An Unspoiled Wilderness To Explore
Visiting Skye gives you a wonderful opportunity to explore one of the UK’s great unspoiled wildernesses. From the Sleat Peninsula in the south to Talisker on the west coast and moving up to the Trotternish Peninsula in the north, there’s so much to choose from.
With so many beautiful sites of geographical interest appealing equally to experienced walkers or families looking for adventure, it can be hard to know where to start. But beginning your exploration of Skye up in the north is a great idea, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself enchanted by everything the Trotternish Peninsula has to offer.
Be Prepared For Some Stunning Discoveries
If you’re planning to explore the north-east of Skye, you’ll need to make sure that you prepare well for your days out. It’s always sensible to pick up a reliable guidebook and to research your routes well beforehand. Make sure that you keep an eye on the weather, don’t attempt routes you can’t manage and wear appropriate clothing, especially in the cooler months.
Skye is a unique and exciting place to explore, with new discoveries on every horizon. It’s a safe place for adventures, but exploring the wilderness always carries a little bit of risk, so remember to be careful, be considerate of others and stick to the path (where there is one)!
We recommend The Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock and The Quiraing as the top places to visit, if you want to make the most of your Trotternish Peninsula visit.
1. Visiting The Old Man Of Storr
An imposing hill with a steep rocky eastern face, The Old Man of Storr overlooks the Sound of Raasay. It’s an imposing outcrop of dramatically shaped rock and is typical of many features along the Trotternish Peninsula, although you’ll find that this one is particularly captivating. It’s divided into two contrasting areas, and you’ll soon see the difference in the landscape and the rock formations themselves.
Rich in gyrolite, it’s the pinnacles of the first area, known as The Sanctuary, that really catch your eye. Remnants of an ancient landslip, these jagged pillars of rock act as a kind of introduction to the Old Man himself; a sheer rockface of outstanding natural beauty.
You can admire the view of The Old Man of Storr from below, as you stand among the outcrops and take in the view to the coastline, or you can walk to the top of the Old Man and enjoy both connecting with the landscape and the pleasure of making it to the top. Once there you’ll have some great views to Raasay and Rona, and to the south you’ll see the Storr Lochs, Portree and the Cuillin Hills. The walk to the top is considered to be of medium length and difficulty, with some uphill and uneven sections.
Start your exploration from the car park on the A855, about 6 miles from Portree. It’s not big, and often fills up in the summer months, so it’s wise to get there early. At the end of the carpark is a wooden gate, leading to a clearly marked path regularly used by sightseers. Follow the gravel path upwards through the clear-fell area, taking the right-hand option when the path splits.
After about 45 minutes you’ll arrive at The Sanctuary, and from there you can climb over a stile at the base of the rockface and follow the path upwards to the top.
2. The Eerie Majesty Of Kilt Rock
Kilt Rock is another famous addition to the Trotternish Peninsula and is often a central feature of any exploration of Skye’s landscape. Basalt columns resting on a sandstone base rise up 90 meters and their shape and arrangement gives the impression of a pleated skirt, giving the landmark its name.
This spectacular feature of the Trotternish Peninsula is well worth a visit as the vast scale and majesty of the rockface is both compelling and inspiring, whatever the weather.
The Mealt waterfall lends even more spectacle to this magnificent example of Skye’s geological heritage. Fed from the nearby Mealt Loch, the energy and sound of the waterfall pouring over the edge of Kilt Rock and crashing onto the rocks below brings the entire site to life.
From the observation point, you might even be lucky enough to spot dolphins and seals in the water below you. There is some information available at the observation point to help you identify the animals that you are likely to see while you’re there.
And lastly, a word about the haunting sounds of the wind you’re likely to experience, especially if you’re there on a very blustery day. Visitors often report an eerie, haunting sound as they take in the sights of Kilt Rock. And they’re right! The fencing around the observation post has been designed to funnel the wind through a series of holes, each producing different tones as the air passes through. It all adds to the atmosphere!
3. Walking The Quiraing
One of the most beautiful elements of the Trotternish Peninsula, The Quiraing is actually a giant landslip on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach and sits on the peninsula’s most northern summit. In fact, The Quiraing is still a moving landslip, with the road at its base needing regular repair as a result. You’re unlikely to notice any movement yourself, and it’s well worth a visit. The Quiraing is a looped walk that generally takes a minimum of two hours to complete. It’s considered to be a hard walk in terms of difficulty, but the rewards are worth it!
Walking The Quiraing is like taking a journey through a series of unique rocky environments, each one delightful in terms of its sculptural beauty, and framed by the wild landscape only found on Skye.
If you’re planning to walk The Quiraing, it’s accessible from a carpark about 2.5 miles outside Staffin (not too far from Chasing The Moon). Like many of the car parks in the Trotternish Peninsula, it’s isn’t large, so try to avoid peak times, or you may have to find an alternative parking spot along the road. A word of caution – this walk isn’t suitable in all weather conditions, especially when visibility is likely to be impaired or if it’s especially windy, as the route takes you near cliff edges. If in doubt, check the weather and a detailed guidebook for advice.
The walk begins on the path leading north from the carpark, and you’ll have access to some stunning views from the start. Scramble over rock gorges, climb valleys and enjoy being part of the remote landscape. Eventually you’ll reach the summit at 540 metres and you’ll see The Table, which you can access with care (it’s a bit of a scramble). The view to the east is Staffin, home of the famous dinosaur footprints, with the hills of Torridon beyond.
Just follow the path, and you’ll find yourself looping back to the carpark, ready for the next part of your Trotternish Peninsula adventure!
Lose Yourself In The Landscape
So, those are our top three recommendations for exploring the Trotternish Peninsula. Stunning views, some thrilling climbs and a true taste of Skye’s geological heritage all combining in one beautiful corner of the world. We love losing ourselves in the landscape, and we hope you’ll love it too.
Don’t forget that you can use the guidebooks and maps provided at Chasing The Moon to plan your days out, where you can also enjoy some glorious views from the comfort of an armchair!
We’d love to hear from you if you’ve explored the Trotternish Peninsula and have some memories to share. Send us a picture or share some feedback on your trip using the form below.