About this blog

Just having a bit of fun here, posting about walks and other stuff. I need to get out more.

Monday, 30 April 2012

A Long Walk on the Isle of Skye (Part 2)

Day 2. Inver Dalavil to Loch Eishort

It was another cold night in the tent but I had a better night's sleep and awoke to another glorious morning on the Isle of Skye. I opened the tent to the sight of another clear blue sky and hardly a breath of wind.

I had a leisurely breakfast and eventually packed up and set off walking at about 08:00. The walk today was to be almost entirely along the west Sleat coastline and the views to the Cuillins were first class all day.
The first three miles were quite strenuous, there is a vague path in places but generally this section is rough going and time consuming just picking out a route above the shoreline.

West Sleat coastal scenery

I reached the beach of Tarskavaig Bay and chatted to a lady out walking her dog, she warned me of impending heavy rain and gales, forecast to move in from the west at about 5pm. It was hard to believe this news given the stunning weather so far on the walk.


The next section of the walk follows the road to Tarskavaig and Loch Gauscavaig to Ob Gauscavaig, which is a stunning little bay with great views of Bla-Bheinn and the Black Cuillins, an ideal spot for a rest and a lazy lunch. 

Loch Gauscavaig

Mindful of the impending storm I decided to make the best of the good weather and detour slightly to the ruins of Dunscaith Castle which is beautifully situated at the entrance to the bay.

Dunscaith Castle ruins
The main stairway to the castle has long since collapsed but it is possible to tiptoe along a ledge to gain access to the top of the castle ruins. The views from here were the best of the trip so far.

Wow factor goes off the scale
Rather than retrace my steps back to the road I decided it was time for a bit more rough stuff and headed out over Druim Dubh, knee deep heather bashing, deer fences and the occasional boggy bits led me to another lovely bay at Inver Aulavaig. This would have been a great place to camp but I decided it was too early in the day and  wanted to push on a bit further if the weather was about to break as forecast.

Inver Aulavaig
Approaching Ord
More of the same rough coastal walking took me to the small settlement of Ord.
It was impossible to rush any part of the walk today, the views were quite simply breathtaking and improved with every step taken. Many times I paused to soak it all up. I temporarily left the sea behind at Ord and took the road out of the village for about 1km, I then ascended to half height of Sgiath-bheinn an-Uird, a magnificent block of white quartzite stretching for 3km from above Loch Eishort.

Sgiath-bheinn an-Uird
I didn't have the time to visit the top of this hill today and instead followed a faint track which traverses below the hill to some lovely woodland before descending to Loch Eishort at the outflow of Allt a-Chinn Mhor where I pitched the tent.

Loch Eishort Camp
It was not yet 4pm but I decided that this spot would do just fine and I pottered about on the beach doing nothing much at all.
I managed to get a few text messages away and blogger Carl Mynott confirmed the weather was about to take a turn for the worse for the next 18 hours or so.
At just before 8pm the first drops of rain hit the tent, the wind stiffened significantly and I lay looking out at the Loch reflecting on a great day. Just at that moment a fox trotted down from the woods behind the tent to the Loch side less than 30 yards away from me, I reached for the camera but before I had time to take a photo, it sensed my presence and quickly ran back to the cover of the woods.
Eventually I zipped up the tent and drifted off into a deep whisky induced sleep.

Day 3. Loch Eishort to Broadford

Considering the conditions I had slept like a log apart from one or two occasions when the wind and heavy rain were at their most ferocious. 
When I unzipped the tent for a call of nature at about 5.30 I realised just how heavy the rain had been. The level of the Loch had risen significantly and the Allt a-Chinn Mhor, which had been nothing more than a trickle last night, was now in full spate.

Water morning
I didn't hang about this morning and was packed up and walking before 07:00. I had concerns that the planned day via Heast, Boreraig and Suishnish may well be dangerous in these spate conditions, I was proven right as it took me almost two hours to walk a mile and a half to the stony beach below Drumfearn. There were many more burns on the ground this morning than were shown on the map and all were raging torrents posing problems to cross. It was raining again now as the time had come to make a decision.
Without further ado, I bailed out along the minor road to meet the A851 and hitched a lift to Broadford Backpackers Hostel where I spent the night..
By the time I had got cleaned up, done a bit of shopping in the Coop and had some fish and chips, the weather had reverted to clear blue skies again as if the storm had never happened.
I was now off route and left with the headache of trying to get to Torrin early the next day to continue the walk.


  1. Sounds wonderful (apart from the rain and the torrents). Thank you for sharing. Great photos.

  2. Looks like a decent path from Ord for a little distance anyway. I think I'll use that next week. Hoping it stays a bit drier for my journey to Heaste and Torrin.

    Lovely pictures Dave and now hoping I can get the same views.Thanks for getting the post up before I leave.

  3. It seems such a shame to go to Broadford after your adventure and then return. I have been to Torrin but i can't remember anything of it.
    Was there nothing in Torrin to get you out of the conditions for a night? A B&B or bothy. But i can understand the call for some good fish and chips.
    Great to read btw.

  4. You swine, Dave! There I was idly dreaming about putting my Akto on Ebay and putting my feet up - then I read all this. Excellent!

    Hope to see you on the Challenge in 2013 ;-)

  5. Ruth, thanks for the nice comments, more nice photos to follow. The difficult part of this blog has been deciding which ones to leave out. Fabulous trip.

    Pete, There is a bit of hard work to be done to gain the track/path just below Sgiath-bheinn an-Uird, but it is worth the effort. You may be able to carry on, above the woods a bit further than I did. Its rough going from where I camped onwards to the beach of Drumfearn, look forward to reading your write up.

    Alan, All will be explained in Part 3. Felt bad about missing part of the planned route out but it was the sensible thing to do on the day.

    Phil, My Challenge days might be over after this trip! I fell in love with Skye and want to return as often as I can. I know the weather made the trip exceptional, but there is just a special feel to the island that I can't really explain...Part 3 almost ready to post :-)

  6. Dave! I tried to read this without looking at the photos but it was impossible. Wonderful wonderful views, a good account of a walk with place names I know and place names I do not.

    What a sod that Carl Mynott is telling you all the doom and gloom was about to descend. If I see him I will have a word.


    Carl Mynott