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Stage report from the Skye Trail hike, August 2018
1. Broadford to Torrin, 23km
2. Torrin(via Elgol) to Camasunary Bothy , 20km
3. Camasunary Bothy (via Sligachan) to Balmeanach, 19km
4. Balmeanach to Portree, 15km
5. Portree to The Old Man of Storr , 16km
6. The Ols Man of Storr to Floigarry, 24km
7. Flodigarry to Rubha Hunish, 11km
Read our story!
1: Broadford to Torrin (23 km)
Our 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.
2: Torrin (via Elgol) to Camasunary Bothy (20 km)
For breakfast we had our beloved cereals “Supermüsli”. We continued by following the road towards Elgol. After one kilometer we followed the trail to the right of Camasunary Bothy of the road that leads to Kilmarie. In this place you can stroll around and visit an old cemetery. The path eventually leads to Elgol. In Elgol is a small shop, which serves 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 part of the Skye trail.
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 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 campsite behind us 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 joined the main road to Portree. About two kilometers before Portree you pass the “Aros Center”. Here you can learn about the region a Portree Harbour and 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.
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”. We arrived there at 3 pm.
The Old Man of Storr
After the obligatory photo at “The Old Man of Storr” we continued on the path and 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.
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 on the Trotternish Ridge is 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 on the trail again. The weather was great that day again! 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.
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Take care and go out and make it happen!