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.
St. Columba's Isle
Just below the bridge where the main road between Portree and Dunvegan crosses the River Snizort, close to the Skeabost House Hotel, there is a well hidden and fascinating bit of Skye's history - St. Columba's Isle. There you will find ancient ruins and graves, stretching back over many centuries.
You can get close to it by car if you use the old road that runs just to the north of the current one. Take the turning to Tote at NG422485. Immediately after crossing the cattle grid, turn left and continue to the end of the road.
If you take the road that goes north from Dunvegan, past the castle, and follow it to its end at Claigan, you'll find a small car park there. The souterrain is just a short walk from the car park, through a gate and up a cart track to NG238539. Just after the track bends hard right, it is about 20m off the track to the left. It is not too difficult to find, although you may need to scout around for a bit to see the entrance.
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.