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The Skye Trail in 8 leisurely days: video log

The Skye Trail in 8 leisurely days: video log

Postby petert847 » Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:42 pm

Route description: Skye Trail

Date walked: 08/05/2015

Time taken: 8 days

Distance: 128 km

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Skye trail in 8 leisurely days in May 2015: video log

What do next after the Cape Wrath Trail?

Seeing the accounts, but especially the pictures and time lapse photography of the skye trail elsewhere on this site from mountainstar and maustindesign provided the answer.

I planned to take a leisurely 8 days to do the trail. I wanted time to linger and enjoy the awesome looking landscapes and wanted the flexibility to take the odd day out if the weather was vile or I fancied a rest day.

And I decided to go south to north to allow me to warm up before doing the Trotternish ridge. But think it is probably fine done in either direction. If I did it again I would still go south to north though.

I chose to go in May to miss the midges and eliminate the risk of snow/ice.

I made a 20 minute video to show my sons what it was like - its on vimeo at the link below:
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How hard it is?

Much much easier than the cape wrath trail for a variety of obvious reasons. Much less up and down except for the ridge and that wasn't that bad.

Rivers in spate were an issue if the weather is really bad. Between camsunary to sligachan - I was probably an hour away from having to just camp and wait till they went down. And the river just beyond the campsite in Sligachan looked like Iguassu falls after 24 hours of torrential rain and there was no way past. But an easy bus alternative to Portree, and it is early on in that stretch if you are going south to north (but bad news if you were coming the other way...).

I'm not one to bound up and down mountain tops as I pass them - but there was plenty of that available in the south for those that do. In which case North to South would probably make more sense.

Supplies and accommodation

I love wild camping and the trail delivers fantastically on that - it influenced where I chose to break my walking. That said there was generally no problem spotting places to camp anywhere - although took a bit of scouting around near the old man of Storr.

Camping also allows you to break the long stretch on the ridge - camping on the ridge just south of Beinn Edra was stunning - and means.

Accommodation in hostels and cheaper places was under pressure and generally fully booked as I walked the trail - including all the hostels. Portree was very busy - and this was out of school holidays and in early May. Don’t rely on this sort of accommodation without prebooking. It is much easier to plan how long days will take than on cape wrath so I had booked Broadford and Portree Hostels.

Easy to plan route to end up near places to eat on the whole - bar at Sligchan was flexible and welcoming - does breakfast too. Broadford and Portree obviously have plenty of food and a supermarket each. North of Portree is pretty sparce.

There really is nothing in Duntulm (yes I spelt it wrong on the video) the hotel has shut and that was it.
Hostels in Broadford and the independent one in Portree were both fine - the independent one being more personal and pragmatic as usual.

The flodigarry hostel was excellent. it had some good provisions to keep the careless walker going and the brilliant idea of selling bread by the slice so that you can have toast in the morning (I was camping there but you can use their excellent facilities to the full). A really friendly place in a stunning location.


Every day is great. My highlights:

South of Torrin
South of Torrin


Camping at Storr

North of Beinn Edra
North of Beinn Edra


My schedule

I had a leisurely schedule and it made the whole trip hugely enjoyable in good weather - and bearable on the one really bad day. The landscapes are so stunning it would be a shame to rush through. Time to stand and stare is essential. And it meant I was able to have several late starts waiting for the rain to finish and didn't need to rely on the late evenings to cover long distances unlike Cape Wrath Trail.

The Harvey Map is fine. And the cicerone guide book by Paul and Helen Webster is excellent for planning and practicalities.

Day 1: Broadford to Torrin. Wild camped. 12.5 miles
Day 2: Torrin to Camasunary (with shortcut to avoid dodgy bit of cliff path. Wild camped. 7 miles.
Day 3: Camasunary to Sligachan. Campsite (driers and hot showers - good bar cafe in the hotel across the road). 9 miles.
Day 4: Sligachan to Portree by bus (river in spate). Portree Independent Hostel. 0 miles.
Day 5: Portree to Storr. Wild camped. 8.5 miles.
Day 6: Storr to just south of Beinn Edra. Wild camped. 9.5 miles.
Day 7: Beinn Edra to Flodigarry Hostel. Camped. 9 miles.
Day 8: Flodigarry to Dunhelm. Missed out Rubha Hunnish loop to avoid dreadful weather that was forecast. Picked up the circular bus route back to Portree.

My kit

Again I went super light weight using the same kit as when I walked the cape wrath trail. Carrying less food than on cape wrath trail meant total weight was down to around 10-11kg.

New boots from Salomon were good and wearable despite often being soaking from the day before.

Although my waterproof jacket and the classic walking trousers from Montane were brilliant and the jacket super waterproof in extreme circumstances - the lightweight waterproof over trousers from Montane were hopeless - within 10 minutes of driving rain starting water would be running down the inside into my boots - worse than useless and not cheap.

My tent was tested much more than before - vango helium carbon - high winds and driving rain - excellent - completely dry inside.


A mind-blowing beautiful trail. Quite different in feel to walking on the mainland - you are very obviously on an island all the time - and consequently get the extra weather and luminosity.

There are some outstanding places to camp. And it doesn't have any really punishing terrain. There are just a few places where you have to really concentrate hard on way finding (just after the Storr going north for me).

If the wind blows and the rain falls on the ridges you are not going to have a good time though so flexibility in your schedule allows you to make the best call.
Posts: 31
Joined: Jan 13, 2013

Re: The Skye Trail in 8 leisurely days: video log

Postby nick70 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:20 pm

Hi Peter, I really enjoyed your report. I will get round to watching video later.

This is a trail I would consider doing in the future. Like you I would also wild camp. Did you have to carry much food with you or is the trail and the island well enough served with shops/bars/places to eat along the way?

Ideally I like to travel as light as possible and end up somewhere in evening where I can hopefully get both an evening meal at night and breakfast in morning. I know this isn't always practical.

Any advice you can give will be gratefully received.


Re: The Skye Trail in 8 leisurely days: video log

Postby petert847 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:54 am

Thanks nick,
For the leisurely schedule I took (south to north) - carrying food was only really needed the only nights by the 'old man', and then the next night when I camped on the ridge (which was glorious) - but as you will have just come from Portree thats no problem. You need to think ahead a bit if you are camping up there on the ridge and fill your water up when you see some, which is not as frequent as usual in scotland.
Obviously many walk the route much quicker than I did so might choose not to camp two nights
The next night at the youth hostel they do sell some provisions that would keep you going - or there is the fairly pricey hotel/bar nearby which looked nice.
Double check that the cafe at torrin is actually open it was closed when I went past it. It was a bit tricky finding somewhere to camp in torrin I walked just a bit past the village and camped near to the road - which was OK, that way you are near to cafe for breakfast.
If you should be thinking of using accommodation - you need to book in advance e.g.: portree pretty much whatever time of year you og.
But its a quite brilliant walk so long as you get a little bit of luck with the weather on a couple of days. Enjoy.
Posts: 31
Joined: Jan 13, 2013

Re: The Skye Trail in 8 leisurely days: video log

Postby nick70 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:08 pm

Hi Peter

Thanks for getting back to me. I have just watched your video, absolutely fantastic, some absolutely fantastic and stunning scenery.

Jeez, that was some weather you encountered, typical of Scotland eh? Glorious sunshine one day and the next torrential rain!!

Thanks again for the advice, it really is appreciated. I definitely think this is one that i want to tackle next year. Thanks again :clap: :clap: :clap:

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