Cuillin - Coir' a' Ghrunnda
The hike from Glen Brittle up to Coir' a' Ghrunnda is not really too big an undertaking. It's about 9 km return, with an ascent of 700m, but it rates as 'stretching' in this guide for two reasons. Firstly, the route-finding in the corrie itself can be tricky, especially in poor visibility. Secondly, a section of simple scrambling is unavoidable on the final approach to the upper corrie. But in good weather the large sandy shored lochan, surrounded by Cuillin peaks and held by a massive barrier of boiler-plate slabs, is easily reached by any competent hillwalker. For the non-climber, this is an excellent trip to a very worthwhile destination.
The beach at Talisker is a short, easy walk from the road. It is in a spectacular setting at the foot of Glen Oraid, sandwiched between impressive high cliffs, and with a huge sea stack and waterfalls to add to the scene. There is a wide sweep of sand below a bank of coarse shingle, though the available beach is much limited on high tides. Best to check tide times when planning a visit...
Dunvegan Castle and Gardens
Dunvegan Castle is probably the oldest inhabited castle in the north of Scotland. It has been occupied continuously by the Chiefs of the Clan MacLeod for more than 750 years. The present - and 30th - clan chief is Hugh Magnus MacLeod.
The castle is in a wonderful setting on the shore of Loch Dunvegan at NG247491. There is plenty of space for parking, toilet facilities, a gift shop and a decent coffee shop/snack bar called The MacLeods Table Cafe. It’s basic, but fine for family lunch.
The Isle of Skye lies close to the north-west coast of the Scottish Highlands. It is the largest and the furthest north of the islands in the Inner Hebrides. The name ‘Skye’ is probably from the Norse words Ski (cloud) and Ey (island). In Gaelic it is normally referred to as An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, which translates as The Winged Isle - from the wing-like shape formed by the two northern peninsulas of Waternish and Trotternish. The island is marked on old Roman maps as "Scitis". In English it's sometimes referred to as the "Misty Isle" (Eilean a’ Cheo, in Gaelic). That one seems a wee bit too romantic for my taste. And there’s more…but that’s enough to confuse anyone already.
Skye is a romantic place though. The history, the legends, the scenery, the weather, the music and the poetry combine to produce something very special indeed. It is that peculiar magic that draws visitors to the island from all around the world, and makes it Scotland’s biggest tourist destination after Edinburgh. It has been said that Skye is conclusive proof that, sometimes, God was just showing off.