Skye 5: Uig and The Quiraing

Well, today has been an interesting day. We left promptly to drive up to Uig in the North East of Skye to do the Quiraing of the Trotternish Ridge walk, a circular walk of 4.5 miles / 7.3km estimated to take between 3.5 to 4 hours. The walk was less of a walk and more of a hill climb mostly on very narrow paths on the edge of a hill.

The Quiraing path

The Quiraing path

The views were tremendous on yet another hot sunny day. The haze we have had for most of the past week persists so unfortunately we could not see the views of the Outer Hebrides and the Scottish mainland. Did Mrs L enjoy it……some of it yes, but mostly no! It was not really my idea of fun but do I have a sense of achievement on persevering and completing a walk that was well outside my comfort zone – yes! It took us 3.5 hours so we weren’t too slow despite my inability to climb up and down in a nimble fashion. Even the sheep looked on in amazement at my lack of goat-like abilities!

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View from our route going up

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View looking up towards the Needle

The Trotternish ridge has been formed by a massive landslip which created high cliffs, hidden plateaus and pinnacles of rock. The key features on our walk included ‘The Prison’, a pyramidal block of basalt rock that had long ago slipped down the side of the hill. Looking up from here you can see the Needle rising up, a 37m jagged pinnacle. The narrow path snaked its way upwards until we got to a stile which we climbed over onto the ridge, but we were still below the highest point of the Quiraing main ridge. If there had been no haze we should have been able to see Harris from this part of the ridge, but we couldn’t. The climb to the top of Quiraing was steep but at least was well away from the edge. We made it to the cairn on the top and Mr K took a photo of Mrs L by the cairn to commemorate her ‘summitting’ achievement! There is a view of the Table, a flat grassy plateau surrounded by rock formations and cliff faces, from the edge – Mr L took these photos! The walk down the other side was less stressful but was steep in places and very slippy, nevertheless we made it back in one piece.

Mr L has since checked out the walk on various hill walking sites – it is defined as a classic hill walk graded medium in length and hard in difficulty with the climb to the top of the Quiraing being an ascent of 340 metres from the car park at Bealach Ollasgairte. The Quiraing is 543m / 1,781 ft. above sea level.

We then drove back into Uig which was a considerably smaller ‘town’ than we expected. It has a very small general stores, the Isle of Skye Brewery, the Uig Pottery, the Pier restaurant and a ferry terminal. We enquired at the ferry terminal about a day trip to Harris – on Mrs L’s to do list – to find that today had been the last day you could do a day trip, from now on you have to have an overnight stay on Harris. So the trip to Harris is still on the to do list and will have to wait until until next time. Lunch and free wifi at the Pier Restaurant – the lunch and a much need cup of tea for me was good enough but the wifi was virtually non-existent……

Mr L is now getting carried away with thoughts of returning and doing the 79.5 mile Skye Trail, a walk from north to south……depending on the cliff walks involved, Mr and Mrs L may be having separate holidays that year!!

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