an unusual walk in many respects, not least of which is the spectacular
rock scenery and, in summer, glorious wild flowers. The most northerly
point of Skye has stretching southwards from it a long and gently sinuous
line of cliffs. This escarpment has been caused by a landslip, with basaltic
rocks later being eroded by wind and weather to form fantastic pillars
and needles. It's a climber's nightmare but a walker's delight. The walk
described assumes that one day is the allowance, and that public transport
can be taken to connect finish to start.
from Portree on the A855 road, to park at the north end of Loch Leathan
(507527). Forestry notices direct you up the path through the plantation
to reach The Sanctuary of The Storr, where the Old Man of Storr with its
companion pillars and pinnacles will be found. Above are the main cliff
faces of the escarpment.
linger here for hours but there is a long way to go, so continue north
until easy ground is gained, allowing one to turn back along the top of
the cliffs above Coire Scamadal. The highest point of the day is gained
at the trig point of The Storr (719m). Needless to say, the views are
down to the Bealach a'Chuirn and take in Hartaval (668m), continuing over
this Norse peak to descend to the Bealach Hartaval. It is possible, if
wished, to quit the walk here, as it is at all the named passes over the
escarpment. Better still to continue for another 7km of ups and downs,
all the while with cliff edges on the right, to gain Beinn Edra (611m).
This is the biggest bump in the middle of the walk.
continues down to the Bealach Uige. When the escarpment was an important
physical barrier between populations on either side, these passes were
of great importance, particularly this one, situated to the east of the
coastal village of Uig. Continue up again (the ups and downs of this walk
are an exerciser's delight!) to gain Boidha Buidhe (466m). To the east
is another - dare we say it? - Tolkien-like landscape.
We now drop
down to the Bealach Ollasgairte (439679), which is crossed by the minor
road joining Uig and Staffin. Follow the path from the summit of the pass
and traverse northeast below cliffs on Meall na Suiramach (543m). This
leads to the extraordinary scenery of The Quiraing, which means the fold
or pen. Like The Storr, it has pillars and pinnacles, gullies and cliffs,
all guarding an area known as The Prison.
prominent gully is guarded by a rock spire, The Needle. Scramble past
this to arrive on The Table, the level platform of grass in the very centre
of The Prison. From The Quiraing, descend northeast by lochs Fada and
Hasco, with a path striking off the north end of the latter towards Flodigarry
and the A855 road.