This guidebook describes the challenging 80-mile (128km) Skye Trail, a week-long trek across the magical Isle of Skye, the largest island in Scotland's Inner Hebrides. As yet unwaymarked, the route demands navigational skill, fitness and self-reliance and is therefore suitable for experienced backpackers and mountain walkers. The trail is presented in 7 stages of between 7 (11.5km) and 173/4 miles (28.5km), plus an alternative stage to include an ascent of Bla Bheinn. Alongside detailed route description, 1:50,000 OS mapping and stunning photography, the guide provides a wealth of information about Skye's rich history, culture, literature, geology, wildlife and plants, as well as practical advice such as when to go, what to take and where to stay. Blending information with inspiration, the result is an ideal companion to trekking this magnificent route. From the headland of Rubha Hunish, through Portree to Broadford, the Skye Trail provides the walker with a tour of Skye's most iconic landforms - including the Quiraing, the Old Man of Storr and the Cuillin - as well as of its turbulent history, from Iron Age forts to the ruins of Clearance villages. Whether making use of island hospitality or opting for the freedom of a tent, completing the continuous route represents a real challenge and a fitting match for the epic landscapes found on Skye.
Helen's walking initiation began with enforced parental rambles and progressed through the Ten Tors expeditions on Dartmoor as a school pupil to the completion of a 4000-mile backpack across Europe with Paul in 2003-4. Helen is a firm believer that travelling on foot allows you to meet people and see things that would otherwise be overlooked and it's with this attitude that she co-founded the Scottish walker's website Walkhighlands in 2007. Originally from Devon, Helen has gradually been moving north and has lived and worked in the Scottish Highlands since 2005. She has co-authored 11 walking books about Scotland with Paul and is passionate about the need to conserve Scottish wild land while developing the local tourism industry to ensure that walkers visit time and time again to discover the huge variety of walks out there. Paul has a lifelong passion for walking and exploring the outdoors. In 2003-4 he undertook a 4000-mile continuous backpack across Europe with his wife Helen. After quitting a conventional career in York, Paul has spent many years living and working in Scotland and is the co-founder of the Walkhighlands website, a free online guide and forum for walkers in Scotland. He is a keen photographer and is currently enjoying exploring the lesser known areas of the Cairngorms close to home, but has still never captured a shot of the elusive capercaillie in the local pine woods. Paul has co-authored 11 walking books with Helen. For some years a member of the John Muir Trust, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and the Mountain Bothy Association; he is currently on the local outdoor access panel for the Cairngorms National Park.
Map key Overview map Introduction Early history The MacDonalds and the MacLeods Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald The Highland Clearances The crofters' struggle Skye today The Cuillin pioneers Geology Wildlife and plants Culture, music and language Preparation and planning When to go Travel Money and communications Accommodation What to take Navigation and maps Access Weather Midges and ticks Safety and emergencies Using this guide The Skye Trail Stage 1 Rubha Hunish to Flodigarry Stage 2 Flodigarry to the Storr Stage 3 Storr to Portree via the coastline Stage 4 Portree to Sligachan Stage 5 Sligachan to Elgol Stage 6 Elgol to Torrin Stage 6B Bla Bheinn alternative - Camasunary to Torrin Stage 7 Torrin to Broadford Appendix A Route summary table Appendix B Accommodation Appendix C Useful contacts Appendix D Glossary of Gaelic words Appendix E Further reading