The Quiraing.

Start. Car Park at the summit of the Staffin to Uig road.

Route. Car Park - The Prison - The Needle - Fir Bhrevgach - Meall na Suiramach - Maoladh Mor - Car Park.

Notes. The Trotternish Ridge has got to be one of the most awesome landscapes I've ever had the pleasure to walk through, almost supernatural, a place of ghosts and ghouls, hobbits and orcs, history and legend, tolkienesque in appearance with teeth of rock gnawing at the sky. I could waffle on for pages about the geology of the ridge but to compress millions of years into a few words it's one massive landslip, from Portree in the south to Flodigarry in the north almost twenty miles of mind boggling scenery. The last time we graced Skye the weather was quite miserable, low cloud and heavy rain haunted our stay, this week the gaelic weather gods smiled on us, sunshine and showers all week, changing moods with dancing shadows and silvery seascapes, in these conditions the Trotternish Ridge looked awesome, The Quiraing beckoned us onto the hill.

At just under 2,000ft the summit of The Quiraing, Meall na Suiramach isn't very high compared to the mighty Cuillin, Skye's other famous mountain range, and it's easy access, a narrow fell road links Staffin to Uig crossing the ridge at a breech in the cliffs around the 850ft contour, there's a rather large lay-by home to an ever present burger van, not very wilderness but just look what awaits around the corner.

We left the car park heading in a north-westerly direction, a well walked path carried us into The Quiraing, with walls of rock rising to our left we wandered on, passed the cliffs of Maoladh Mor before reaching the first impressive feature, The Prison a wedge of rock with cliffs on one side and steep grassy slopes on the other, and yes it does bear an uncanny resemblance to a Medieval Keep. Near by The Needle, a slender 120ft high pinnacle of rock guardian of a steep scree path, this disapears between teeth of rock emerging at The Table a grass topped platform almost totally flat, I'll be honest our guide book advised against attempting the ascent of The Table, we viewed it later from above. On we walked, stunning scenery and magical vistas accompanied our every step, a stile aided our crossing of a boundary fence before we rounded a corner.

The path continued along the base of the cliffs, carrying us into a high valley, on we strolled through a gap in a dry stone wall then on to a small cairn marking a path junction. The path to the right descends to Flodigarry, our way was to the left, with no escape route visible we wandered on, how we would escape this high valley was anyones guess, when the wall of impenetrable cliffs swung right a narrow path ascended a grassy rake allowing access to the ridge above. Once on the ridge we swung south to ascend Meall na Suiramach, every step presented us with extensive views, we soon found ourselves standing at the summit with breath-tacking vistas in every direction. West over Loch Snizort to the Waternish Peninsular, north across an horizon of fleeting showers and dancing rainbows, the Outer Hebrides, to the west Raasay and Rona backed by the mountains of Applecross, and finally the stunning roller-coaster ridge of plunging cliffs and cathedral like spires rising from a landscape of tiny lochens sparkling like diamonds in the Autumn sunshine, the ridge we chose to walk a tiny slice of. It seemed a long descent from the summit but with views like this who cared, the only thing that hastened our pace was a band of rain sweeping in from the north-west, by the time we reached the car we were soaked, but who cared, not us.

view route map.


We've just stepped from the car into scenery like this, south along the Trotternish Ridge.

Looking down on the thin ribbon of tarmac that allowed access to this wonderful world we're walking through, the hills, Dun Dubh and Druim an Ruma with Beinn Edra rising behind Cleat.

Clinging to a reassuring path in a landscape that makes you feel tiny, looking to the cliffs and grassy slopes of The Prison.

Sue lingers on this well walked path, this was a day for lingering and loitering.

The stunning view over Cnoc a Mheirlich (bottom right) to Cleat and the impressive cliffs falling from the summit of Bioda Buidhe.

Approaching The Prison.

Dwarfed by the landscape, the towering cliffs and teeth of rock of The Quiraing.

Viewing The Needle, the slender 120ft high pinicle of rock.

Our path ascends to this coll with the dark mass of The Prison to the right and The Needle in contrasting sunlight on the left.

A slice of the picturesque, teeth of rock biting the sky.

Views over Staffin Bay.

This walk is like wandering through a lonely nether-world, if the cloud had been low it would be extremely spooky, instead we've got sunshine and yet more spectacular scenery just round the corner.

Wandering through a huge eerie landscape looking to the cliffs and spires of Sron Vourlinn with sunlight on Eilean Flodigarry, the island far below.

Looking south back along our route.

Seen from the ascent of Meall na Suiramach, Ben Volovaig above Kilmaluag Bay backed by the hills of the Outer Hebrides.

A magical view to the sunlit cliffs of Sron Vourlinn, a humbling site.

Mouth-watering views to the south, lift your eyes from The Quiraing and let your gaze drift across the landforms of Skye to the islands of Rona and Raasay.

It's hard to know where to look next, north, south, east or west, I like west over the lochens of Hasco and Langaig to Eilean Flodigarry.

Standing on the summit of Meall na Suiramach looking to the small group of islands containing Lord Macdonald's Table and The Cleats, sunlight cuts through a number of rents in the storm cloud, this one missed us, we weren't so lucky with the next.

Waternish across Loch Snizort seen from the summit of Meall na Suiramach.

Also Rona and Raasay backed by the hills of Wester Ross.

Seen over teeth of rock guarding The Table, Staffin Bay.

The Table.

Maoladh Mor gifts the walker with wonderful views along the Trotternish Ridge, on the far horizon The Storr, I think that's the only top I've failed to mention. Ah! the two Lochens, Loch Leum na Luirginn catching the last of the sun and Loch Cleat.

There's a bit of a spring in our step, a storm's approaching from the other side of the hill, just time for a quick snap on this slippery descent, the Rha Glen and Reival above Uig with views over Loch Snizort.

The blue sky's been washed away by heavy rain but that doesn't detract from the beauty of this small slice of the Isle of Skye, and just to prove a point there are still people heading into The Quiraig (pillared enclosure).

back to top

back to list