MacLeod's Maidens

Close to Idrigill Point, at the southern tip of the Duirinish peninsula, stand three very impressive sea stacks in an appropriately dramatic setting. These are the famous Macleod’s Maidens. The tallest stack – the mother – rises over 70m out of the sea. She is accompanied by her two daughters, standing just off the cliffs of Maidens’ Point (Rubha na Maighdeanan) at NG243362.

The 16km return hike to Macleod’s Maidens is one of Skye’s classic and popular trips. It is on an easy to follow path all the way until the final few hundred metres.

The terrain holds no big challenges either, though the path does rise and fall twice in each direction and by the end of the walk you will have climbed a total of around 500m. Despite its straightforward nature, don’t treat it too casually. When you reach the Maidens you will be 8km from the nearest road. That’s a long way in an emergency.

There is space to park cars at Orbost Farm (NG257431). The first section of the walk is on a rough motor road that runs to the beautiful bay of Loch Bharcasaig. On a clear day, you are quickly rewarded by the views of Loch Bracadale and its islands spread before you. The road moves onwards into the community owned forests of the Orbost Estate. It emerges from the trees into an area where the forest has been clear-felled and, soon after, it fords the Forse Burn and continues as a footpath up the slopes ahead.

The route is packed with interest. Stunning views, beautiful burns, a deserted village at Brandarsaig, woodland established to the memory of Joe Strummer…

Approaching the point, the most obvious path swings west to head up the coast towards Lorgill. To reach the Maidens, keep left along a wet but distinct track, aiming to reach the cliff edge just before (east of)  Geodha nan Daoine.  This is by far the best viewpoint, and a fine place to sit with your sandwiches. You can follow the edge (carefully!) westwards from here to find yourself right above the Maidens  - but the best views are from either before or beyond the point itself. From directly above you will not get a true sense of the scale of it all.

There are plenty of rocky perches where you can take in the spectacle before heading back the way you came. It may be the same path, but the variety is maintained by the remarkably different views on the way home.