Sleat - Dalavil
This is a delightful hike of around 12km to Dalavil on the west coast of Sleat. The navigation is mostly straightforward and much of the route is on tracks or paths - but there are some sections that can be very boggy after rain. The route passes a beautiful, isolated loch, and some evocative settlements that have been deserted since the clearances of the nineteenth century. It takes you through Coille Dalavil, a mature mixed native woodland, before reaching the shore. From the coast, the views across the water to the Cuillin are magnificent. This is also a good walk for seeing wildlife of many kinds, including snakes, and otters that frequently play by the shore.
Staffin is home to a couple of beaches. There are some good spots on the main bay if you are prepared to seek them out, but there is easier access to a small area of sand just before the end of the road to Staffin Community Slipway, at NG490686. As well as the sea and sand, you can find some quite astonishing dinosaur footprints here too.
If walking from Staffin itself, there is a good path across the hill from the Columba 1400 Leadership Centre in the township.
Knock Ullinish Souterrain
There is an easily accessible example of a souterrain, or earth house, located at the foot of Knock Ullinish. It is a short walk from the minor road to Ullinish, close to Dun Beag at Struan. To reach it, leave the road via the gate at NG332382. The first few steps are boggy when wet, but you soon pick up a natural track that leads round towards the north of the small hill of Knock Ullinish. You will find the entrance to the souterrain at NG333384. It may not be immediately obvious, but the picture below should help you to identify it.
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.