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Isle of Skye

Hiking on the Isle of Skye

Hiking

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Photo: Chris Golightly (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Walks around the Isle of Sky eare among the most spectacular in the British Isles. This incredible Scottish island is blessed with such a vast array of fascinating landscapes that you could spend your whole life exploring here and not get bored. The island’s dark beauty is legendary.


Arguably Britain’s greatest mountain range, the Black Cuillin, dominate the island’s heart, their jagged peaks quickening the pulse even from a distance. Stretching north into the blue waters of the Minch is the Trotternish Peninsula, a region characterised by its awesome rock formations. Skye’s magnificent coast, peppered with breathtaking sights, will have your soul soaring too.


Hikes around the Isle of Skye are also rich in wildlife. Dolphins, whales and basking sharks can be spotted offshore, eagles claim dominion of the sky and the heather moors are patrolled by red deer. Skye’s human inhabitants, many who have gravitated to this uniquely inspiring island from far flung places, are hugely welcoming and will take great pleasure in assisting your search for adventure, perhaps over a dram of whisky in one of the island’s traditional pubs.


Top 20 best walks and hikes on the Isle of Skye

    1
    Intermediate
    02:42
    4.21 mi
    1.6 mph
    900 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    2
    Intermediate
    02:31
    5.06 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,025 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
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  • 3
    Easy
    01:40
    3.50 mi
    2.1 mph
    575 ft
    575 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    4
    Difficult
    03:49
    5.27 mi
    1.4 mph
    1,750 ft
    1,750 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    5
    Easy
    01:00
    2.38 mi
    2.4 mph
    75 ft
    75 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    6
    Intermediate
    04:41
    7.36 mi
    1.6 mph
    1,675 ft
    1,675 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    7
    Easy
    00:39
    1.37 mi
    2.1 mph
    200 ft
    200 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    8
    Intermediate
    03:55
    5.52 mi
    1.4 mph
    1,800 ft
    1,800 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    9
    Difficult
    04:42
    5.47 mi
    1.2 mph
    2,750 ft
    2,750 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    10
    Easy
    01:24
    3.04 mi
    2.2 mph
    350 ft
    350 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    11
    Easy
    01:59
    4.47 mi
    2.2 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    12
    Easy
    01:56
    4.31 mi
    2.2 mph
    400 ft
    400 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    13
    Difficult
    06:52
    15.7 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    14
    Easy
    00:48
    1.83 mi
    2.3 mph
    125 ft
    125 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    15
    Difficult
    04:58
    8.26 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,950 ft
    1,975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    04:32
    10.0 mi
    2.2 mph
    900 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    17
    Intermediate
    01:54
    4.43 mi
    2.3 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    18
    Intermediate
    01:26
    3.24 mi
    2.3 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    19
    Difficult
    06:33
    7.69 mi
    1.2 mph
    3,375 ft
    3,375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    20
    Difficult
    06:09
    9.61 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,875 ft
    2,875 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View

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More Information

The Black Cuillin


For mountain lovers, the best hiking routes around the Isle of Skyeare those found amongst the Black Cuillin. Forged from the remains of an ancient volcano’s magma chamber, the Cuillin are Britain’s youngest and most intimidating mountain range. Hewn of basalt and gabbro rock, their serrated forms and devilish spires set them apart from the mountains of the British mainland, both in terms of character and challenge.


While most of the summits involve a fair amount of scrambling to attain, there are plenty of superb objectives for hikers, both around and among the Cuillin. The neighbouring Red Cuillin are easier to ascend and reward with magnificent panoramas, while there are plenty of places to seek out unique views of the range.


Staggering peninsulas, ancient landslides and a majestic coast


As impressive as they are, the Cuillin are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hikes around the Isle of Skye. The Trotternish Peninsula is another uniquely mesmerising place to hike. It is characterised by an immense landslide that runs for around 20 miles (32 km) along its hilly spine. This landslip has created some of Skye’s most iconic sights, such as the gothic pinnacle of the Old Man of Storr and the otherworldly formations of the Quiraing. Away from these two much-visited sights, the entire Trotternish range is a delight to explore.


Nowhere else in Britain fuses staggering mountain landscapes and majestic coast quite like Skye. Its storm-battered cliffs, dramatic headlands and white sand beaches are wonderful, backed by the islands of the Hebrides. Under the summer sun, the waters of its bays appear almost tropical blue and wildlife is a constant along the shore. 


Skye practicalities


Motorists can access Skye from the Scottish mainland via Skye Bridge, while there are also ferries from Harris, North Uist and from the mainland at Mallaig, which can be accessed by train from Glasgow. Portree is the main town on the island and is a good base, while Sligachan and Glen Brittle are the best base camps for Cuillin adventure.


Walks around the Isle of Skye are always at the whim of the elements. Expect atmospheric, cloudy weather and come prepared for plenty of rain. It makes those rare clear days all the more magical. Of course, warm and wet summer days are favoured by midges, so make sure you have repellent and also pack a tick twister.

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