Cuillin - Sgurr na Banachdich
Sgurr na Banachdich is a 965m summit near the middle of the Cuillin Ridge - at NG440224. It makes a good stop for lunch for those intrepids who are 'doing the ridge'. But for us mere hillwalkers it represents perhaps the best opportunity to get up and amongst it all without any need to put hand to rock. There's nothing too challenging for the vertigo sufferers either. There is only one point on the whole ascent where you can choose to look down a scary drop, and even the summit is a fairly comfortable place to perch.
The Skeabost Hotel has had an up and down history. A former MacDonald hunting lodge at the mouth of the salmon river at Snizort, the hotel and its 9 hole golf course are beautifully situated. And today the place is on the up.
Since 2015, when it was acquired by the owners of Skye's Toravaig House and Duisdale House hotels, a lot of investment has been made and the place has been much improved on its former self. The environment and the service are very good indeed, and the kitchen is producing simple food with great flair and precision. It's well worth a visit for lunch or for dinner.
On a fine day, find yourselves a window table: the views over Loch Snizort Beag from the dining room are superb.
Flying Fortress crash site
On the moors of Trotternish, just below the steep east face of Beinn Edra, lie the remains of a US Air Force heavy bomber - a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress. It is a pretty bleak and remote location, and the hike in from Marishader is pathless and often boggy. Nonetheless, it is a fascinating place to visit if you are at all interested in such things.
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.