Walk: The Quiraing - Skye's labyrinthine landslide
|[The Quiraing from the roadside east of the pass - photo from a few days later]|
Some of the UK's most spectacular rock formations put The Quiraing firmly on the A-list for tourists visiting the Isle of Skye, forming part of the huge, active Trotternish landslip which continually deforms the roads around here. Heading along the quieter ridge top lets you peer into the heart of this rock city from above, before you descend to the tourist path below it. To fully appreciate the scale of the natural architecture, you should ascend the steep gully underneath the famous Needle, with narrow paths taking you into complex terrain at the heart of the maze. Nothing makes you feel smaller than being hemmed in by these volcanic, vertical walls. Such an incredible and busy place deserves better than the disgraceful parking arrangements at the walk's start on the road pass - no facilities at all at the unsurfaced, litter-strewn, inadequate layby. On a sunny summer day, arrive early (or late afternoon) to secure a space, or approach from the north at the Fingal's Tomb car park instead. Paths annoyingly busy? Escape south towards Bioda Buidhe.
|[Peering into the heart of the Quiraing from above - it's explorable from below via a steep gully]|
Name: Walk: The Quiraing - Skye's labyrinthine landslide ★★★★★
Length: 8 km / 5 miles
Ascent: 390 metres
Main summits: Meall na Suiramach (543 metres, sub-2000')
Points of interest: The Quiraing landslip, including The Table, The Needle, The Prison and countless other features
Start / finish: Car park (gets full) at the top of the Quiraing pass, G.R.: NG 440679 ///views.growl.chair
Route: Car park - Maoladh Mor - Meall na Suiramach via clifftop and short detour - gap in cliffs at Fir Bhreugach - cairn at base of The Needle - detour to heart of the Quiraing from here - return to Needle - start
Terrain: Clear paths with steep ascent / descent to gain and leave the ridge. Occasionally boggy on ridge, and briefly pathless to reach true summit. Steep ascent of loose gully on narrow paths to access the heart of the Quiraing. Unexpected short scramble to cross a wet gully on the main path near the end may catch out the unwary tourist.
Wildlife today: Sheep.
Weather today: Dry and cloudy with occasional bright spells. Very strong southerly wind funnelling between the pinnacles on the lower return path.
|[The Needle from the tourist path - more impressive from just above]|
Route credit: Walkhighlands (modified)