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There’s an easier way to this beach and a harder way. Handy tip, if it’s late and you’re still recovering from knee surgery, stay on the wide downward track described on Walk Highlands. If however you believe the person who says there’s a faster route and you love the double challenge of a rope river crossing and a steep footpath with said knee, by all means head down the alternative (slightly) more direct route. (Bitter experience not pictured.)
Whichever path you choose, leave plenty of time because this place, immortalised as Camusfearna in the classic, Ring of Brightwater is just magical, especially in the long light of a summer evening. Bring food, swimming cossies and good company.
In the summer season head to All the Goodness in Dornie for coffee and where the cakes, made with local and home grown ingredients are amazing. You'll also get the best view and great pictures of Eilean Donan Castle.
If you're on Skye, chances are you're passing through Broadford so save a caffeine-fix for Cafe Sia Loved by visitors and locals alike it has great coffee, wood-fired pizza and a separate chippie down the road, (so all the food groups).
Bealach na Bà
Bealach Na Ba is one of the few rides that sounds as wild as it actually is and fully deserves its place on every bucket list of epic bike rides.
Loop anti clockwise and you’ll tackle the western face of the Bealach on tiny, exposed moorland roads that twist towards the distant summit. Wind it out clockwise and the first lazy tempo corners roll you into an incredible geological amphitheatre that ramps up harder and harder until the last cramping hairpins deliver a hammer blow to your calves. Either way you’ll be gambling that whatever gods control the chaotic weather that likes to swirl round the summit will add to the adventure. If you’re lucky it’ll be lifetime memorable panoramic views over Skye and the Highlands but even if you’re watching the slow drip of freezing rain off your cap as the numbness spreads further up your arms like we did this January you’ll never have a Bealach climb that’s not epically memorable.
It’s also one of the few climbs that repays with a descent that’s just as stunning and seemingly never ending too, leaving braking fingers aching like a proper Alpine plummet as you drop towards the coast on either side. While the Bealach itself is the rite of passage the rest of the loop is truly world class too. A self propelled roller coaster where the mountains of Skye and Torridon or secret shoreline coves take turn to hover on your shoulder.
And yes we know all this sounds like some dreadful faux Tolkien/Game of Thrones fantasy cliche you’ll find on a midnight channel hop, but ride this loop yourself and you’ll realise it’s hard not to feel just a tiny bit legendary when you’ve done it.
The route to Glenelg from Avernish is impossibly beautiful in an alpine rather than a Highland way, which is enough of a reason to go, another is to take the turntable ferry to Skye - but the best reason of all is to swim off the beach. The water gets warm enough to go without a wetsuit in high summer and you can make yourself feel adventurous by swimming between the rocks round to smaller bays.
We use Komoot to create or record some of the trails we've walked or ridden round here. If you have the app the link will open up on our page. If you don't have the app, ensure you scroll down after you hit 'view' on each route, it isn't necessary to sign in to view them.
As this is Scotland and you can ride anywhere the mountain bike routes are different trails and paths linked together, which means you can just as easily walk the shorter ones or part of the longer ones.
Although the Komoot maps are good for general route-finding we recommend taking an OS (Ordnance Survey) map of the area with you too. You'll find a proper paper set with good coverage of the local area at the house. (Pictured above, Boreraig, Skye.)
The seals at Dunvegan will be plopping into the water even as you launch. Wherever you paddle, they will follow, except when it gets too shallow, then they will form an orderly line waiting for you to get back on track. From time to time one will get brave enough to come close - then be more scared than you when they bump the underside of your board. They will adopt a look of extreme annoyance when it gets too cold for you to stay and play any longer. As one they will silently turn their backs, refusing to even wave good-bye.
Question: is it possible that the beauty of Skye can get too much? Answer: not ever.
Standing on the great chunks of rock that are the beach at Elgol is like standing on the ends of the earth. This was February when the snow on the tops makes it impossible to take a bad photo. Stop at The Blue Shed Cafe in Torrin on the way home to warm your freezing ass and feed your starving face. You're welcome.
Fairy Pools, Skye
Close to Glen Brittle on Skye, the Fairy Pools are beautiful in any season. This was a frozen January when the knee deep snow made the kilometre-ish hike from the car park seem much further. It didn't matter.
Still on the to-do list, swimming in the pools in summer.
Eilean Donan Castle
The castle, which is in Dornie can be seen down the loch on walks along the trails from The Field House, but it's worth getting up close too. One of the best views is from outside All the Goodness Cafe - caffeine, homemade cake and a photo opportunity makes for a great combination. Or go at night when it's transformed by floodlights.
Kintail Mountain Bike Route
The word epic is over-used, but the Kintail Loop deserves it down to the last (tired) turn of the pedals.
It's best tackled with a good level of fitness and decent bike handling skills - not gonna lie, it can be technical in places.
Depending on conditions your bike may have to be carried through some sections, but it's damn near the best all-day adventure we've had on any trail. The final descent is the icing on a very big cake.
This was a cold day and as ever, heading to this sort of exposure we were packing proper survival kit plus plenty of snacks and water. The ride was worth having to resort to eating the gels.
The Kintail Loop is one of a collection of favourite routes and destinations from The Field House posted on Komoot
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