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Ballachulish to Skye driving and Skye Itinerary 3 nights/2 full days

I had posted a while back and gotten feedback on my trip..and now I have the trip routing and all the places to stay.

Just detailing out all the driving/sections etc.

I have an itinerary put together for Skye and I Would love feedback and have a few direct questions.

this will be August 6 - August 9th 2015

Day 1:

Leave from Ballachulish To Skye – staying in Edinbane

Take Road of Isles to Mallaig, we plan to start early I am sure no later then 8 and probably earlier.

We want to enjoy our drive so need to determine how much time if we have a few stops (ie. Glenfinnan and looking for suggestions if there are other not miss stops??)

Mallaig Ferry times that I think we should choose from are 12:15, 1:45 ; I am currently thinking if we start at 8am we should make the 12:15 Thoughts or should we push back to the 1:45pm. ??

  • Should we shoot for a lock cruise out of Elgol now? Or skip and just keep going and enjoy the trip to our B&B. At first I wanted to take advantage of being south and going to Elgol, but now am thinking better to just get going/enjoy the trip/ stop for groceries at Broadford or is there one in Portree. THOUGHTS?

Without the Boat trip; If we went straight to our place to check in I am estimating arriving at Ideas for things to do TODAY as we should be arriving at our place around 3 or 4 (that is giving 7 hours leaving Ballachulish/sitseeing/grocery shopping).

There is still a lot of daylight…would love to know what we should do this night to make the most of the 3 night/2 day tripo. (which is probably typical of everyones itinerary –– either take the boat trip out of Elgol or do one of the hikes or sunset somewhere or do one of the hikes for Old Man of Store?

Day 2:

Thinking this will be our full day of Trotternish Peninsula - not sure we will have time for anything else. I have been reading and a little confued on the time it takes for the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing. ie. the short circuit / long circuit etc.

  • Would like to Hike Old Man of Storr (3 to 5 hours from walk of highland but 1.5 hours some other place - the short hike

  • Would like to hike Quiraing (3 to 5 hours round trip? - trying to understand the hike and how long it will take)

o See The Table, Needle

o Is the summit of biodha buidhe trotternish ridge part of this?

  • Kilt Rock and Lealt Falls

  • Fairy Glen

Should we go counter Clockwise or Clockwise? Best of Scotland book states to approach Quiraing from the Clockwise for more breathtaking views. Is there a reason to go one way or the other for crowds too.

Day 3

Should we head north or south…would love help on the best way to make this day work.

This day is meant to cover the rest! ☺ what is the best routing...or is there really not one.

Dunvegan / Central / Cullin Hills.

Would like to see:

  • Dunvegan Castle (even if we do not tour the castle)

  • Fairy Pools Hike

  • Black Cullin / Schligachan

What else???

Our main goal will be scenery and getting out and enjoying it.

(no plans for the distillery, or nice long dinners etc).

Maybe fit in the Boat trip here or will we not have time.

Day 4

Leaving Sky – across SkyBridge and stopping at Eilean Donan Castle.

We are headed to Aviemore (will post on this leg of the trip separate).

Posted by
1036 posts

Vist Upper Glen Nevis and do the short walk up to Steall waterfall.
The supermarket in Broadford is right next to the left turn to Elgol.
Do the boat ride to Loch Coruisk before you hit Portree,assuming weather is good.
Theres two supermakets in portree the biggest is a left turn at the rounadbout just before the town centre, be signed up for Uig.

Posted by
1801 posts

We just got back from Skye. We didn't hike much because the weather was very cold and damp, not at all typical for mid June we were told. A few thoughts that might help you:

For a good view of the Glenfinnan viaduct, you will need to do a 10-15 minute walk from the visitor center. Otherwise, you can only see 2 or 3 of the arches.

Book the later ferry - Cal Mac is very accommodating about letting you shift to an earlier ferry if space is available ( it nearly always is available).

The road to Elgol is one of the most scenic on Skye - allow yourself enough time to enjoy the scenery and stop for a brief visit to the ruined church. You will also pass a pasture with some handsome Highland "coos."

There are two excellent restaurants in Broadford: Harbour View right in town and Red Skye a bit closer to the bridge. We never found any as good in Portree.

We did not enjoy Dunvegan Castle - it was full of stately furniture and ancestral portraits and seemed to have little connection with the rest of Skye. Consider using the time and money you could save by skipping it to drive out to Neist Point Lighthouse and then treating yourself to a pretty Celtic souvenir from nearby Skye Silver.

The Fairy Pools are extremely popular. If you choose to visit them, go either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. If you go mid-day, you probably will not find a parking space.

The Sligachan Hotel is conveniently located at the intersection of two main roads and is a good place to stop for late afternoon coffee and a bit of dessert.

Despite the RS opinions, Eileen Donan Castle is worth going inside one time. This was our fourth time viewing the outside, we finally decided to go in and it had a nice mix of medieval architecture and baronial furnishings. From there, it's only a few extra miles to drive up to visit nearby Plockton. Great lunch spot at Plockton Shores.

Be sure you pack a tube of Benedryl ointment for those nasty midge bites.

Posted by
5677 posts

This sounds like a lovely trip. One thing to be aware of, is that most B&B's start serving breakfast at 8AM. Occasionally, when I've stayed in one that caters to visiting workers as opposed to tourists I've been able to have breakfast earlier. If you want an early start they will help you out with a cold breakfast-yogurt and the like with a piece of fresh fruit.

My viamichelin routing gets you to Mallaig in 1 hour 37 minutes. Add 25% for general touring (stopping for pix or just driving slower so you can see!) and you're at about two hours. I agree that Glen Nevis has some nice walks, but if it were me, I'd be itching to get to Skye. When I stopped at Glenfinnan I spent about a half hour max. I was more intrigued by the fact that Prince Charlie landed here first and kicked off the Jacobin rising. I guess I'm not enough of Harry Potter fan. But I think I would figure on 3 hours to get to the ferry if I were you unless you stop to hike. It's a good hour from the ferry to Elgol Pier. But figure on more as it is a gorgeous drive as someone else has pointed out. I think I would do this boat trip on your first day if you can. It's a beautiful trip and intro to Skye. It looks like the coop in Portree is open until 11 PM so you have plenty of time to shop.

I enjoyed Dunvegan Castle, but it was one of the first castles I went to not counting Edinburgh and Stirling which are in a class by themselves. You might consider going west to Neist Point and down the west coast. But to be honest, you won't go wrong no matter what you choose. Why don't you leave one day open with various options and see what you learn and sounds good to you when you are there?

Use this link to find the Coop hours.


Posted by
6113 posts

I'm I have just got back yesterday from a long Scottish trip including Skye. The weather was very disappointing and for the last 24 days we have had rain every day and temperatures are way below the norm. We had two days 2 weeks ago when the maximum daytime temperature was 7 degrees. We were anticipating at least 15 degrees. All the locals said it's the worst summer in 40 years and all we heard on the TV was heatwave in London and the south! So pack accordingly. at least there are fewer midges. The ground is very boggy in many places for walking.

The Co-ops in Kyle of Lochalsh and Broadford both have poor food offerings and are expensive for what they offer. Better stock up at Morrisons in Fort William.

We drove to Ergol, which is not quick, only to find that the stunning view along the beach to the Cullins was not possible due to the mist/drizzle which practically started at the end of the beach! Be prepared to change your plans to suit the daily weather to maximise your enjoyment.

Many of the roads once you get off the main north/south road are single track with passing places so they take longer to navigate than anticipated and August will be busier. You can easily spend a week on Skye and not cover everything.

If you haven't booked Aviemore, consider staying in either nearby Nethybridge or Bridge of Garten as they are pretty but much less tacky. A trip to Loch Garten is worthwhile.

Posted by
124 posts

This is awesome! Thanks so much and I love the detail.

Sorry of the bad weather! Family is in Wales right now and they said the same....more rain then normal.

I think we will probably skip the inside of the castle, just want to see the outside..

And I will be looking up those places.

I think the weather is going to be the big deal.
if weather is good, I say we take the boat on the way in and not book ahead....but call when we are close.

We will have an opportunity to hike the stealth falls as we have 1 day that we will be in the Glencoe/Glen Nevis area....and that was probably on our list!

Thanks...again..and I will be reviewing!!!

Posted by
459 posts

we went counter clockwise on Trotternish and you do get an awesome view of Quiraing on the way up, there are great vantage points up there to see it all and but as you drive down (if you go clockwise) if you leave time u can pull off a bit and look back. Know that to hike Quiraing there are a couple of spots on the trail that require a certain degree of courage, courage vs fear of heights. You must make a couple of long steps over narrow rock passages that will test your resolve so be prepared. (on the lower trail) There was a mother with a 12 year old girl coming back as we went out so I believe it is all relavant to your make up. Dont let this discourage you from making the trip though, Quiraing is beyond desrcription. I also would recommend if you are up on the pennesula you visit the Fairy Glen over near Uig, hard to locate but uniquely cool! Glencoe back near Ballachulish will also give a large WoW factor so leave time to pull over and look around as you drive through Glencoe...that valley is my second favorite next to Quiraing! We hiked two days in Glencoe/Glinnfinnen area. Be sure to allow more time than you think you will need due to narrow roads, and take time to pull off on the numerous viewing spots so your driver can soak in the beauty. I wanna go back! go to for some details on the hikes from folks that hike these spots, nice photos of regular people that love hiking, its great for direction on Skye and elsewhere...oh yeah, nice city name by the way!!

Posted by
5677 posts

My sister and I did the this walk as far as stage three many, many years ago. We did see the spectacular views of Loch Coruisk, but turned around at this point as it was getting late and the mist was descending.

If you're going to be doing some real walking on this trip I want to strongly recommend that you have good hiking boots. It made all the difference for me. The trails often have boggy bits and you tramp right through them. I've sunk nearly to the top of my boots in muck in the Scottish highlands. :) I also finally caved and got some rain pants. We walked through a fair bit of rainy weather. We didn't walk when the forecast was for an all day down pour, but if it was off and on, we would still go. Of course, a good rain coat is imperative. And I would recommend a rain cover for your day pack. Or, you can use what my friend from Scotland called, a rain cape (poncho in American). She put this over her rain jacket usually.

As for the midges, I have been lucky in a half dozen plus of walking weeks in Scotland, I've only had to put the Midgie hat on 5-6 times. I picked up my midgie hat (netting that goes over your head and protects your face) in Edinburgh in one of the outdoor equipment places in New Town. It came with it's own cute little sack to hold it. The rain pants had their own sack as well! :)

Rothiemurchus near Aviemore does a wide variety of trails. The heather should be wonderful at that time of year.


Posted by
124 posts

More great information....

so on the Quiraing - is it well marked so we will know where we are going? Like when people say we went to the needle or Pam how you said you went to level

Jarrad intersting so you went opposite of what my Scotland the Best book says, but I really haven't found much information / suggestion to really say which way to go. Clockwise or Counter Clockwise.

i do hope to be able to find the Fariy Glen.

We do have one full day to spend in the Glencoe area (I thought about posting to find what people will say what a perfect day would be there! would love to hear your favorites.

Pam - thanks for the info on the Midges hat - we have a mosquito one that we used for I am assuming that would work.
Also Aviemore is on of our stops! (there is no way you can remember my posts that you responded too a while back)!

Posted by
5677 posts

Stacey, It should work. Midges are smaller than mosquitoes though....I brought along some REI Deet type mosquito repellent that worked pretty well. As I said, though, didn't need it a lot. Unlike hiking in the midwest where the default is to apply repellent before taking a step.