What it's like
Looming out of the Atlantic to form a crest of fairytale teeth, the Skye Cuillin is Scotland’s rockiest ridge; the Alps-on-Sea, with added peat bogs. Sometimes mist-wreathed, sometimes sunkissed - but always hugely impressive - this compact mass of peaks is our ultimate mountaineering destination, the stuff of scrambling and rock climbing dreams. The famous Cuillin Traverse needs specialist skills and top fitness, but despite fearsome appearances walker-friendly summit bagging routes do exist here, for those prepared to get a little rough.
There’s much more to Skye than the Cuillin of course. Its crazily convoluted coastline, for instance, where beach and clifftop walks abound. Meanwhile, the hills of the Trotternish peninsular have their own collections of freakishly pinnacled cliffs too, rather easier to get close to than their forbidding southerly neighbours. With its friendly villages and historic castles, you could enjoy a great family break here without ever setting foot on the Cuillin … if you insist.
Head back over the bridge to Lochalsh for more variations on the rock-and-water theme. This is a region of deep fjord-like sea lochs, waterfalls, dense woods and masses of mountain grandeur. Lochalsh is home to the lofty ridges of Glen Shiel – graceful pointy peaks including The Saddle, the Five Sisters and Beinn Fhada. If that lot don’t have you itching to lace your boots, then you’re no hillwalker. Back down by the sea, gorgeous coastal villages such as Plockton offer a chance to unwind after a tough day on the Munros.
- The Storr, Trotternish A well made path leads through the woods to a huge graveyard of surreal tottering spires. Continue to the mountain’s summit for superb views over the island-dotted Sound of Raasay.
- Falls of Glomach A kid-friendly stomp to this impressive 113m vertical cascade, said to be the highest in Britain.
- South Glensheil Ridge The ultimate Munro bagger’s extravaganza. Tick all seven, or settle for two or three; whichever way you do it, it’s one of the best ridge walks in the Highlands.
Must see and do
- Plockton Have a gander at this seaside conservation village, then a seafood supper at the friendly Plockton Inn, AA Seafood Pub of the Year 2004. www.plocktoninn.co.uk
- Eilean Donan Castle The iconic tourist site of the area, this island stronghold is well worth seeing. Go early to beat the besieging crowds. www.eileandonancastle.com
- Talisker Distillery Learn how they make Skye’s water of life, and enjoy a sneaky sample. 01478 640 314
Destination County : Isle of Skye & Lochalsh