The routes listed below are merely suggestions and can be shortened or combined to suit your personal preferences, or the length of daylight when you're visiting, but wherever you choose to go we would recommend you fill up with fuel and light snacks in Kyle or Broadford before heading off for the day - and always have a map with you, (We suggest buying The Official Tourist Map 24 by Estate Publications). These journeys are designed to take full advantage of particularly long summer days, where it is still light at 10pm and often later!
Being so close to the Skye Bridge enables our guests to easily tour the mainland while staying here: Gairloch, Ullapool, Inverewe Gardens, Loch Maree, Loch Carron, Loch Ness, Glenelg, Applecross, Torridon, Inverness, Mallaig, Fort William to name just a few and don't forget from Mallaig it's just a hop and a jump across to the Small Isles of Eigg, Muck, Rum & Canna! Click here to find locations of Arts & Crafts galleries and also places to eat while across the Bridge.
Also, for a real flavour of Wester Ross, we can't think of a better site than Steve Carter's Wester Ross - Jewel of the Highlands.
This area presents us with awe-inspiring scenery, where tiny crofting and fishing communities huddle within the glens and along coastal waters, where the terrain makes only a single track road viable and where your camera is never out of your hand! Loch Torridon has to be in our Top 10 Scottish Lochs and is battling with Loch Maree for No.1 status!
Loch ShieldaigClick here for more information
Attadale Gardens - a lovely relaxing start to your day, with a quirky self service Tea room!
Just a couple of miles further along the loch, why not pop into Carron Pottery and Carron Restaurant, if you fancy a bit of retail therapy and a yummy mid morning snack, while enjoying the lovely view out across Loch Carron.
Applecross Pass (Bealach na Ba) takes you over 2000 ft across the mountains, with stunning views across to Skye & the Western Isles.
The drive up the west coast of the Applecross Peninsula is wild and untamed, with views across to Raasay and Skye, but once you turn inland you discover a whole new world of secluded communities set into steep sided coastal inlets and lochs, with stunning views across Loch Torridon and Loch Shieldaig. Torridon offers many opportunites for walking and you can check out walks on www.walkhighlands.co.uk/torridon alternatively you could try your hand at Archery or something more adventurous at Torridon Activities
Driving back through Kishorn, you could pop into Kishorn Seafood Bar or possibly head a bit closer to home and pop back into the Carron Restaurant. Depending on the time you could just pop back to Kyleakin and eat somewhere local of course!×
Loch Carron, Kinlochewe,
Loch Maree, Gairloch, Inverewe Gardens, Corrieshalloch Gorge, Ullapool.
This is one of the longer day trips, but the lochs, rugged coastline, gorgeous beaches and internationally renowned Gardens you will experience, make for a truly memorable day! Gruinard Bay and Gairloch beaches are an absolute treat for beach lovers, while the stunning Loch Maree vies to be our No.1 Scottish Loch with Loch Torridon!
Loch MareeClick here for more information
No time to hang around the Loch Carron area on this particular trip - just enjoy the scenery as you drive past the Loch and after passing Strathcarron, turn right, to head off to Achnasheen and Kinlochewe.
If you're feeling a wee bit peckish by the time you reach Kinlochewe, you could pop into the Whistle Stop Cafe for a mid morning snack.
As you head out of Kinlochewe you will pass Britain's 1st National Nature Reserve, Beinn-Eighe - they have 2 car parks and there are great trails heading out from both, with the main visitor centre being at the 1st carpark (on the left) and the walks from the 2nd carpark (on the right) provide fantastic views down across Loch Maree.
There are many fantastic walks to be found across this area and it would be useful to have an idea where they are in relation to your planned route, so check out the Walkhighlands pages before heading out. For instance if you fancy walking to Red Point Beaches then you will be taking a detour after leaving the shores of Loch Maree before reaching Gairloch:
The road diverts away from the Loch and heads off to Gairloch which offers many attractions, for instance you could check out the Gairloch Heritage Museum, Rua Reidh Lighthouse, Gairloch Golf Course, Gairloch Pony Trekking, Solas Art Gallery, Shellfish Safari or the Gairloch Marine Life Centre and Cruises, to name just a few!
Just a little further northeast, the road provides another viewpoint of Loch Maree, before it passes through Poolewe, where you will find the world famous Inverewe Gardens.
At Poolewe, you could choose to return home via the same route or alternatively, keep on going to meet up with the A835, heading south from Ullapool to Inverness, which you join south bound, joining the A832 at the Gorsten junction, signposted back to Kyle of Lochalsh and Skye - this route is deceptively efficient, so don't worry about it adding on a great deal of time to your journey!
The scenery north of Poolewe is simply awesome, with a coastal drive right up there with the best of them, where you will enjoy the beautiful beaches of Gruinard Bay and numerous great viewpoints, looking across Little Loch Broom to the Summer Isles and Loch Broom to Ullapool.
Another great reason for taking this extended circular route, is to experience the stunning Corrieshalloch Gorge, where those with vertigo can give themselves a bit of a challenge!×
Loch Ness (Urquhart Castle), Inverness (Fort George, Cawdor Castle, Culloden). Loch Carron (Rogie Falls).
This is a lovely day trip which enables guests to enjoy both Loch Ness & Loch Carron. Depending on the attractions you want to go in to, the decision will be made as to which route you choose 'going'! The attractions along the return route will generally need to be ignored, unless you're returning early evening while it's still light and things are still open.
Urquhart Castle, Loch NessClick here for more information
Let's assume we head out Loch Ness way - we can start by checking out any walks you may be interested in along the Loch at Walkhighlands.
Urquhart Castle is an excellent visitor attraction offering the added bonus of probably the best vantage points across Loch Ness
Of course no visit to Loch Ness is complete without at least considering popping into one of the 2 Monster visitor centres, (the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition or Nessieland), and picking up one of the obligatory bright green cuddly Nessies!
If there are only 2 of you, then you could get Shuggy (the Trike) to take you to your choice of destination/s - he will pick you up wherever is convenient for your car to be parked while you're with him!
You could return home when you've done the tourist thing, but why not plan an early evening of fine dining instead, maybe at the Rocpool, Joy of Taste, Cafe 1 or The Mustard Seed - there are many more of course, but couldn't fit them all in here!, followed later by an evening at the theatre or a movie, before heading back home. Yes, you would be a dirty stoppy out, but then you're allowed 'cos you're on holiday!!
The drive back along Loch Carron takes you past Rogie Falls which is a true force of nature and well worth stopping at, if you're doing this journey in the daylight, in which case you could possibly choose to eat at Carron Restaurant on the way home or have a table pre-booked for your return at one of our local restaurants.×
Ferry Armadale - Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Glenfinnan Monument & Viaduct, Fort William (probably just for food!), Spean Bridge, Cluanie, Kintail, Eilean Donan Castle, the Skye Bridge.
A great day trip taking in the rugged beauty of Lochaber, with its beautiful white beaches and historical Glenfinnan Monument & viaduct; leading you to Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, before heading back through the grandeur of the Gen Shiel and Kintail mountain ranges, to reach the world famous Eilean Donan Castle, on your way back to the Skye Bridge.
Glenfinnan MonumentClick here for more information
You really need to be heading for the 1st ferry of the day (8.50 am), to enable you to get the most out of your day - we can offer our guests a 7.30am breakfast to accommodate this early start or simply provide a croissant/bagel packup - whichever you prefer!
Again, check out the Walkhighlands pages for great walks all along this route.
Having arrived in Mallaig (9.29am), one option is to simply park up for the day (you could leave the car in Armadale to save money on the ferry crossing, if you choose this option) and wait around for the Knoydart Ferry (10.15am) to take you round to Inverie and Britain's most remote pub, The Old Forge, on the Knoydart Peninsula, where you can spend the day relaxing and enjoying the stunning scenery in one of the last true wildernesses, while enjoying the company and food at the pub - you will have 4 hours ashore (the return trip takes you via Loch Nevis during the summer months), always arriving back in Mallaig in ample time for the return ferry (6pm) to Armadale, or if you brought the car across, then you could follow the Road to the Isles back to Fort William and up to the Skye Bridge (approx. 2.5 -3 hr drive), simply treating it as a scenic drive, as most shops/attractions will be closing up for the evening.
Another option, if you want to stay around Mallaig is a great walk starting at Bracorina, (a short bus or car drive from Mallaig), along the shores of Loch Morar to Tarbert, on the shores of Loch Nevis, where the Knoydart Ferry will collect you on it's return journey to Mallaig, in time for the last ferry (6pm) back to Armadale.
Assuming your aim is to drive "The Road to the Isles", then while in Mallaig, you could take some time out to enjoy this often neglected little port, with it's rich history, which can be unwrapped at the Mallaig Heritage Centre. As you drive out of Mallaig, you will cross the River Morar, after which you need to turn right onto the B8008, to discover the absolutely breathtaking scenery along the Morar coastline leading to Arisaig. Make the most of this road and stop often! The coastline and views are just beautiful. You could stop off and enjoy an impromptu round of golf at Traigh Golf course and when you finally reach Arisaig, towards the end of the B8008, before it rejoins the main A830, why not pop in to Cafe Rhu for a yummy lunch, either before or after investigating The Land, Sea and Islands Centre.
Heading on towards Glenfinnan, keep your eyes peeled on the right side of the road, for the picture postcard Catholic church of St Mary's and St Finnans, in its idyllic setting on the shores of Loch Shiel, just along from the Glenfinnan Monument. The church is open to the public and still offers mass on Sundays, and is certainly worth a stop off! Just a short drive from the church you are confronted by Glenfinnan Viaduct and then as you turn the bend, Glenfinnan Monument stands proudly to your right, at the head of Loch Shiel. The museum and car park are on your left, with a great walk up to the viaduct kindly mapped out yet again by Walkhighlands. You might want to consider a short 1 hr cruise on Loch Shiel while you're here, departing Mon, Tue, Thur & Fri at 12.45, or maybe a 2.5 hr cruise departing at 2pm, same days + Sunday. All cruises leave from Glenfinnan and you can leave your car in the Glenfinnan House Hotel for free. Before reaching Fort William, you could take in a bit of natural history bling, by visiting Treasures of the Earth, in the village of Corpach, just a few miles short of your final destination. Shortly after Corpach you reach Banavie, where you can pull into the village carpark and walk to Neptunes Staircase (a staircase of 8 locks), which is an incredible feat of engineering on the Caledonian Canal.
Once you reach the junction with the A82, depending on the time, you may want to head up to the Nevis Range and take the Gondola (closes between 4-6pm depending on the time of year and visibility) up Aonach Mor, to 2150 ft, to be rewarded with the most fantastic views in all directions - weather willing of course!
You may want to head into Fort William for something to eat and unfortunately there are so many options here we feel the need to pass the baton to your fellow travellers at Tripadvisor.
Alternatively you may want to make headway back in our direction to enjoy the spectacular scenery passing through Spean Bridge and into Glen Shiel, where the road winds its way between the mountains, reminding you of nature's dominance in the Highlands. Moving on through Kintail you will see the turn off for the Skye Ferry at Shiel Bridge (for another day perhaps!), before winding your way past Kintail Lodge (you could have dinner here). Driving along the shores of Loch Duich you turn a corner and come face to face with Eilean Donan Castle and depending on the time (and weather of course!), you could have the perfect sunset shot waiting for you! Only a 15 min drive back home now, but you could pop into Dornie, to the Clachan Inn for dinner perhaps?×
Kylerhea Ferry, Glenelg, Brochs, Loch Hourn, Arnisdale & Corran, Mam Ratagan Pass, Shiel Bridge, Kintail, Eilean Donan Castle, Kyle, Skye Bridge.
This day trip is all about the scenery and the great outdoors, so you really want good weather for this expedition and definitely peruse the Walkhighlands pages before setting off!
The Glenachulish Skye FerryClick here for more information
The drive down to the Skye Ferry and Kylerhea is an experience in its own right and not necessarily for the faint hearted, but the views looking back to Broadford are great and the view down to the Kylerhea Straits and Glenelg really is something to behold. Before driving right down to the ferry, you will see the signpost left to the Otter Haven, where you can park up and walk along the hillside looking down to the shoreline and the Straits, before sitting down for a while to do some otter spotting! The views from here are fantastic across to the Glenelg Peninsula. The ferry crossing only takes 4 mins and the ferry goes back and forth roughly every 15/20 mins depending how busy they are. Keep an eye our for the local Sea Eagles and passing seals, porpoise, dolphin and of course the ever elusive otters!
Once you've crossed to Glenelg you'll drive past a lovely white beach which seemingly acts as an impromptu caravan park come sheep field - nevertheless the views are fantastic, with crystal clear waters, and it's well worth walking around the rocky outcrop to the left, to get a still better vantage point! Continuing to drive along the single track road you will reach a junction where you turn right, to further investigate this beautiful and remote area, heading through Glenelg village and at the little bridge, turn left into Glen Beag, where you'll discover 2 well preserved Iron Aged Brochs, right by the side of the road. Before heading off, do pop into The Wagon at Corrary Farm, for a chinwag, while Amy makes you a fine pot of coffee to have with some delicious home baking!
Returning to the main road, turn left to continue round the coastline towards Sandaig, where there is a great walk direct from the main road down to the shoreline - simply park up by the entrance to the Forestry Commission.
As the road turns onto the side of Loch Hourn (Gaelic for Hell Loch), the scenery steps up yet another gear, as it sweeps you down to the remote and truly idyllic village of Arnisdale and at the very end of the public road, the tiny community of Corran, where you can pop into Sheena's famous "Tea hut", for a wee snack! While here, you must pop into the Ceildidh House and Heritage Centre, to delve into the history of this unique community. The local deer just wander around these villages with seemingly no fear - maybe they think they own this little piece of paradise!
When you finally manage to drag yourself away from this stunning loch, drive back out through Glenelg, but at the junction for the Skye Ferry, simply continue on the road you're on and prepare your senses for Mam Ratagan Pass. The road gradually climbs up the back end of Mam Ratagan, with gorgeous views along the way, but nothing compares to what awaits you as you come out the other side at over 1100 ft, with the most awe inspiring panorama laid out in front of you! There are 2 viewpoints and you simply have to stop and enjoy both... Did you remember your picnic?
As you reach the bottom of the Pass, there is an option to turn left to Ratagan and you can actually follow this loch side road all the way to Totaig at the end of the track, but if you follow Walkhighlands suggestion, park up at Letterfearn and follow their lovely walking route to discover Dun Totaig, another Iron Aged Broch, but this time with a witch tale attached, while enjoying fantastic views to the Five Sisters of Kintail, Eilean Donan Castle and the Isle of Skye!
Once back at the main road, you will drive towards Shiel Bridge, passing the signs for Shiel Pony Trekking Centre, before reaching the A87, where you will turn left to head Skyewards.
Before you think of returning home though, you could follow the signs for Morvich and enjoy a walk along a truly wild Highland glen, along the River Croe, surrounded by the dominating Five Sisters of Kintail. You can choose how far you go dependent on the time you have to spare and while the walk itself is easy, the rewards are truly priceless... definitely a walk to remember.
Back on the road again, you're heading back towards the world famous Eilean Donan Castle, where you can now walk round the island it stands on, if you don't make it before it closes for the day. The village of Dornie, like Morvich, is beautifully located in amongst some beautiful mountains, with a lovely walk taking you along Loch Long, as far as you fancy going.
You could pop into The Clachan Inn for a bite to eat, or simply head homewards at this point. There may be a sunset on the cards, in which case the decision is whether you want the Skye Bridge in your shot or Eilean Donan Castle, as there is a 15 minute drive between the two! The benefit of being here a few days is you can get both if the weather behaves!×
There are several options for visiting the Small Isles, as part of a day trip from us, which could be seen as a taster of a more lengthy visit in the future perhaps! There are 2 exhilarating RIB trips that will take you on primarily wildlife spotting trips, that do incorporate a landing option on one or more of the Small Isles.
Kinloch Castle, RumClick here for more information
You really need to be heading for the 1st ferry of the day (8.50 am), to enable you to get the most out of your day - we can offer our guests a 7.30am breakfast to accommodate this early start or simply provide a croissant/bagel packup - whichever you prefer!
From its mooring in Arisaig (which is a gorgeous drive from Mallaig, on the B8008, past the silver sands of Morar), The Sheerwater takes visitors round 3 of the 4 Small Isles of Eigg, Rum & Muck, offering a choice of landing options, so you can pick the Island/s you want to further explore! With this particular day out, you will need to be prepared to drive to Fort William and back round to Skye over the Bridge, in which case do check out Trip 4 for eating options, as you could have a table per-booked at Cafe Rhu or down the road to eat in Fort William, before driving back to Skye. Don't forget it's more than likely to still be daylight, so you get to enjoy all the stunning scenery along that particular route, with a gorgeous sunset at some point along the way, weather permitting!
Alternatively, you can stick with Calmac and they will again have different landing scenarios, depending on the day, for all 4 of the Small Isles, Eig, Rum, Muck & Canna. With this option you have a direct connection with the last ferry back from Mallaig to Armadale, so there is no need for the round trip via Fort William, although there is nothing stopping you doing the Trip 4 route anyway, to incorporate the stunning scenery of this drive into your day, with possibly a fantastic sunset enroute.
These 2 options are both focused primarily on marine wildlife spotting, but are still a viable choice for seeing and possibly investigating further one or two of the Small Isles.
AquaXplore heads out from Elgol, which is approx. 45 mins drive from us and tends to focus on trips that include Rum and Canna. The drive down to Elgol is described more fully in Trip 8, so I won't detail it here.
Sea-Fari departs from Armadale, which is approx. 30mins drive from us and tends to focus more on Eigg and Muck. The drive down to Armadale is described more fully in Trip 7, so we won't elaborate here.×
Touring the rest of the Isle of Skye is also easy from the White Heather: the island splits itself handily into peninsulas/regions, which makes planning very simple: Sleat, Strath, Minginish, Bracadale, Duirinish, Waternish, Trotternish and the Portree area.
Ord road, Isle Ornsay,
Armadale (castle & pier),
Ardvasar and Point of Sleat.
The Sleat Peninsula is known as The Garden of Skye and is a perfect day of touring, if you don't want to drive too much, but want to enjoy stunning mountain and coastal scenery, easy walks with beautiful beaches, great arts & crafts, a bit of whisky tasting, a great museum, beautiful gardens and great food!
Point of Sleat, SkyeClick here for more information
Driving from the hotel, just before reaching Broadford, you will come to the junction where you turn left to join the A851 and start your drive down the Sleat Peninsula. You'll first pass an entrance on your left, to the Forestry Commission Trail at Kinloch, which you could choose to do at the beginning or the end of your day, where you can discover the deserted village of Leitir Fura, inhabited primarily by the MacInnes Clan. The views from this walk are fantastic, looking across the Sound of Sleat to both the Knoydart & Glenelg Peninsulas and the beautiful Sandaig islands, previously the home of Gavin Maxwell and his otters.
Slightly further along the road you will pass the turn off for Kinloch Lodge, where you could have a lovely evening meal on your way back home later in the day or even pop in for afternoon tea, if you're back this way earlier enough!
Shortly after passing Kinloch you will see Duisdale Hotel on your right, which could be another evening meal option - if there is one thing Sleat is not short of, it would be Country Houses and their wonderful chefs!
Just a short drive further and you will see the Isle Ornsay Lighthouse on your left and you can turn off to drive down to this idyllic wee coastal community and explore the nooks and crannies, discovering Floraidh's Boutique on the Pier, or perhaps some beautiful art work in Heaven's Ocean. You should also pop into An Talla Dearg to see what exhibition they have on - they produce a list of exhibitions for the year ahead. If you are a whisky lover then you have to call in at the Gaelic Whiskies also at Eilean Iarmain, where they offer free tastings if their famously unchilfiltered Whiskies. Regardless of the retail therapy offered in this beautiful little harbour community, one has to love the peacefulness and stunning views, across to Isle Ornsay and it's picture postcard lighthouse.
Returning to the main road, you will shortly come to a right turn, signposted "Ord", to take you round one of the most scenic drives on the island - I jest not! This loop road will take you first through Ord, then to Tokavaig and Tarskavaig, before reaching Achnachloich and returning you to the main road at Ostaig, where you'll find Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic College.
The drive is all single track and the scenery is stunning, so although it is only 12 miles, the drive time is considerably more than you expect - and rightly so, as you will want to stop at each of the small communities. There is a small but beautiful private garden at Ord, by the beach, that the public can look round, the ruins of Dunscaith Castle at Tokavaig that your can walk out to and then further along the road at Tarskavaig, you can pop into the Blue Studio Gallery.
Once you return to the main road, you could choose to visit the Gaelic College and delve further into the culture and language of this area. You could check out Seall's website also, to see if there are events going on while you're here that you may want to attend, more often than not based at the college or sometimes at Armadale Castle.
Keep on driving and you will find yourself at Armadale Castle, where you can explore their gorgeous gardens, woodlands and possibly head up onto the hills behind, using the many trails within their grounds, for magnificent views across to Knoydart and Mallaig over on the mainland.
Pop into the Museum of the Isles, while you're here and then head over to the main building where you'll find both the Stables Restaurant and Armadale's large gift shop for some retail therapy.
From here you could walk (or drive) to Armadale Pier, but as you pass the Filling Station on your left, why not pop into Nigel Grounds' Art Gallery and maybe treat yourself to piece of local artwork. Working your way round the bend in the road, towards the Pier, you'll also pass the Bay Pottery and Grumpy George at Skyelark, before reaching the Pier itself. Once on the pier your retail therapy can continue (if you can tear yourself away from the view!), with Ragamuffin and The Isle of Skye Leather Co. (who can also be found in Kyle of Lochalsh).
Shopping aside, you can of course head out to the Small Isles on a whale watching adventure with SeaFari, from the pier - they do trips of varying lengths, but it would make sense to pre-book, so you can plan your day around the trip.
There is one last secret place to tell you about here at Armadale... hidden away behind the Pier and Ragamuffin, a place that only the lucky few ever discover and today, you become one of the few! Rubha Phoil... the walk is also covered by Walkhighlands.
Alternatively, if you fancy discovering a true hidden gem of a beach, with awesome views along the walk to reach it, then you need to go back to the main junction you've just passed and take the road signed for Ardvasar, although this is not your final destination. You're now back to single track and although the quality of the road surface stays the same, the width of the road will reduce the closer you get to your end destination, which is quite literally the end of the public road! However your journey will be worth it, with absolutely stunning views all the way along this remote coastal road, which boasts a surprisingly high number of homes and small communities along the way! Before you park up and run off to the beach, you might want pop into the Aird Old Church Gallery and Craft Studio, where you'll find the work of artist Peter McDermott and other craft workers.
When you reach the end of the road, simply park up and walk through the farmers gate - remembering to close it behind you! Walkhighlands have provided an overview of this walk to the Point of Sleat with it's pristine and secluded little beach at the end - a worthy reward, but do remember to take plenty of water and snacks with you and bring the rubbish back!
Heading back up the peninsula you will pass back through Ardvasar, where if you're feeling peckish (and haven't already pre-booked a table at one of the Country House Hotels or a restaurant closer to home!), you could call in and have a lovely meal at the Ardvasar Inn, either in the dining room or the bar.
Continuing on the main road you will now drive the section of the A851 you missed by taking the loop road to Ord. Knock Castle is the main historical attraction you missed and here you will see it to the right of the road overlooking Knock Bay, just before you pass another fine Country House Hotel with a great restaurant, namely Toravaig.×
Strath - Breakish, Broadford, Cil Criosd Church ruins & graveyard, possible walk out to Suishnish & Borreraig (deserted villages from clearances), Torrin & Loch Slapin, Elgol (boat trip).
For such an unassuming part of Skye, Strath packs a hefty punch and demands our attention. From the stunning panorama confronting you at Broadford Bay, or the awe inspiring views, driving from Broadford to Elgol, or indeed the show stopping view of the Cuillins from Elgol itself, you will be struggling to drag yourself away from this mountainous and picturesque chunk of Skye!
View across to the Cuillins from ElgolClick here for more information
If you are a walker then definitely check out the Walkhighlands pages for Broadford and Elgol, before setting out today!
Broadford meanwhile, is host to a plethora of Arts & Crafts galleries and studios, so you could easily spend a couple of hours spending your money here, while enjoying the stunning coastal views from Breakish, through Waterloo to Broadford itself. You could check out the Woodrising Gallery & the Three Herons Studio, The Handspinner Having Fun & the Sandbank Studio, followed by Skyeline Ceramics, Isle of Skye Candle Company & maybe even James Adams - there'll certainly be no moths left in your wallet!
The coastline around Breakish (a good spot is close to the grave yard, where you can get to the beach over a turnstile) may be somewhere to return to for a great sunset, weather dependent of course!
At the Broadford Hotel, turn left and follow the B8083 signed to Elgol and it won't be long before you reach the photogenic ruined Church of Cill Chriosd where you can choose to head off with Walkhighlands on an adventure, to reach the deserted villages of Suisnish and Boreraig (this would be your whole day if you decide to do this), or simply stay and investigate this ancient church and Cill Chriosd Loch of reeds just along the road from the church, both enjoying a great backdrop of Bheinn na Caillich and Bheinn Dearg Mhor, hence the great photographs!
Just as the road splits for Kilbride, you can pull in and walk to the archaeological site of High Pasture Cave, where Late Bronze Age and Iron Age human remains and artefacts have been uncovered. You could also take the small road to Kilbride, where you'll pass a Neolithic standing stone and a well to your right. Keep following this road down and round to the left and you'll reach Camas Malag bay, from where you could also walk to the deserted villages of Suisnish and Boreraig, where if you return by the same route, should shorten the walk considerably from the circular route described from Cill Criosd Church.
Driving further down the road you reach Torrin, where I would highly recommend popping into the Fairtrade Blue Shed Cafe and if the weather is behaving, then you could take your lunch onto the verandah and enjoy the most incredible vista across Loch Slapin to the mighty Bla Bheinn.
There is a great, illustrated description of this gorgeous 7 mile drive, from Broadford to Loch Slapin & Bla Bheinn, on blaven.com, a site dedicated to this beautiful area and its very famous mountain!
Driving down and around Loch Slapin, look out for otters on the shoreline and simply breathe in the scenery surrounding you. There is a car park coming up on your right, from where you can walk out in several directions. If you continue driving you will eventually pass a signed turn off on your right, to Duncan House, a Master Goldsmith, who produces fine jewellery and knives in his workshop - we highly recommend a visit here!
The road now drops down to a junction, where you can take the road off to Kilmarie and the church there, park up and walk to Dun Ringill, which was the original seat of Clan Mackinnon before they moved to Castle Moil. It was built on the site of an earlier iron age broch or fort. You also get to see Kilmarie Chambered Cairn on your way back to the car.
Back to the main road and continue on this road until it drops down into the now famous village of Elgol, with it's world famous and well photographed view of the Cuillins, over Loch Scavaig. You can choose to park in the upper carpark, and maybe pop into Cuillin View Gallery & Coffee Shop, or walk round the Community Centre and discover Elgol Shop, who also serve homemade takeout refreshments.
Drive or walk down to the pier at Elgol and you are immediately treated to "the view" that everyone's talking about, so have your camera ready!! You have several boat trips vying for your custom here (3 boats take you to the point where Loch Coruisk flows into Loch Scavaig, while AquaXplore takes you out whale watching) and all can be pre-booked (which we would recommend doing, especially during the summer months), they are all mentioned and linked to, on our Boat Trips page.
The return to Broadford is the same route that brought you down here and if it's evening as you're driving away from Elgol, you might want to consider Coruisk House for an evening meal (serve from 7pm) although pre-booking this earlier in the day may be advisable - the food here is yummy!
Alternatively, you may want to get back to Broadford to enjoy an evening meal here in one of the many restaurants listed on our Food page and possibly head to the coastline around either Waterloo or Breakish to get a sunset shot if the weather is obliging, before heading home.×
Minginish, Bracadale, Duirinish & Waternish - Talisker Distillery, Glenbrittle, Talisker Bay, Dun Beag Broch, Dunvegan Castle, Neist Point Lighthouse, Skyeskyns, Trumpan Church.
This western chunk of Skye consists of several smaller peninsulas, with several impressive beaches hidden along dramatic coastline, mixed with many fantastic walks to suit every ability level, including the mighty Cuillin themselves, Talisker Distillery, Dunvegan Castle & Dun Beag Broch, Neist Point Lighthouse and long sunsets, if you can hang around!
Glenbrittle, SkyeClick here for more information
Don't forget if you want to do some walking, to check out Walkhighlands for this area, before heading off for the day - due to the Cuillins being here, the guide splits this whole area into 2 sections:
There is also an incredible number of Arts & Crafts places around the northwest of Skye, so rather than list them individually, we thought it best to simply link to the Arts & Crafts Association's own PDF guide, where you will see what we mean!
The first stop approx. half an hour into this tour has to be Sligachan, if not for a simple walk along the river into Glen Sligachan, then definitely as a photo stop for the view of both the Red and Black Cuillin. The Sligachan Hotel is an easy choice for an evening meal perhaps, as you're returning from your day touring, or for a hot chocolate if you managed an early morning stroll into the glen, as suggested!
At Sligachan turn left onto the A863, but remember to make use of the various lay-bys, to enjoy the views looking back to the Black Cuillin in particular, as they are quite spectacular from this road.
You will shortly come to the turn off for Glenbrittle, Talisker Distillery (Carbost) and Talisker Bay (Talisker), where the road immediately drops down to single track - welcome to the Minginish Peninsula! Driving down this road, the first signed turning on your left is the road down to Glenbrittle, which constitutes a real "must do", as it's the closest the road actually gets to the Cuillins themselves and has several carparks where you can stop and walk into the mountains or simply sit and enjoy the impressive vista that confronts you here. The first carpark on the right, has a signpost pointing you in the direction of the famous Fairy Pools, but you could alternatively take the Glen Brittle and Loch Eynort forestry walk, from the same starting point.
Continue driving and the road passes a lovely waterfall on your left, opposite the Youth Hostel, which is worth stopping for too and is a much closer walk than the Fairy Pools, while still offering some lovely photo opportunities. When your drive finally reaches Glenbrittle Beach, there's yet more parking and the opportunity to simply enjoy the beach and its very special location.
Drive back to the main road and turn left to head towards Carbost & Talisker Distillery, but before you get there you might choose to take the next teeny weeny road on the left, signed to Talisker Bay. This is a photographers dream beach and is reached by a short easy walk - it may be worthwhile trying to time this with a low tide.
Back to the main road again and you will drop down into the village of Carbost, where you'll find Talisker Distillery at the end of the village, before the road starts a twisty climb beyond the distillery, towards the truly remote townships of Portnalong and Fiscavaig. You could explore this remote extension to the road and have a deserving pot of tea at Milinke Crafts where they may be able to relieve you of some cash in their interesting wee gift shop, or you could check out Loch Harport Gallery at Portnalong.
After your tour at the distillery drive back to the main road and turn left, continuing your journey north along this stunning coastline, past Loch Harport and then Loch Bracadale, always remembering to stop at lay-bys and look back at the Cuillins, as this road has some of the finest views of the Cuillins, challenging the Ord loop road and Elgol pier in Trips 7 & 8 for top ranking Cuillin Views!! Just after you have driven through Struan, you will come to Dun Beag Broch, where there is a car park and information boards to the left of the road, with the trail heading up to the Broch from the right of the road. Driving further north, your view changes focus, from the mountains behind you to the Macleods Tables in front of you and having checked out the Arts & Crafts PDF, you will know which little roads you want to potentially disappear down (to Rockhill, Roag and Orbost for instance) while always returning to the A863, to continue the journey to Dunvegan village and Castle.
Just as you reach the beginning of Dunvegan you can opt to head off the road again, this time heading onto the Duirinish Peninsula, where you'll find the likes of Skye Silver and Colbost Croft Museum, unassumingly situated next door to the world famous Three Chimneys, where you might have had the foresight to book a table for lunch perhaps? If you didn't plan on eating here (or even if you did!), then we highly recommend stopping by the aptly named Red Roof Gallery, where you can tuck into yummy food (if not already fed!), while enjoying a great welcome and viewing the great artwork on display!
Heading further west you finally reach the end of the public road, where you can leave your car by the roadside, while deciding whether to walk to Neist Point Lighthouse or simply enjoy the views from your current location - the decision will depend on your fitness, mobility levels as although the path is concrete and more than adequate, the gradient going and returning is a force to be reckoned with!!
Heading back to the A863 simply turn right and head through Dunvegan village, turn left at the A850 and follow the road to Dunvegan Castle, turning right into the car park, where you'll first find toilets, the restaurant and one of the gift shops. The entrance to the Castle and Gardens is just across the road, while the seal trips can be accessed either from within the Garden area, or from a separate entrance slightly before the road reaches the castle. If you decide against 'doing' the Castle, or indeed after finishing your Castle visit, you can continue the drive along this road, where you'll be rewarded with the only real view of the Castle without paying for entrance to the grounds and then further along the road you will reach a T-junction where you will see cars parked up along the left hand side, with a farmers gate at the end, where you can then walk to the famous Coral Beaches along the side of Loch Dunvegan.
From Dunvegan Castle you have to drive back to the junction at the north of Dunvegan village, where you now keep left, following signs to Portree. Following the A850 you will turn left onto the B886, which is signed to Stein, on the Waternish Peninsula, passing the Fairy Bridge on your left just as you start the road. There is a bounty of Arts & Crafts places up this peninsula, as you can see from the Associations PDF, but the most obvious one to mention is Skyeskyns, a traditional tannery, providing a free tour downstairs before sending you and your wallet upstairs to the showroom, where we are sure you'll succumb to a treat or two before leaving!
You could also drive down into the beautiful little coastal village of Stein, where you could treat yourself to a meal at the Stein Inn or Lochbay Seafood Restaurant, both offering visitors lunch or evening meals, although Lochbay is closed on a Sunday & Monday.
Driving out of Waternish, turn left onto the A850 and head towards Portree, where you'll drive through Edinbane, where depending on the time, you could call into the Edinbane Pottery along the way.
Depending on whether you have been feasting like kings enroute, you may still fancy something to eat before driving back down to home, in which case call in at Portree (maybe you've already booked ahead?) and check out the restaurants there, or head south and call into either the Sligachan Hotel or Sconser Lodge, for an evening meal, although pre-booking for the latter would be advisable. ×
Trotternish Peninsula & Portree - Portree, Old Man of Storr, Lealt Falls, Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls, Staffin Bay, the Quiraing, Duntulm Castle ruins, Skye Museum of Island Life, Uig, the Fairy Glen.
The Northeast of Skye stands apart from the rest of the island, partly due to its radically different geology, with a wild and rugged appearance, there is nothing soft about this landscape. The Trotternish Peninsula is dominated by the Trotternish Ridge, from the Old Man of Storr, just north of Portree through to the Quiraing which dominates the area around Staffin.
Fairy Glen, SkyeClick here for more information
Don't forget to check out the obligatory Walkhighlands before setting out today, as there are yet again some great walks on the Trotternish Peninsula.
The first stop approx. half an hour into this tour has to be Sligachan, if not for a simple walk along the river into Glen Sligachan, then definitely as a photo stop for the view of both the Red and Black Cuillin - that view changes every day, infact sometimes every hour, so don't be thinking you've seen it all before! The Sligachan Hotel is an easy choice for an evening meal perhaps, as you're returning from your day touring, or for a hot chocolate if you managed an early morning stroll into the glen, as suggested!
This mountainous landscape is going to provide the contrast for the rest of your day up the Trotternish Peninsula, as it really couldn't be more different! When you reach Portree you need to decide whether to stop now, or whether to check it out when you return after your Trotternish adventure. There are a few Skye specific shops/galleries you might fancy, such as Skyeworks Gallery, Skye Cuillin Marbles, Ronald MacDonald, The Tartan Company, Tippecanoe, Vanilla Skye, The Isle of Skye Soap Co. or Over the Rainbow.
From Portree harbour you may want to take a boat trip out to hopefully see the Sea Eagles, which would be best to do first thing in the morning on one of their first trips if possible. There are also a couple of nice walks within Portree itself, walking to The Lump (where the Highland Games takes place), or perhaps walking the Scorrybreac circuit, departing from near the Cuillin Hills Hotel.
The Staffin Museum is an eco museum and as such has written an eco guide to this entire area, from the Old Man of Storr all the way to Flodigarry at it's northern end (although they have set it out from north to south!), which we think is absolutely great and a "must read" before you head this way!
After leaving Portree following signs to Staffin, the road reduces to single track (with sporadic stretches of 2 way traffic) and you quickly gain sight of the Old Man of Storr, across the Storr Lochs of Fada and Leathan.
Along with many others you may want to pull in at this point and take a photo of this view, but be careful not to block other traffic in the process. Driving past these 2 lochs, you will come to a lay-by on the left, next to a pretty little waterfall, which also offers an alternative route up to the Old Man of Storr. Driving a bit further, you reach the carpark for the main route up to the Old Man, and Walkhighlands offer an extended route for those wanting to explore the Storr itself after reaching the pinnacle of the Old Man.
Driving past the the Storr, the road takes you along the sea cliffs with stunning views across to the Isle of Rona and the Applecross Peninsula, with the top of Raasay still visible, south of Rona.
As you continue the drive north, just after you pass Rigg, you will see a viewpoint on your right - do take time to stop here, you won't regret it!
As the road crosses Lealt River, be aware that the lay-by for viewing Lealt Falls and the cliff top walk with views back into the Gorge. Skye's Diatomite mining industry was based along the river Lealt, leading from Loch Cuithir, from where they extracted the diatomite, along a railway line Invertote where it was then taken down to the shore at the base of the cliffs. You can follow the route of the line all the way to back Loch Cuithir using the Walkhighlands guide.
Just a short drive and you reach Culnaknock, where if you park up you can investigate the lovely bay down on the shoreline, with it's attached history.
Driving further north you will reach the car park on your right for Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls, where you will find a viewing platform sticking out over the cliff edge, to provide a great view, past Mealt Falls, to Kilt rock in the distance; being so named because the sides of the cliff look like the pleats of a kilt! The waterfalls do seem to steal the show though, and when the wind is really blowing a hooley, the water will often go up rather than down, providing the windswept visitors with quite a show! You will see the dinosaur connection at the viewpoint where there are information boards for visitors. Don't forget to try the nearby Ellishadder Art Cafe, where you can peruse the arty stuff or tuck into some yummy grub, or both!
Heading now towards the village of Staffin, you will first pass Kilmartin Cemetery, where you can step right back in time, with one of Staffin’s early Christian sites.
Make your way down to Staffin Bay and the pre-historic world is all around you - step back in time and check out the rocky ground for your own dinosaur find! Don't forget to walk up from the bay to discover remnants of the human inhabitants here too and look out to Staffin Island to see the fishing industry of old.
As you drive into and through Staffin, you simply know where your next destination is meant to be, as it is dominating the entire landscape, but before you head to The Quiraing, why not stop off at the Columba Centre first, maybe for some grub, or simply to look round, followed by a nose at the lovely handmade candles, just along the road at Skyelight - a bit of retail therapy!
Just before leaving Staffin, turn left, signed to Uig, this road takes you up to the main carpark for The Quiraing, from where you can take various walking routes out, long or short, but all rewarded with the most dramatic and amazing views, of this totally unique environment.
Continuing out of Staffin, on the main road, if you feel the need for a pot of speciality tea... and not just any old tea... then you need to pop into The Small and Cosy Tearoom at Digg (signposted), where you can also have soup and a roll, along with delicious, freshly baked cakes... but non tea drinkers beware... it's tea or... tea!!
Following the road from Flodigarry, you will first pass Kilmaluag, where you'll find the Trotternish Artist Studio & Gallery (open daily, tel. 01470 552302), home to some beautiful landscape ‘originals’ of the Highlands and Islands, in sepia ink and colour pencil - one of the very few galleries specialising in such drawings.
Driving round the northern tip of the Trotternish Peninsula you will soon see the ruins of Duntulm Castle to your right, parking for which is just a short distance past the ruins in a lay-by on your right. The walk to the ruins rewards visitors with fantastic views out to the Outer Hebrides, if the weather is behaving and maybe even a glimpse of a passing whale or dolphin, as the steep cliffs and shoreline fall into deep Atlantic waters at this point.
This is undoubtedly the most remote and rugged part of Skye, where the living was hard and nowhere better demonstrates this than the Skye Museum of Island Life, which is probably the best museum on the island in our humble little opinion!
After leaving the Skye Museum, you gently drop down into the village of Uig, where you want to head for the pier, where the Sheiling is home to both Ella's Cafe and the Skye Brewery. You will also find Uig Pottery down here too, where during the summer months you can even throw and paint your own pots!
Heading out of Uig, as you head uphill, you will see Captain Fraser's Folly to the right, but after passing the Uig Hotel, you should look for a small road off to the left, signposted to Sheader and Balnaknock, taking this tiny road will transport you into the weird and wonderful scenery of the Fairy Glen.
On the drive back to Portree, you drive past Borve on your left hand side and if you want to investigate some Neolithic standing stones, then take the small road off to Borve (drive through the township and the road will bring you back out onto the A87 without needing to turn round), and you will find them handily located along the road itself!
Continue driving back to Portree, where you could pop into one of the local hotels or restaurants for an evening meal perhaps, depending on the time. There may be a production or a movie you fancy seeing at the Aros Centre, before heading home. Alternatively you may want to simply eat on your way down the island at the Sligachan Hotel or Sconser Lodge, or even back at Broadford.×
Isle of Raasay.
A day tour to the Isle of Raasay is all about the great outdoors, walking, getting back to nature and discovering a pace of life seldom found these days! The Calmac ferry crosses the Sound of Raasay between Sconser (Skye) and Clachan (Raasay), regularly during the day with the last one leaving Churchton Bay, Raasay at 6.05pm. The crossing takes only 20 mins.
RaasayClick here for more information
The drive to Sconser from us, only takes approx. 25 mins with the ferry crossing taking a further 20 mins. Your choice of walking route/s on the island will determine whether you take your car across with you, as the island is only 14 miles from top to bottom, but the starting points for some walks may benefit from a car, to leave more time for the walks themselves.
The main community hub on Raasay is the village of Clachan, situated close to Raasay forest, where there is an easily accessible walk, allowing you to leave the car back in Sconser.
For historical and cultural information Raasay do have their own Community website. For more details information Undiscovered Scotland do have an excellent page dedicated to this beautiful wee island. You can also read about Brochel castle, which lies in ruins on the east coast and forms part of the Screapadal walk detailed by Walkhighlands, so named because of the village ruins left after the clearances that you also walk through.
Probably the most well known story about Raasay is it's now famous, late resident, Calum MacLeod, who got so fed up with the north of the island effectively being cut off from the south, that he single handedly built a 2 mile stretch of road to connect with the existing council road. He even has a page dedicated to himself on Undiscovered Scotland and his own page on Wikipedia!×
Lewis & North Uist
with Calmac Coach tours.
Calmac offer 2 separate single Day Tours departing Uig on Skye, which allow visitors to sample a full day in the Outer Hebrides, without the worry of driving or time keeping for ferry crossings etc.. Both tours depart Uig at 9.40am and they ask guests to arrive no later than 9.10am, so they can gather no's for the coaches on the other side of the water, meaning guests need to have a 7.30 breakfast with us and head off by 8.10am at the latest!
Callanish Standing StonesClick here for more information
The details below will be updated as and when Calmac update their own PDF brochures.
This tour may be cancelled on certain days (normally known in advance) due to adverse tidal conditions, as the smaller ferry crossing between North Uist and Harris can be impassable at times. The tour introduces you to the unique history and culture of these islands, as well as allowing you to enjoy the wonderful wildlife, scenery and archaeology they have to offer.
You can buy packed lunches onboard the main Uig-North Uist ferry, although don't forget you can make up your own in our Guest Kitchenette at the hotel if you prefer. The ferry returns to Uig at 5.40pm, allowing plenty time to either have an evening meal further north on your way back, or head back to the hotel before you dine.
2012 prices: Adult £35, Child £17.50
In 2012 these trips ran Mon, Wed & Fri., 2 May - 28 Sept.
Tours are operated in association with DA Travel & MacLennan Transport.
Phone Uig office for further details on +44 (0)1470 542219, option 2
This tour only operates on a Saturday and doesn't return to Uig until 9.40pm, so you will be in for a long day, but very rewarding non-the-less. This fantastic tour gives you a taste of the rich history and heritage of North Harris and Lewis. You'll explore some of the best known attractions on the island with an experienced tour guide, including Callanish Standing Stones, Dun Carloway Broch and Gearrannan Blackhouse Village (for which a small admission fee will be charged).
2012 prices: Adult £30.50, Child £15.25
In 2012 these trips ran Saturdays only, 26 May - 1 Sept.
Tours are operated in association with MacLennan Transport.
Phone Uig office for further details on +44 (0)1470 542219, option 2×