually you’ll arrive at the small beach where you can enjoy the views and dip your toes in the water before taking the return (uphill) journey.

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Walk Through History At Boreraig

Another fantastic walking route in the south of Skye starts at the ruined church of Kilchrist and takes you over the hillside to Boreraig, passing natural landmarks as well as abandoned railway lines and quarries on the way.

The route changes from well-kept gravel paths to much wilder tracks, the further into the wilderness you go. Eventually you’ll find yourself traversing a hill-top moor, with views of the surrounding countryside in all directions. You’ll see Loch Lonachan below you before the trail dips into a valley, eventually rising again to reveal the deserted village of Boreraig, sitting in a green, fertile glen.

The stone houses are a reminder of the infamous clearances of the mid 1800’s, where the residents of the village were resettled. The cottages remain for you to explore, and legend has it that the stone slab bridging the little stream was lifted into place by a single man!

From the deserted village, you can see the community of Ord on the other side of the sea loch, as well as the waterfall that ends its journey on the beach below.

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Discover The Incredible Scenery at Scorrybreac

There’s no doubt that our final choice is undoubtedly one of the best walking routes in Skye. Beginning in the village of Portree, the route to Scorrybreac is of medium difficulty and takes you through a beautiful landscape, rich with wildflowers.

From heavily wooded areas to looming cliffs, boulders and zig-zagging upward paths, this is a tiring climb, but worth it to claim the stunning views.

As you rise further above sea level, you’ll see Black Rock mountain beyond the headland, before catching views of the Island of Raasay and maybe even a Sea Eagle or two, nesting on the nearby cliffs.

You’ll eventually reach the small, ruined village of Scorrybreac on the hillside above Portree, from which the headland now gets its name. If you’re in the mood for more hiking, you can continue on to nearby Toravaig, or remain on the path that will lead you back to the car park where you began.

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A Landscape Full Of Memories

Hopefully, our quick guide to the best walking routes on Skye has given you some great ideas for further research. There are lots more places to visit, and plenty more stunning views to take in. That’s part of Skye’s magic – there’s always another wonderful horizon around the corner.

Don’t forget that if you’re staying with us at Chasing The Moon there are lots of guidebooks and maps available here, to help you plan your walking adventures.

A holiday is what you make it, and once you’ve discovered the best walking routes on Skye, you’re bound to make some wonderful memories. From being enchanted by the Fairy Pools at Glenbrittle to exploring the deserted wilderness of Boreraig, there’s something about the landscape here that stays with you, long after you’ve left it behind.

As you rise further above sea level, you’ll see Black Rock mountain beyond the headland, before catching views of the Island of Raasay and maybe even a Sea Eagle or two, nesting on the nearby cliffs.

You’ll eventually reach the small, ruined village of Scorrybreac on the hillside above Portree, from which the headland now gets its name. If you’re in the mood for more hiking, you can continue on to nearby Toravaig, or remain on the path that will lead you back to the car park where you began.

We’d love to hear from you once you’ve explored the best walking routes on Skye. Send us a picture or share some feedback your trip using the form below.

Looking for a luxury cottage to stay in as your base to explore the best walking routes on Skye?

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