www.f22.org.uk
www.maddock.org.uk

The Lazy Photographer's Guide 07 - Isle of Skye
by Chris Maddock

This article is the seventh of a series of articles covering much of the UK. It is basically a list of locations I have programmed into my GPS Satellite Navigator - most of which I have visited, the rest being other places I intend to get to some day. It is not a comprehensive guide to Skye, only the parts I have been to and photographed - or intend to.

It will not contain any photographs, the intention being simply to provide information about location, access and likely subjects. I have photographs of many of the locations in my galleries at www.f22.org.uk if you want to see what you could see before setting out.

I've called it The Lazy Photographer's Guide since most of the locations are less than half a mile from road access.


Aird of Sleat
Allt Dearg House
Ardvasar Bay
Bla Bheinn
Bornesketaig
Bride's Veil waterfall
Camas Malag
Cill Chriosd
Cuillin Hills
Elgol
Loch Langaig
Gauscavaig Bay

Gesto Bay
Glen Brittle
Kilt Rock

Knock Bay


Lealt Gorge
Loch Fada
Loch nan Eilean
Loch Slapin
Luib
Macleod's Tables
Neist Point

Ord Bay
Sligachan
Tarskavaig Bay
Tarskavaig Point

The Quiraing

The Storr

The Storr views

Views from Kyleakin


Aird of Sleat
GR NG 589 007
The furthest south that you can get to by car on Skye.

Access - travel down the Sleat peninsular on the A851 and turn off at Armadale for Ardvasar and Aird of Sleat. There is room to park where the road ends.

What to see - the coastline and views across to Eigg and the mainland across the Sound of Sleat. If you walk to the Point of Sleat, a mile and a half or so, there is the Point of Sleat lighthouse and views across to Rhum or further up the Isle of Skye to the Cuillin Hills.

Top


Allt Dearg House
GR NG 477 292
An old white-painted house by the Allt Dearg Mor river

Access - take the A87 to Sligachan and just to the west of the bridge turn off on the A683 Dunvegan road. After about half a mile, there is room to park by the footpath end, GR NG 479 297. Take the footpath south until you meet the river, then follow that upstream.

What to see - the house, the river, several waterfalls, and the Cuillin Hills in the background.

Top


Ardvasar Bay
GR NG 634 034
On the road down to Aird of Sleat, this is a rocky bay that looks to be of interest.

Access - travel down the Sleat peninsular on the A851 and turn off at Armadale for Ardvasar and Aird of Sleat. After about 600 yards, just before Ardvasar village there is room to park on the left, opposite the "fire station" - at least the signs on the structure indicate it's used by the fire service. The bay is to your left.

What to see - the bay, comprising rocky and sandy areas, saltmarsh, associated flora and fauna and views across to several small islands and the mainland at Mallaig.

Top


Bla Bheinn
GR NG 560 215
Bla Bheinn (pronounced Blaven) is one of the most pleasing looking mountains on Skye. Although it's not actually part of the Cuillins range, it is often considered to be one of the Cuillins. There are several places from which a good view can be obtained, this is the closest.

Access - take the B8083 road from Broadford to Elgol. Just after you round the head of Loch Slapin, you'll find a car park on the right.

What to see - the footpath to Bla Bheinn leads up beside a river, with several waterfalls and offers excellent views of the mointain.

Top


Bornesketaig
GR NG 370 706
On the north-west corner of the Trotternish Peninsular, Bornesketaig offers a rocky bay with an interesting coastline.

Access - take the A855 north out of Uig, turning left after about 6 miles at Kilvaxter. Follow the road round to a crossroads and turn left. Continue down to the old slipway.

What to see - the bay, slipway, boats, coastline around and (on a clear day) the Isle of Harris in the distance. Taking the upper road back out of Bornesketaig, there is a ruined chapel at GR NG 381 710, just after a cattle grid, which looks to have potential for sunsets.


Top


Bride's Veil waterfall
GR NG 495 509
This rather attractive waterfall is just off the A855 a couple of miles south of The Storr.

Access - there is a car park and picnic table just to then west of the road at the above grid reference, about 5 miles out from Portree.

What to see - the waterfall, obviously. The best angle is to cross the river below the fall and climb onto a small hill the other side overlooking it, this allows you to be shooting down rather than up so the sky will be less of a problem.
From this location, there is also a good view of The Storr with the Old Man of Storr leaning out across the skyline.

Top


Camas Malag
GR NG 582 193
A small bay offering views of Loch Slapin and Bla Bheinn

Access - take the B8083 from Broadford. About a mile after the ruined church of Cill Chriosd, the main road turns to the right whilst the road down to Camas Malag goes straight on. Follow this (narrow) road down to the sea, about a mile, where you will find plenty of room to park.

What to see - Camas Malag bay, Loch Slapin, Bla Bheinn, coastal flora and fauna.

Top


Cill Chriosd church and loch
GR NG 617 206
Cill Chriosd (Christ's Church) is one of the two oldest Christian churches on Skye, the present ruin is believed to date from the 16th or 17th century when it replaced a much older building on the same site. It ceased to be used as the parish church in 1843 when a new church was built in Broadford.

Access - take the B8083 out of Broadford, heading towards Elgol. Cill Chriosd is about three miles out of Broadford, and cannot be mistaken. There is parking on the left of the road, opposite the ruin.

What to see - the ruined church and the graveyard with a number of headstones dating back to medieval times. Just to the south of the church is Loch Cill Chriosd, a rather attractive lake often offering good reflections of the hills beyond.

Top


Cuillin Hills
GR NG 480 319
There are many locations to photograph the Cuillin Hills, they appear on the skyline almost anywhere on Skye. However, this is one where the main point of interest is the Cuillins, the others have other interests as well so are covered seperately.

Access - take the A87 north from Sligachan for about a mile and a half, where you'll find a layby on the right

What to see - the Cuillin Hills, of course. Moorland for the foreground, with associated flora and fauna.

Top


Elgol
GR NG 516 135
Elgol is THE classic Skye location - a rocky beach with the Cuillin Hills dominating the skyline.

Access - take the B8083 from Broadford as far as it goes, about 12 miles of single-track road with passing places. The sign for the start of Elgol is at least a mile from the end. The B-road ends in front of a cafe with a parking area, but if you carry on down the hill to the right there is a large parking area by the beach and jetty, over the bridge by the school.

What to see - the beach with the dramatic skyline of Cuillin Hills across Loch Slapin. Also, the islands of Soay and Rhum if the light and visibility is right. The curve of the river across the beach near the jetty works well. If you walk out along the beach the rocks make good and varied foregrounds, as does the small eroded cliff on the right. Walking beyond that cliff the shore changes to a limestone pavement, for an alternative foreground.
Apparently, walking around to the next headland (just watch the tide, though) you'll find the round boulder that features in Joe Cornish's photo of Elgol, as used on the cover of his book "First Light". I haven't found it yet myself, but I will.

Top


Loch Langaig
GR NG 463 709
A small loch near the top of the Trotternsh peninsular, with a fine backdrop of the escarpment edge leading to The Quiraing

Access - Take the A855 north from Portree. About 2 miles beyond the turning at Brogaig (for The Quiraing and Uig) you will pass a small loch on the left, then after a few hundred yards a smaller one on the right with a small hut beside it. Just round the next corner is a layby (looks like an old quarry). Walk west from the southern end of the layby, following the stream. Loch Langaig is about 100 yards from the road.

What to see - the loch and the escarpment beyond. If you continue along the path past the loch you'll reach Loch Hasco about half a mile further on. Beyond that, a path leads to The Quiraing if you wish.

Top


Gauscavaig Bay
GR NG 597 116
A rocky bay on the western side of the Sleat peninsular, with a castle ruin to the northern side

Access - Take the A851 from Broadford towards Armadale (for the Mallaig ferry) and turn right a couple of miles past Isle Ornsay. Follow this minor road over the hills past Ord Bay and Tokavaig. You can park at Gauscavaig Bay itself.

What to see - the rocky bay with the ruins of Dun Scaich castle. There is a footpath at the northern end of the bay which leads to the castle if you wish.

Top


Gesto Bay
GR NG 350 369
This is simply a layby and viewpoint beside the road.

Access - take the A863 between Sligachan and Dunvegan. The layby is on the western side of the road about a mile south of Bradacale

What to see - this location offers a fantastic view up Loch Harport with Gesto Bay in the middle foreground and the Cuillin Hills in the distance. Looking west to the entrance to Loch Harport, you can see Ardtrek Point lighthouse with Oronsay and Wiay beyond. If visibility is good, you can see South Uist in the far distance.

Top


Glen Brittle
GR NG 409 205
Glen Brittle is the western boundary of the Cuillin Hills, giving a dramatic view of the mountains, along with rivers and waterfalls. The above grid ref is the end of the road, other viewpoints are listed along the road.

Access - turn off the A863 Sligachan-Dunvegan road onto the B8009 towards Carbost. The turning for the single-track road down Glen Brittle is about a mile and half down this road.

What to see - about 3 miles down the road is a car park at GR NG 424 257. This gives a stunning view of the grandeur of the Cuillins along with access to the river Allt Coir a'Mhadaidh. This offers several waterfalls, both on the main river and on the first tributary stream the path crosses.
There is another waterfall on the Allt a Choire Ghreadaidh river, on the left by the Youth Hostel at GR NG 409 225.
Half a mile further down the road is the Mountain Rescue Post at GR NG 411 215. A path from here leads east along the river to a high waterfall, Eas Mor.
Finally, the road reaches the beach. Here you can get a good view of Sgurr Alasdair, the highest of the Cuillins. A path leads closer to Coire Lagan if you wish. The beach can be quite interesting, with a nice meander to the river as it crosses the beach.

Top


Kilt Rock
GR NG 508 655
A vertical cliff of columnar basalt, this is well worth a look.

Access - from the A855 main road up the Trotternish peninsular, turn off opposite Loch Mealt, just south of Ellishadder, where you will find the car park and viewpoint.

What to see - Kilt Rock, obviously. Also a spectacular waterfall in the foreground, plunging over 350 feet into the sea. Whilst there, Loch Mealt is also worthy of a few exposures.

Top


Knock Bay
GR NG 671 087
A mixed rock and sand bay with an ruined castle at one end.

Access - taking the A851 main road down the Sleat Peninsular, Knock Bay is about 3 miles beyond Isle Ornsay. A track leads down past a farm to the bay, with a footpath across the river and through some woodland to the castle. You may be able to park at the top of the track, failing that try outside the Toravaig Hotel (just to the north) or at Teangue to the south.

What to see - the bay and castle, with old boat remains on the shore. Across the Sound of Sleat you can see the mouth of Loch Nevis.

Top


Lealt Gorge
GR NG 516 605
This is a deep gorge, complete with a couple of waterfalls and an old diatomite works.

Access - park in the layby at the above grid ref, beside the A855 main road up Trotternish. It's just north of the village of Lower Tote, about five miles north of The Storr. A footpath leads to a viewing platform above the gorge, although it is possible to descend into the gorge.

What to see - the gorge and works with the coastline around. The waterfalls, the first of which is just below the main road.

Top


Loch Fada
GR NG 492 485
Loch Fada offers a great view of The Storr from the south

Access - take the A855 north from Portree. As Loch Fada comes into view you can either park by a cattle grid or, a couple of hundred yards further on there is a small layby (one car only) opposite a cattle enclosure.

What to see - the fine view across the lake with the impressive backdrop of The Storr

Top


Loch nan Eilean
GR NG 471 306
Just off the road, this loch offers a good view of the Cuillin Hills

Access - taking theA863 Dunvegan road from Sligachan, there is a layby about 1 mile along. The loch is a few hundred yards further along,

What to see - the loch and surrounding moorland with the Cuillins or Marsco in the background.

Top


Loch Slapin
GR NG 571 212
Loch Slapin is a fine sea loch, offering good views of the mountains around

Access - take the B8083 from Broadford until you reach the shore of the loch just after Torrin. There are several places you can park beside the loch on the eastern side, and a couple on the western side.

What to see - from the east you get a stunning view across the loch with Bla Bheinn rising beyond, whilst from the western side you can get Beinn DeargMhor and Beinn Dearg Bheag with the loch and fishing boats in the foreground.

Top


Luib
GR NG 564 279
Luib is a small village on the shore of Loch Ainort, on the eastern side of Skye.

Access - Luib lies on the A87 between Bradford and Sligachan.

What to see - views of Loch Ainort, the stony beach beside the loch. Also a thatched cottage with stones hanging from ropes to hold the roof down in stormy weather.

Top


Macleod's Tables
These are a pair of flat-topped mountains dominating the Duirinish peninsular on the western side of Skye. There are various good locations from where to view them, of which here are a few.

GR NG 275 483 - where a minor road leaves the main A850 just before reaching Dunvegan from the east. Looks south-west at the Tables.

GR NG 276 458 - at the other end of the minor road above.

GR NG 263 462 - shortly after the B884 leaves the A863 south of Dunvegan, there are a few places you can pull off briefly to photograph the Tables with a small stream in the foreground.

Top


Neist Point
GR NG 133 478
A spectacular promontory on the far west of Skye, with a lighthouse near the end.

Access - take the B884 from Dunvegan to Glendale. Half a mile beyond Glendale, turn left for Upper Milovaig then left again for Waterstein and Neist Point. Carry on the the car park at the end of the road, by the lighthouse supplies hoist.

What to see - you can take the footpath down to the lighthouse (which you can't actually see from the car park, there's a hill, An t-Aigeach, in the way) which, although steep in parts offers good views of the coast as well. Alternatively, climbing the hill to the north of the car park will give a good view of the lighthouse peeking around the side of An t-Aigeach.

Top


Ord Bay
GR NG 616 131
On the western side of the Sleat Peninsular, Ord Bay offers a good view of Bla Bheinn.

Access - Take the A851 from Broadford towards Armadale (for the Mallaig ferry) and turn right a couple of miles past Isle Ornsay. Follow this minor road over the hills to Ord Bay.

What to see - the bay, the river meandering into it and Bla Bheinn beyond.

Top


Sligachan
GR NG 486 298
At the head of a deep sea loch, sligachan offers fine views of the Cuillin Hills from the north-east.

Access - Sligachan lies on the A87 Broadford-Portree road. There is a layby just to the east of the bridge over the river.

What to see - the old bridge makes a great foreground for a view with the river leading away into the distance and the Cuillin Hills beyond. It's possible to frame the hills in one of the bridge arches if you wish. Alternatively, a walk along the river can give other good views. The pathalong the right bank will eventually lead to Allt Dearg House.

Top


Tarskavaig Bay
GR NG 587 087
On the western side of the Sleat Peninsular, Tarskavaig Bay is an interesting rocky bay.

Access - Take the A851 from Broadford towards Armadale (for the Mallaig ferry) and turn right at Kilbeg, a couple of miles before Armadale. Follow this minor road over the hills to Tarskavaig Bay. At the highest point of the road (GR NG 620 073) there is a good view to be had looking across Loch Dughaill towards Bla Bheinn.

What to see - apart from the views on the road over, there is the bay itself with the river meandering across it and to the right is a curious natural volcanic dyke. There are interesting rock formations on the other side of the bay too.

Top


Tarskavaig Bay
GR NG 585 092
Leaving Tarskavaig Bay (above) to the north, there is a magnificent viewpoint at the top of the hill.

What to see - in the distance to the south-west lies the island of Rhum, whilst looking north-west offers Tarskavaig Point and the Cuillin Hills betond.

Top


The Quiraing
GR NG 452 691
A strange, dramatic landscape of volcanic pillars with eroded drops between them and the main escarpment.

Access - The Quiraing lies on the minor road cutting across the Trotternish peninsular between Brogaig and Uig. There are two means of access, the first being a car park by the cemetary (1½ miles west of Brogaig) under the ridge, from where you can walk up to The Quiraing. The alternative is to park at the top of the pass, half a mile west, and walk along to The Quiraing on more the same level.

Wha to see - the strange landscape of The Quiraing itself and the stunning views to the east and south-east.

Top


The Storr
GR NG 508 528
An incredible landscape of cliffs and rock pillars dominated by the 161-foot high Old Man of Storr.

Access - take the A855 Trotternish peninsular road out of Portree. After passing a couple of lochs on the right (Loch Fada being one of them) you will find the car park and footpath on the left. You can walk right up to The Storr and the base of the Old Man but be warned - it's a steep path ascending 1000 feet and the terrain at the top is very rough and broken. You also need to be wary of rock falls from the cliffs above.

What to see - rocks, rocks and more rocks. The Old Man dominates the landscape but Needle Rock (a pinnacle pierced by erosion) is also worth a look. alos, there are fine views to the east and south-east. It's easy to lose track of time up there, when I last went I spent over 2 hours and it didn't seem like half that.

Top


The Storr views

For those who are not energetic or just don't want to climb up to The Storr, there are several good viewpoints along the road.

The first two have been covered already, Bride's Veil waterfall and Loch Fada.
There is also a layby at GR NG 499 516, and a few other places that it's possible to pull off the road.

Top


Views from Kyleakin
GR NG 754 264
Kyleakin is where the Skye Ferry used to land from Kyle of Lochalsh before the bridge was built.There is a large car park beside the shore and a viewpoint by the old ferry pier.

Access - turn off the A87 at the roundabout at the Skye end of the Skye Bridge, the car park is on the left a few hundred yards down.

What to see - the Skye Bridge to the west with Kyleakin lighthose below it, the small fishing harbour, views across Kyle Akin and the ruins of Caisteal Maol to the east.

Top


Return to Articles Index
Return to Photography Index
Return to Front Page

All text and photos are copyright © Chris Maddock, 2007