This Skye coastal walking guide – Ashaig to Ardnish, outlines the route and highlights some of the wildlife that you might see on a stretch of coast that is uncharacteristically flat, by Skye standards. This is a very wildlife rich area favoured by a lot of wading birds, geese, birds of prey, seals on the reefs and, possibly, otters in the sea and on shore.
Park at Ashaig, near the burial ground, which is reached from the township road, signed to Lower Breakish, from the Broadford to Kyleakin road. A driveable but bumpy track branches off towards the burial ground with parking on the grass verges.
Cross the stile at the end of the track and go onto the shore. Although the walk takes the left shore and passes in front of the houses in Lower Breakish, the shore to the right is worth exploring if the tide is out. There’s a sandy beach and lots of pools to poke about in but no way across the inlet to the reefs on the Ardnish side.
Follow the obbe on the Lower Breakish side until it allows you to cross and pick your way across the salt marsh and work your way back down the other side of the obbe. Following the shore round will eventually bring you out onto Ardnish which is best explored at low tide when you can cross almost to the very end of the reefs.
Follow the reef round until you pick up the path that follows the shore line on the seaward side. This leads to the end of the Waterloo township road where there is a path that cuts across the saltmarsh and meets the obbe on the Lower Breakish side, allowing you to retrace your steps to where you parked.
Birds feeding on the shore are likely to include, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Turnstone, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit. On the water there’s usually Red-breasted Mergansers, Eider ducks, and Shags with the occasional Great Northern Diver and Goldeneye in winter into spring.
You’ll need binoculars or, better still, a telescope to pick these out without disturbing them. Guests staying at Springbank, our Skye self catering holiday cottage in Elgol, have the exclusive use of both as part of our environmental activities offer that also includes nets and gear for rock pooling, so there’s plenty for everyone to do on a day at Ashaig and Ardnish.
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