Skye coastal walk guide – Elgol to Strathaird

Cuillins across Loch Scavaig from Elgol coastal walk

The Skye coastal walk from Elgol, round the Strathaird Peninsular to Kilmarie, and on to Strathaird, is a real hidden gem.  There’s cliffs, rocky shore, an island, caves and even some sandy bits. There’s plenty of birds, and wildlife and the seascapes are magnificent.

Elgol is where Springbank Cottage, our Skye self catering holiday cottage is located and this is just one of several great walks right on the doorstep.  The walk is also great opportunity to use some of the environmental activity resources on offer at the cottage to guests.  There’s nets for rock pooling, fishing tackle and much much more.

Starting at Elgol jetty pick out the path that heads above the shore to give your first photo op – the Cuillins from Elgol across Loch Scavaig.  The path winds its way across the moorland and often strays away from the cliff top, usually it’s because there’s a cut-in or chasm that’s best avoided.

The path will lead you out onto the top of the stacks and cliffs giving a vertiginous drop down into the sea.  There’s cliff nesting seabirds around in the breeding season, mostly fulmars, shags and gulls and this gives a great vantage point for bird watching.

You get a great seascape out to the islands, especially Rum.  Near to the Skye shore is Strathaird Island which is home to a common seal colony.  Otters love this stretch of coast so get a good vantage point and keep a good look out.  There’s information guides to seals and otters on this site.

Follow the coast round, dropping down on the beach to do a spot of beachcombing.  Prince Charlie’s cave can be visited from here when the tide is low.  You need to cut back along the shore under the cliffs you have come over.  The cave is no more than a deep recess in the cliffs with a rocky ledge that provides a modest amount of shelter.

Prince Charlie's Cave

Prince Charlie’s Cave

You can follow the rocky shore round the inlet until you are opposite the Island.  At low tide there is a small sandy area from where you can get get good views of the seals on the Island shore.  The cliffs opposite the Island bar the way round at sea level but the rock pools on the reefs are worth a look at low tide.

To continue the walk, pick up the line of a small burn that leads away from the Island across the moor and follow the cliff top round the coast.  There’s several small inlets to explore before reaching the deer fence at the cliff edge.  Go through the gate and pick your way through the vegetation and follow the path up across the croft where it meets the public road at Glasnakille.

You’ll have to follow the road through the township until it becomes a rough track when past the last house at the road end.  Walk through the woods and keep on this track until it drops down into the beautiful bay at Kilmarie where it becomes a public road again.

Kilmarie Bay

Kilmarie Bay

You can follow the road out of Kilmarie until it joins the main Broadford to Elgol public road at Strathaird. You’ll have to walk back to Elgol along the road although timing it so that you meet the bus back to Elgol is worthy of  consideration!