Eaglais Bhreugach

Eaglais Bhreugach, or The False Church, is a gigantic boulder about 13m high that sits on the east shore of Trotternish. It is holed right through by a cave in such a way that the origin of its name is pretty obvious. From inside or out, it does have a strong resemblance to a church. It is said that it has been used as a place of ceremony in times past, though the rites were not of a Christian variety. One story is of the roasting of live cats, an activity that summons an appearance from the devil. In this case it was apparently successful.

 

The only access to the Eaglais Bhreugach itself is by descending to the shore at Invertote and walking south along the beach. I use the word ‘walking’ fairly casually here. The return trip on this shore section is about 3km, and is on one of the toughest walking surfaces I have encountered on Skye. Much of it is on large slippery boulders with menacing holes between them. It will take longer than you might expect. You should plan for that, because there is a section near the start that cannot be passed at high tide, and there is no alternative escape route. You need to check the tide forecast and plan your timing with a bit of care.

Lealt Falls

Looking out to sea from the Eaglais Bhreugach

From the large lay-by on the A855 at NG516604, access the shore by walking south on the main road across the river. Then go left through a gate to reach a section of the old road. Go south and then turn left off the old road just before you reach the sheep pens. Then, once across the burn, turn left and walk northwards to the edge of the Lealt gorge, where you will find a surprisingly simple way down to the mouth of the river on an old path to the diatomite works. There are great views of the lower Lealt waterfall and the ruins of the diatomite works on the way. Once on the shore, just head south. After a couple of hundred metres you will see the Eaglais Bhreugach in the distance. Each time you pause to look up from the boulders, it will still be further away from you than you expected…