Isle of Skye Trail | Scotland

130 km - 7 days - moderate

Isle of Skye Trail | Scotland

Isle of Skye Trail | Scotland 650 430 Hiking Blog
Skye-trail

The Skye Trail is a demanding, unofficial 128 km long distance walk. The trail covers most of the length of Isle of Skye, passing through tough terrain including spectacular mountain and coastal scenery. The route follows the Trotternish Ridge, the Black and Red Cuillin as well as coastal cliffs and steep slopes of the highland mountains.

Be aware that the Skye Trail is an unofficial route. For long distances there´re no waymarks nor a path! Thinking about scottish weather in the highlands you have to be prepared of being able to navigate. This walk is adressed to those who´re experienced in hiking or trekking. For many sections there are no exit routes.
We as well as other hikers experienced one dangerous spot behind the “Old man of Storr”. Following the correct path you have to go over the rigde and not going straight on what we did! So we nearly ended up in a suiced mission crossing a step slope of gravel above high cliffs. As you realised we made it luckely.

Stages of the Isle of Skye Trail in Scotland:

1: Broadford to Torrin (23 km)
2: Torrin(via Elgol) to Camasunary Bothy (20 km)
3: Camasunary Bothy (via Sligachan) to Balmeanach (19 km)
4: Balmeanach to Portree (15 km)
5: Portree to The Old Man of Storr (16 km)
6: The Ols Man of Storr to Floigarry (24 km)
7: Flodigarry to Rubha Hunish (11 km)
Conclusion

SKYE TRAIL - SCOTLAND
Watch this video on YouTube.

Read our story!

1: Broadford to Torrin (23 km)

Camping near Torrin at Loch SlapinOur journey started at Inverness Airport. From there we took the train to Kyle of Lochalsh around 1 pm departure time. Not far from the train station in Kyle of Lochalsh is the bus stop for the buses towards the Isle of Skye. So we arrived at Broadfort in the south of Skye late in the afternoon.
We stayed at Backpacker Broadfort for 30 € each. A good way to stay for a cheap and self-catering. The next morning we started after breakfast. Look for the Boadfort River and take the road which follows the river south. The Skye trail began, after one kilometer, a small path branches off to the left of the road. We followed this path and came to the south coast after a while, with some old ruins. We followed the coast towards Torrin for some time. There we had a break at 4 pm in the Blue Shed Cafe. After another 5 km we looked for a campground on the other side of the bay. We cooked our food and enjoyed the evening mood on the Atlantic.

Camping near Torrin
Camping near Torrin

2: Torrin (via Elgol) to Camasunary Bothy (20 km)

For breakfast we had our beloved cereals “Supermüsli”, then we packed our things and continued to follow the road. After one kilometer we followed the trail to the right of Camasunary Bothyf the road that leads to Kilmarie. In this place you can stay nice and visit an old cemetery. The path eventually leads to Elgol. In Elgol is a small shop, hot soups and coffee. If you want to abbreviate the Skye Trail you can also go by bus to this point and start from here. Strengthened with a hot soup, we continued under strong sunshine and blue sky. We followed the wonderful coastal path towards Camasunary Bothy. This self-catering cottage has been rebuilt and offers a nice dry space with sleeping facilities.
We were alone and enjoyed the tranquility in this fantastic bay. The weather invited to a small bath in a nearby stream. Our dinner and some stories of the day ended this day’s stage. A very beautiful route on the Skye trail.

Camasunary Bothy
Camasunary Bothy

3: Camasunary Bothy (via Sligachan) to Balmeanach (19 km)

The night in the Camasumary Bothy was pleasant. After another relaxed breakfast we started at 8.30 am in the direction of Sligachan. The trail leads past Loch na Along the Cuillin Hills to Sligachan Creithead. Because of this great weather we could not help but swim in the lake. The cold water was a wonderful refreshment. We went on and in a westerly direction on our left side the Cuillin Hills rised dark in the sky. We follow the riverbed to Sligachan. Once there we crossed the old stone bridge and looked forward to a meal in the Sligachan Hotel. We left the camp there and walked along the Loch Sligachan for another two hours until we reached the small settlement Peinchorran. Above the settlement we set up our tent a bit hidden. There were a lot of midges on these last three kilometers! Therefore, we went early and tired into our sleeping bags.

4: Balmean to Portree (15 km)

A new wonderful morning with blue sky on the Skye trail. We took advantage of the nearby observation deck for breakfast and watched the ferry down in the bay. Continuing along the route we followed the small country road on the eastern side of Skye. After about a kilometer we saw a beautiful bay. Here we wanted to swim in the Atlantic Ocean and asked a resident for the right access. Finally, she served us coffee and we talked excitedly. The crystal clear water and the sun made it an unforgettable experience.
Later on the coastal path led inland and meets the main road to Portree. About two kilometers before Portree you pass the “Aros Center”. Here you can learn about the region a Portree Harbournd strengthen yourself in the bistro. Arriving in the colorful harbor town of Portree, we quickly set out to find a suitable hotel room. As we rarely book accommodations in advance, there is always some tension. Because many rooms are already booked, especially in the summer. We found a room (90 EUR) in the Pier Hotel. In the afternoon we enjoyed our city stroll, the photo shoot and dinner. Of course there was live music in one of the many pubs in the evening.

Portree Harbour
Portree Harbour

5: Portree to The Old Man of Storr (16 km)

A short distance along the bay and then the path climbed steeply up to the Trotternish ridge. In this section the path of the Skye trail is not marked. On the Plateu you should be careful in poor visibility, as the cliffs drop steeply. Therefore a compass could be a good idea in bad weather.
The path leads down to Loch Leathan (reservoir). Closeby is the bus parking lot, for the many tourists who want to visit “The Old Man of Storr”. Here we were around 3 pm.
After the obligatory photo at “The Old Man of Storr” we continued on the path past “Needle Rock”. Until then, the route is clear. After the stone formation “Needle Rock” you have to cross the ridge on the left side! Unfortunately, we did not really see the route and just kept walking. As a result we rounded the mountainside on a very steep scree slope. Only in retrospect we were aware of the danger! This experience has also been made by other hikers, we learned later. This should be marked on maps of the Skye trail.
Glad to have survived this passage safely, we set up our camp a short time later on the edge of the Trotternish mountains.

The Old Man of Storr
The Old Man of Storr

6: The Old Man of Storr to Flodigarry (24 km)

At 6 am we started to dismantle the tent and stow our things. Ahead of us was a long day of hiking along the Trotternish Ridge. The gusts of wind were sometimes quite violent! This stage is The Trotternish Ridge marked by many steep ascents and descents and requires a certain condition. Often the trail loses itself between the heath and grass areas. Beware of fog!
At 6 pm we reached the Flodigarry Hostel. Not to be confused with the Flodigarry Hotel, where the night should cost 300 EUR. The hostel was a good place to stay with rooms or a tent pitch. This was our plan for 20 EUR. Furthermore, there was a kiosk and a comfortable kitchen for cooking. If you want to eat well, the hotel was recommended. The only criticism were the few ticks on the tent meadow.

7: Flodigarry to Rubha Hunish (11 km)

A relaxed breakfast in the hostel and then packed the backpack. The weather was great again today! By now, Claudia and I had a sunburn on the left side. Another stretch of coast with beautiful views, sea birds and sheep. The way is sometimes even less recognizable. On the way, you’ll pass the Lookout Bothy. If you hike the Skye trail from north to south you can spend your first night here or just the last one. We wanted to reach our connection bus and therefore proceeded quickly. We knew that the red telephone booth was only 2-3 km away.
So we finally finished our hike on the Skye Trail around 2 pm. Nearby is the Duntulm Castle, a castle ruin. On the road next to the ruin is the spot where you stop the bus because we wanted to continue towards the Outer Hebrides.

The Trotternish Ridge
The Trotternish Ridge

Conclusion

  • We managed the Skye Trail during eight days. The weather was brilliant and so the tour was incredibly enjoyable. Respect for those who go through this during a week of constant rain! Sky, water and mountains were equally present there in Scotland.
  • Map material is very helpful for this hike. We usually use print outs for each section. This is much more practical in the terrain and cost nothing. Since this long-distance trail is not official trail markers are missing. Most sections show a path. Sometimes a good sense of direction is very helpful. Beware of poor visibility!
  • The proportion of road is not insignificant during the Skye trail. Overall, in spite of the great weather in July, very few people were traveling on the trail.
  • Camping, food and water have been no problem. For some stages, however, you should have enough food and drinks in your backpack.
  • Cash as well as credit card are possible in many places.
  • The big concern about rain and midges is justified, but as always also a matter of luck. Hope for the best and plan for the worst!
  • Overall, the Skye Trail is a fantastic long distance trail with almost 130 km in length. It shows a cross section of the Scottish highlands. We enjoyed it very much!

For more information about the Isle of Skye trail – Scotland don´t hesitate to contact us. Feel free to watch our videos on YouTube and explore our other trails we´ve experienced for you!
Take care and go out and make it happen!

Leave a Reply