6 of the best day hikes on the Isle of Skye

After spending a summer in rainy England it was awesome to escape to rainy Scotland for a family holiday to the gorgeous Isle of Skye. There are a ton of hikes to choose from, we chose these 6 because they all offered something a little different. You’ll need a car to get around the island, and you need to be prepared to get rained on!!

Scotland Day 6: Black Cuillens

The South Duirinish Coast Walk
14 mile round trip
6 – 8 hours

Hilly coastal path along the cliffs, relatively easy but long.
Highlights include McLeod’s Maidens rock stacks and a gorgeous waterfall.

Drive to the tiny town of Orbost and you’ll find the trail head by a small carpark behind a farm. The gravel road winds down to the beach and then back up into the forest. Soon enough you hit the cliffs and the views are stunning all the way along. Stop for lunch overlooking the rock stacks of McLeod’s Maidens. We walked until we came across an outcrop of rock that gave us the perfect view of a gorgeous waterfall, then turned around and took the ‘scenic route’ back through fields of ferns until we joined the original trail back to the car.

Scotland Day 2: 2 South Duirinish Coast Walk

Scotland Day 2: 2 South Duirinish Coast Walk

Scotland Day 2: 2 South Duirinish Coast Walk

The Old Man of Storr
3.5 mile round trip
2 – 4 hours

Short and rewarding hike, easy at first, then gets harder.
Highlights include the Old Man of Storr rocks and the views from the top.

The trail head starts right from the highway. It’s a big and well maintained path with two opposite directions that both lead to the same spot. It eventually turns into a steep and muddy trail that passes the Old Man of Storr and takes you up above it. The views are absolutely amazing from here, you can also walk to the cliffs above you if the weather is good. Follow the same trail down to get back to your car.

Scotland Day 3: Old Man of Storr and the Quirang

Scotland Day 3: Old Man of Storr and the Quirang

Scotland Day 3: Old Man of Storr and the Quirang

The Quirang
5 mile round trip
2 – 4 hours

Relatively easy hike with one long and steep incline.
Highlights include the view and the heights.

The trail head is up a long winding road to the top of the mountain which means it’s an easy walk along the side of the mountain under the cliffs with incredible views of the valley below you. When you reach the end you can look over the edge, it’s a sheer drop hundreds of feet to the ground. It’s then a steep and muddy hike up to the highest cliffs and back towards the car. Keep an eye out for the cairns (rock piles) that mark the way and don’t get too close to the edge if it’s windy.

Scotland Day 3: Old Man of Storr and the Quirang

Scotland Day 3: Old Man of Storr and the Quirang

Scotland Day 3: Old Man of Storr and the Quirang

Loch Coruisk to Elgol
8 miles one way
7 – 9 hours

Difficult at first, then long but relatively easy.
Highlights include the boat ride to Loch Coruisk and lunch in the bothy (a free house for hikers to rest in).

Drive to the town of Elgol and book a one way ticket for the ferry to Lock Coruisk. We went with Misty Isle, the captain was full of information about the islands and mountain peaks we passed. We saw a seal colony as we arrived at our destination. You can spend a few hours here and catch the boat back, or you can follow the trail to the top if the hill, away from the loch, past two smaller lakes. Once at the top we made our own trail down the hill towards the bothy, crossing bog and rivers to get there. It was full of people with the fire roaring, the perfect spot for lunch. From there it is a 3 mile hike along the coast with steep drops to your right. Eventually you will make your way back to Elgol and back to your car.

Scotland Day 4: Loch Coruisk to Elgol

Scotland Day 4: Loch Coruisk to Elgol

Scotland Day 4: Loch Coruisk to Elgol

The Fairy Pools
2 mile round trip
1 – 3 hours (more if you want to swim!)

Very easy hike with well marked trail.
Highlights include the waterfalls and impossibly clear water.

The trail head is opposite the carpark along the highway. Its a well marked trail and relatively easy but very muddy if it’s been raining. The path follows a series of pools and waterfalls that cascade down the hill. Some are deep enough to jump and swim in if you’re brave enough! You can absolutely take your time here, the trail goes on well past the fairy pools and to the base of the mountain with a huge crack in the side, its worth the scramble up there to explore it. Simply follow the same trail to get back to the car.

Scotland Day 5: The Fairy Pools

Scotland Day 5: The Fairy Pools

Scotland Day 5: The Fairy Pools

The Black Ciullens
6 mile round trip
6 – 8 hours

Somewhat difficult hike up and relatively easy hike down.
Highlights include the random waterfalls and the view from the top.

The trail head is near the Sligachan Hotel. It starts out nice and easy and gradually gets steeper as you com towards the peak. The trail sort of disappears and you just sort of scramble up hill until you reach the ridge line. Absolutely incredible views from the top, perfect place for lunch. You can make it higher if you don’t mind a sketchy climb with a lot of loose rock. Follow the trail down the opposite side of the ridge along the river with plenty of beautiful waterfalls on the way, you’ll eventually hit a gravel driveway that takes you back to the car.

Scotland Day 6: Black Cuillens

Scotland Day 6: Black Cuillens

Scotland Day 6: Black Cuillens

Packing Essentials

Small day pack, around 20 litres, preferably with a waterproof cover.
Waterproof hiking boots and good, thick socks.
Thin waterproof trousers and jacket.
Two or more thin layers underneath your jacket.
Plenty of food and water.
A map of the area and a compass.
A phone in case of emergency.
A camera and a spare battery.

Scotland Day 2: 2 South Duirinish Coast Walk

Click here to view the full album.

Follow the adventure on Instagram and Facebook!

2 Replies to “6 of the best day hikes on the Isle of Skye”

    1. Well we didn’t camp but we saw a few people just camping on the cliffs! There are certain areas that are fenced off which you’ll be walking through but just find some public land I think it’s OK!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s