Walk: Portree panorama - forest & coast

Skye | Portree | Half day walk | ★★★

[The higher part of the route has great views over Loch Portree]

The expansive Aros Centre outside Portree is an important island hub, with functions as diverse as community centre, visitor centre, restaurant and even a small cinema. It's a convenient place to stock up on tourist tat local souvenirs, but we're here to talk about one of several walking routes plunging into the trees south of the car park. Some of these trails have a faintly neglected feel - an optimistic past attempt to redistribute Skye's tourist crowds away from the "A-list sites", perhaps - but this circuit in particular is a worthwhile way of getting familiar with a part of the island that many visitors only experience from inside a car or coach. The outward leg starts with a tiring climb through dark forest, but the reward is a stint on a high level track - with excellent views over Glen Varragill and north across the bay to Trotternish - before a very scenic (though soggy, particularly just following high tides) return along the shore of tidal Loch Portree. Unfortunately the route isn't the only thing which grows on you: the very last few hundred metres back to the car park was nearly blocked by high bracken on our midsummer visit. Possibly one for winter or springtime?

[View from the Aros Centre at the start]

📌 Walk: Portree panorama - forest & coast ★★★
▶ 5 km / 3 miles | ▲ 120 metres
Features: Loch Portree & forest viewpoints
Start / finish: Car park at Aros Centre, A87 a mile south of Portree, Skye, G.R.: NG 477423 ///nylon.match.pheasants. Gates to the car park are locked overnight.

Route: Car park - path and track through forest above road to south - join A87 at G.R.: NG 475406 - leave B883 to follow west bank of Varragill River - west side of Loch Portree - start
Terrain: Steep, clear path (high vegetation in summer) then good track for outward leg. Spongy, soggy return on marshland which is briefly submerged at high tide, becoming increasingly rough. Last 200 metres to car park is difficult to locate and overgrown in high summer!
Wildlife today: Pair of eagles over Beinn na Greine. Sheep being herded across the bridge over the Varragill River.
Weather today: Mostly overcast at first, sunny breaks developing. Dry with light winds.

[Zoomed view of The Storr to the north]

Route map


Route credit: Walkhighlands

Chronological photo guide

[View across Loch Portree from the start]

[The circuit starts with a steep climb through the forest]

[Possible eagle sighting above Beinn na Greine]

[Contouring the slopes of Beinn na Greine]

[The climb emerges on a good track]

[Descent into Glen Varragill - Cuillin Hills in the distance]

[Looking back over Loch Portree]

[Zoom of The Storr]

[Sheep being herded across the Varragill River]

[Varragill River]

[Track alongside the Varragill River]

[Sunshine over Portree and The Storr]

[Varragill River]

[Soggy path along Loch Portree]

[Loch Portree and Ben Tianavaig]

[Loch Portree]

[Sting in the tail - the last few hundred metres were overgrown with ferns on our visit]

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