The point of Rubh' an Dunain

Rubh' an Dunain - Point of the Dun - lies about 6km south of the beach at Glen Brittle, where Loch Brittle meets the Sound of Soay. The walk along the shore of the loch is on a good track for most of the way. It fords a few burns running down from the Cuillin that can be difficult or impossible in times of spate, but they are easy enough to cross at most times.
What makes the walk exceptional is the variety of interesting things that lie at the far end of it - beyond the fault line of Slochd Dubh that almost makes the point a separate island.
The walk begins from the campsite at Glen Brittle, where there is plenty of parking space and, in the summer, a good wee shop on the campsite. Follow the path behind the toilet block, keeping to the right to pick up a good quad-bike track running along parallel to the shoreline. The track will take you all the way to an impressive boundary wall at NG402172.  Head left as you approach the wall and cross it through a clear breach. From there the path is less clear, but if you head directly towards Rhundunan House (at NG401165) you won't go far wrong.

Ruandunan House
The Ruins at Rhundunan

The first real surprise of the walk is the ruined house at Rhundunan. It is of much grander proportions than those in the deserted village around it. It was the family home of the MacAskills before this whole area was cleared of its people in the nineteenth century. The old house and its environs are well worth taking some time to explore.

The Dun at Rubh an Dunain
The Dun

From Rhundunan, continue on to the dun after which the point is named. It sits on a small but spectacular promontory with cliffs on its seaward side. The main wall is very well preserved. Just below the dun is a canalised short river linking the open sea to the inland Loch na h-Airde. The canal, beautifully constructed in stone, was built centuries ago to allow seagoing boats to be sheltered, or hidden, in the freshwater loch.

Loch na h-Airde canal at Rubh an Dunain

From there it is a short walk to the point itself. The wildlife in this area can put on a great show. There are otters, seals bobbing at the foot of the cliffs, basking sharks cruising the Sound of Soay nearby, hundreds of cormorants perching and diving and masses of other birdlife. In the summer you will see beautiful wild orchids and several other kinds of very attractive wild flowers that I'm not knowledgeable enough to tell you the names of.

Looking into the Chambered Cairn

Perhaps the highlight of the walk is the rare chance to see into an exposed chambered cairn - NG392163. There are countless such neolithic burial cairns on Skye, but this is the only one I have found that is both open to view and in a good state of preservation. It was excavated in the 1930s and the roof of the chamber and the entrance passageway have been left open. The remains of six adults were found in it. The stonework in the internal spaces was built with huge skill and precision - very different from the impression given by the external 'this is a big heap of stones' look. To see and touch something so complete that was built around 5,000 years ago is awesome.

From the cairn, it is easy to find your way back along above the coastline. Head north around Carn Mor and then east to rejoin the quad-bike track at Slochd Dubh to return by the same route as on the outward walk.