Isle of Skye, Scotland
9th May - 16th May
£1680 for a single room discounted to £1480 for a shared room.
We have just managed to secure accommodation in Quiraing Lodge in the north of the mystic Isle of Skye, near Staffin, attached to the Columba 1400 Centre. It is the loveliest time of the year, often warm, before the midges and the summer crowds, with the evenings lengthening to give more time for exploring. Skye is the biggest of the Hebridean islands and offers marvellous walking opportunities through incredibly varied scenery, with a deep sense of the history of the people and animals (including dinosaurs and, according to the locals, fairies!) who have lived in this ancient land. The lodge has its own garden by the seashore, which will provide an excellent launching pad to daily explorations around the island (walks from about 3 to 7 miles, difficulty ranging from gentle and easy to challenging with steep slopes and narrow paths) . While we will offer excursions every day, you are welcome at any time to opt to stay at home and enjoy the peace and comfort of the delightful house, its garden and the beach. Our hosts at Columba 1400 will make us very welcome and at ease. On the beach at Staffin you might even find some dinosaur footprints!
Walks and Excursions
These are listed below not in a specific order, as Skye weather can be very changeable so our choice will depend on daily conditions. You are advised to bring strong footwear, walking poles if you find these helpful, and good rain gear - anorak and waterproof trousers. It is wise to have layers to accommodate weather changes. All distances incorporate out and return)
Loch Cuithir - An easy track to this small loch nestling among the dramatic cliffs of the Trotternish Ridge. Follow the river Lealt back from its source in the loch to its dramatic flinging of itself into the sea at Inver Tote - maybe a chance to trace our own life course from its source in a quiet meditation along the way. 6 miles including climb down to the sea by the waterfall.
The Quiraing - extraordinary rock formations with a hidden valley where it is said the islanders hid their cattle from Viking raids (the cattle must have been pretty nimble!) Climb 1400 feet, steep with narrow paths. 6 miles - strenuous and challenging
Sunday - church service at St Columba's Episcopal Church in Portree, and a chance to wander in the quaint little town, followed by a walk to the dramatic rock stack: The Old Man of Storr. A short, steep climb (1000 feet 2 ½ miles) Fairly strenuous, well made path. If time , we could also drive on to the short path to the famous Fairy Pools with their dramatic waterfalls and clear water - good swimming for the brave. Easy walk - 2 miles
Isle of Raasay - reached by ferry from Sconser. Beautiful island with a fascinating history and classic Caledonian woodlands. We will be guided by a local resident - with a visit to Callum's Road - a mile long road dug by hand by one man through the hills over ten years to try and keep his remote village accessible to the rest of the island.
Rubha Hunish - Gentle, sometimes muddy walk past the ruins of Castle Duntulm and a row of croft cottages long empty, beautiful views to the northernmost tip of the island. Climb max 400 feet for those who wish to climb Meall Tuath (North Hill). 5 miles. Easy walking, fairly strenuous climb if wished. We can incorporate with this walk a visit to the burial place of Flora MacDonald, of Bonnie Prince Charlie fame, and the adjacent folk museum.
The Fairy Glen near Uig - a winding walk through extraordinary geological formations towards Beinn Edra, gentle slopes, paths sometimes rough and muddy, and a stiff climb at the end if we wish to climb the peak.
Seven nights at Quiraing Lodge, close to the beach at Staffin. We shall be fully catered, with a self-service breakfast in the house, and provision for us to make our packed lunches to take with us, and an evening meal in the restaurant at Columba 1400 at the end of each day. 5 double rooms ensuite with shower, 1 with bath, 1 single room and 1 double with shared shower.
If you use public transport, we can meet you at Glasgow Central Station at 10am on 9 May and we will drive you to Skye. It is a stupendous route, passing through Glencoe on the way, where we can pause for lunch. And we will drive you back to Glasgow for 4pm on Thurs 16 May.
With Paddy Allen (07810 746121, firstname.lastname@example.org )
and Rosemary Clarke (email@example.com)