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Two girls from Slovakia walking Skye Trail

Two girls from Slovakia walking Skye Trail


Postby Lorelai » Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:44 pm

Route description: Skye Trail

Date walked: 09/06/2016

Time taken: 9 days

Distance: 150 km

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TL.DR: We walked the Skye Trail from north to south, with some detours and changes when we decided to do so. At first I talk the itinerary and camping places, then our gear and useful tips.

DAY 1: Duntulm - Rubha Hunish - Flodigarry - Loch Hasco
We walked the cliffs with ease in lovely sunny weather, there are even marking arrows when the path crosses more complicated fences. No difficulties finding the way, cliffs were breathtaking. We cooked dinner at Flodigarry Hostel (staff weren't very thrilled but helped us anyway) and decided to push on to cut a bit from the 30 km stretch of the following day. We camped at a meadow near Loch Hasco (swarmed with midges), but there were prettier camping spots further up, almost below the crags of Quiraing (or at the parking place after passing Quiraing). It's definitely a good idea to push on.
Image
view of Rubha Hunish from the clifftop

DAY 2: Trotternish Ridge - Loch Leathan
We walked it all. In heavy rain and low clouds that blocked almost every view. It's a miracle we didn't get lost... Although the navigation is quite easy most of the time even when the path disappears, just keep walking south with cliffs on your left. I was very worried about the navigation around Storr but we managed nicely, and the road massively improved afterwards. There's a house at the road that leads to the dam, and a nice lady inside gave us the much needed water. Apparently there are reliable streams at Bealach Uige and Bealach a' Chuirn but it was raining and water was streaming literally everywhere around us and we didn't trust it very much. We camped on a drier patch of moorland above the road that leads to the dam. Wet, tired and swarmed with midges.
Image
Hill of the Red Fox, one of the rare views we got

DAY 3: Loch Leathan - Portree - Sligachan
The weather calmed down a bit and it was only drizzling occasionally. This day was really easy compared to the previous one. Paths were mostly obvious, and we arrived to Portree very early. After a lovely meal at Bosville Hotel we decided to skip the tedious asphalt walk of the following day, so we hitched a ride all the way to the end of the road at Braes and walked the coastal section to Sligachan in 1,5 hours. It was definitely a good idea. We camped at Sligachan campsite and got the much needed hygiene and laundry :)
Image
views of Portree from the cliffs

DAY 4: Sligachan - Elgol
This was the part I was looking forward to the most, and it didn't disappoint. Sligachan valley is breathtaking. We took a detour halfway up Sgurr na Stri to enjoy the view of Black Cuilins and then returned back because we were worried about crossing The Bad Step with our big backpacks (turned out we would've managed easily, but better be safe than sorry). Camasunary bothy looked nice and habitable but someone had been smoking there and we both dislike the cigarette smoke very much, so we continued. Coastal path would've been much more lovely if it wasn't for dozens of ticks. We had to brush them off our trousers every half an hour or so... At Elgol we visited the public toilets and camped on the cliffs near the port. It seems to be a frequent camping spot as we were accompanied by 3 more tents. There were some midges when the sea wind stopped. Dinner with such view is something I highly recommend :)
Image
us halfway up Sgurr na Stri

DAY 5: Elgol - Kilmarie
This was our resting day. We took a boat trip to Loch Coruisk with Bella Jane company, and in the afternoon continued a little bit further. We saw some very charming woodlands after Glasnakille. An old shepherd we met advised us on a camping place - apparently the pastures around Kilmarie are full of higland coos and they like to rub against everything, including tents. So we camped on a grassy hill behind Kilmarie. It was windy, so thankfully no midges, but the ground was very uneven.
Image
me at Loch Coruisk

DAY 6: Kilmarie - Luib - Strollamus - Torrin
It was a beautiful sunny day and we decided to prolong our journey, since we saw beautiful Red Cuilins towering all around us. We continued on the Skye trail until the parking place under Bla Bheinn, and then through Strath Mór to Luib. The water in Loch na Sguabaidh was so warm and clear that we had a bath and did our laundry there :) From Luib we continued on the path above Strollamus and returned to Torrin through the adjacent valley Strath Beag. Blue Shed Café was closed (which was a shame because we were quite looking forward to it) so we went to the parking place at Camas Malag and camped there. Perfect camping spot, no midges and nice flat grassy area. We also saw lots of great spots between Bla Bheinn car park and Torrin.
Image
there was nothing left of the fence, just this lonely gate in the middle of nowhere

DAY 7: Torrin - Broadford
We finished the Skye Trail as usual, by walking through cleared villages, with a small detour to see the ruins of Kilchrist church and marble factory. We restocked in Broadford and spent the night in Ashaig campsite.
Image
coastal section before Boreraig

DAY 8: Glenn Meadhonach
We had two extra days so this is where Cicerone guide book came in handy. We hitched a ride to Kilbeg and had a lovely walk through Meadhonach valley. There's a protected forest area with ancient trees, a loch covered in water lilies and a ruined village of Dalavil. Two curious seals were watching us from the bay as we had lunch. Back on the road we hitched another ride to Armadale and slept at Eco Camp near the ferry.
Image
ancient tree in Glen Meadhonach

DAY 9: Point of Sleat, Armadale castle, Eilean Donan castle
We basically crammed as much sightseeing into one day as we could. :D In the morning we had a short hike to Point of Sleat (we told ourselves - when we visited the northern tip at Rubha Hunish, why not visit the southernmost as well?). Then had a short walk around Armadale manor and then took a bus to Dornie to visit Eilean Donan castle. All of this was very very beautiful and we were lucky to hitch a ride back to Ashaig campsite and the owner greeted us as old friends. That's where we spent the last night on Skye and travelled home the following day.
Image
me at the white sands of Point of Sleat

CAMPS
Torvaig campsite in Portree: 7/10 The one that was the most swarmed with midges, but staff was very friendly and they have lots of toilets and showers for everyone, no waiting whatsoever. No kitchen/protected area for cooking. Not a lot of levelled spots, you'll sleep uphill.
Flodigarry hostel: we originally wanted to camp there but the actual fees differed from what I read at their website. Be prepared to pay more, also the staff was quite uptight.
Sligachan campsite: 7/10 Neatly mowed, very levelled, no midges whatsoever. Good showers and toilets, again no kitchen/roofed area. Apparently Sligachan hotel is renowned for amazing food (we didn't try it).
Ashaig campsite: 10/10 Aboslutely the best that we experienced. It doesn't look like other neat and orderly campsites but HOO BOY it's well equipped! The owners are huge DIY fans and there are lots of clever gadgets and equipment around the campsite (and also a big warehouse full of tools and random piles of building materials near the entrance). It has very fine toilets and showers (20p for 2 minutes of showering), plenty of toilet paper and towels and soap; dishwashing area with washing-up liquid and towel, fridge, old caravan turned into kitchen/cooking area/living room/table tennis room, alcove with maps and information leaflets, even a free give/take library... There are fireplaces and tables scattered around the campsite. It was perfect.
Eco camp in Armadale: 9/10 Second best. It's a part of Rubha Phoile forest park which starts right next to the ferry pier. It's very eco-friendly, with a hippie vibe all around :D There are wooden eco toilets and no chemical soaps/detergents are allowed in the showers. There's a permaculture garden spread around, with lots of useful herbs and fruit bushes (we made a lovely tea). They have lovely kitchen, also with fridge and free give/take box for hikers. Finding a good spot for your tent might be a bit of a challenge. Few midges, easy to escape.

GEAR
Each of our backpacks weighted cca. 15kg, depending on how much food and water we carried. There were two of us, so we divided the shared items.
Tent, sleeping mats and sleeping bags, waterproof clothing, t-shirts and shorts, warm clothing for sleeping, underwear and socks, boots and sandals. Midge headnets and Smidge repellent.
Gas stove and gas cartridge, lighter, cooking pots, mugs, sporks, swiss army knives, water bottles
Microfibre towels, toiletries, toilet paper, sunscreen
Phones, chargers, headlamps, batteries, little camera
Map, Cicerone guidebook, Walkhighlands printed guide, compass (not used), first aid kit, diary and pens

FOOD
For breakfast we cooked oatmeal with various additions of seeds, nuts, dates and lyophilized berries, + coffee. The last day we had flapjacks and they were brilliant. I wish we had them sooner.
During the day we snacked on nuts/dates/chocolate or granola bars, with a larger stop at lunchtime for bread, cheese, fresh veggies and beef jerky.
For dinner we had cuppa soups and second course of rice/couscous/instant potato mash/lentils with a can of meat or fish.
Resupply was quite easy after the initial 3 days when we had to carry everything. There are shops in Portree, Elgol, Broadford and Armadale. And nice local people will usually help you with water shortage, and sometimes even add a little something (in one house we got a small jug of milk).

USEFUL TIPS
1. Hitchhike. As buses on the isle are rare and sometimes unreliable, it's a good way to get to places without a car. It's easy, the longest we waited was 30 mins, and that was a tiny one-way road in Sleat. People are generally extremely nice here.
2. Talk to locals. They are extremely kind and have fascinating lives. For me that was the best part of the entire trip. If you need anything, just ask someone and you will get help.
3. Wild camping is easy most of the time. I mentioned the best camping spots above.
4. Pack everything into multiple layers of waterproof packaging. During the long rainy day at Trotternish ridge I got soaking wet and water got through the raincover into my backpack and through the hole in the poly bag into my sleeping bag. Not a nice surprise at the end of the day when I was greeted by half of my sleping stuff being wet. I bought a boat bag in Portree outdoor shop the next day.
5. Be prepared for rain AND sun. It was sunny the first day and I got sunburned.
6. Aside from Trotternish ridge, you'll pass plenty of houses and villages, which means you don't have to worry about water. Food resupply is also easy from Portree onwards.
7. Buy train/bus tickets in advance. Way cheaper.
Last edited by Lorelai on Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Two girls from Slovakia walking Skye Trail

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:49 pm

Great report, looks like you had an excellent trip.

The extra information will prove really useful to other folk planning the trip.
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Re: Two girls from Slovakia walking Skye Trail

Postby Mancunian » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:29 pm

Many thanks for the nice wrap up of your walk.
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Re: Two girls from Slovakia walking Skye Trail

Postby AutomaticHiker » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:06 am

Really nicely written report. That's another walk to add to my list!
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Re: Two girls from Slovakia walking Skye Trail

Postby liberty79 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:21 pm

Klobuk dole holky (-: ak by ste organizovali v buducnosti nieco podobne, velmi rad sa pridam. Kontaktovat ma mozete na liberty79@azet.sk
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Re: Two girls from Slovakia walking Skye Trail

Postby dalavil » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:44 pm

Excellent report and some very useful tips for your successors.
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Re: Two girls from Slovakia walking Skye Trail

Postby Bonzo » Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:32 am

Enjoyed that. Great report :clap:
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Re: Two girls from Slovakia walking Skye Trail

Postby Fidget » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:36 am

Thank you so much for the great information. I'm planning my first trip to walk in Scotland and this is quite helpful!
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