Now, if you are going to Scotland, I feel the Isle of Skye is a must. In the Scottish Highlands, it’s home to some of Scotland’s best outdoor adventures (in my opinion). The hiking there will leave you in awe. Marvellous mountain tops with luscious green grass. The Highlands, in general, is an absolute must, but the Isle of Skye should be top of your list. It’s hard to narrow down the best hikes, but the Quiraing Walk is my go-to recommendation.
It’s pretty straightforward to get to the trailhead for the Quiraing Circuit Walk. If you pop ‘the Quiraing car park’, it will lead you right where you need to be.
Expect to pay a fee of 3 Euro for 3 hours (or 5 Euro for 6 hours). The fee goes towards maintaining the parking lots and facilities like the restrooms. You can pay this by card which is super handy if you don’t have cash on you. Just pay and display the ticket in your car window.
My number one tip for this hike is go early. Now I know everyone is always like, ‘Yeah yeah go early’, but for this one, you’ll be thankful you did. It can get busy. As soon as your boots hit the dirt on this glorious trail, you’ll see why.
Need to Know
Length: 6.3 km (add 700 m to visit the viewpoint if you wish)
Time: 3 hrs
Access: The trailhead is accessible via Quiraing Car Park, Portree IV51 9LB, United Kingdom
Fees: 3 Euro for 3 hours of parking
Map: There are many hiking maps available to purchase from IsleofSkye.com.
From the car park, the trail is pretty clear and well-defined. You’ll be instantly rewarded with jaw-dropping views. So much so that you’ll struggle to keep your eyes on the trail. During busy times here, you almost don’t need to keep your eye on the trail because you can just follow the people, but if you’ve picked the right time and the trail is quiet, make sure you veer right at the first junction, just beyond the trailhead – this way you’ll complete the circuit in an anticlockwise direction, which is the best option.
There are plenty of photo spots to stop at along the way, with backdrops that look like screens savers. I feel the most ideal photo spots are along this first section of the route.
After about 30 minutes, you see the famous Needle and The Prison before you. From here, you want to keep following the trail, and soon you’ll see more pointy pinnacles in the distance. Keep left at the next junction, close to the mountain wall. You’ll have a small steep section that climbs up to the ridge line. Then you have the choice to continue along the circuit or add a short detour. If you have the energy, you need to take this short side trip. The most incredible views are at the tabletop mountain to your right. I thought about ignoring this, but I’m glad I pushed through and went to see the view for myself. It’s about 15 – 20 minutes to the top, with some uphill climbing but nothing super strenuous. I think the view speaks for itself.
Once you are done taking mental memories and hopefully digital ones with your camera, head back the same way you came until you reach the fork in the road again. At this point, you’ll want to head right. You’ll see the route that climbs up and over the cliffs you walked past on the way in. There’s no hiding it – this part is a slog – but it has to be done. Once the magnificent views come into sight, you’ll soon forget about how much you were just sweating. Now there are insane viewpoints along here, but remember to be safe and watch your feet while taking your photos. It’s a long way down if you take one wrong step.
Continue along the circuit. This last section was super muddy when I did it. If there’s been recent rain when you hike this trail, there’s no avoiding it. Just embrace the mud and watch your step. The trail can get a little harder to see on the descent, but if you just head back toward the car park, you’ll be fine. Eventually, it will lead out to one path, and getting lost is really hard. Just don’t panic if you lose to trail for a section – eyes on the car park and descend that way.
What you’ll need:
- Water, as always.
- Suitable solid footwear because it can get muddy and slippery.
- Snacks – never be caught out hungry on a hike because that’s no fun for anyone.
- Camera/phone camera.
Have you visited the Isle of Skye? Traversed the Quiraing Walk? Or got it on your bucket list? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.