Solo on Skye: Rubha Hunish - The Magnificent North of the Isle of Skye
The gorgeous Isle of Skye
From the very beginning of my planning, hiking on the Isle of Skye was a given. I saw hundreds of photos and I just had to see with my own eyes to believe such a place could exist in reality.
My original plan was to trek through the whole length of the Skye Trail, which takes about a week to complete for an experienced hiker.
I thought I would have eight days to do that, but then I found out about the Skye Highland Games and decided to stay around Portree a bit longer.
I did a short trip to the Old Man of Storr and did grocery shopping one day, the next I witnessed the Games (for the first time in my life!) and went up north late in the afternoon.
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The Skye's Lookout
I arrived at Duntulm in a seriously unpleasant weather.
The wind and rain tried hard to turn me away, but I pushed on toward the Rubha Hunish.
The views. Absolutely stunning!
For the afternoon I had planned just a short walk to the Lookout bothy and to start the trail properly the next day.
The Lookout couldn’t be in a more breath-taking place!
Although I was unlucky with the weather – fog was closing in blocking most of the view, I was already mesmerized.
The Lookout itself is a tiny wooden house which used to be a coastguard watch station. Today it is maintained by the MBA – click on to learn more and/or support them.
There is neither fire nor water there, so bring your own!
There is room for three people only, but we slept five – taking over the “living room’s” floor :). I don’t think there is a way to fit more people there!
I was lucky to occupy the top of the bunk bed.
The Highlanders on Skye
I walked a bit around the area but didn’t brave the walk down to the Hunish headland.
The visibility got really bad and the path down is very steep.
The temperature wasn’t really helpful for long walks – it was getting really chilly! I went back to the bothy and thought I was done for the day! But we had visitors. ;-)
Holy (highlander) cow!
Toward the sunset, a small herd of highlander cows came to graze around the lookout. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them!
Just an hour before that I was jokingly wining to the other hikers how I would complain to the Ministry of Tourism for the lack of famous wooly cows!
They must have heard my voice. Thank you, powers unknown to me!
The calves were a bit shy, but the adults were used to humans it seemed, as they didn’t pay any attention to us taking photos like crazy!
Needless to say, I was in heaven! ;-)
Rubha Hunish - the end of Skye
In the morning I was (as usual) the last one to get my stuff together.
The weather was still chilly but the fog was gone, so I decided to go down to the Hunish headland. The right place to descent isn’t all that obvious, actually.
Look for two stiles opposite each other and a gate between them – there is a kissing gate right over the cliff.
When you get closer you can see a path that looks as if it just dropped down – but don’t worry, there is a way to climb down, just be careful!
The words are failing me!
Honestly, I think I spent about two hours or more there.
Every step I took, every small change in angle provided another magnificent scene. I could have spent there a whole day - just me and my camera!
If you are planning on going that way, let me say this straight: do not skip this.
It doesn’t look all that much from above but is simply awesome when down there.
By the way – there were sheep all over the place. I have no idea how they got there ;-) it was seriously steep to get to the bottom!
It is said you can watch whales from there – I wasn’t so lucky.
But I saw a seal dancing in the water :). Good enough for me! There were also many seabirds nesting in the rocks.
One more time – a magnificent place, a real “must”.
On my way to Flodigarry - the best campsite on Skye?
I finally got myself together to leave Rubha Hunish and trudge my way toward the Flodigarry Hostel.
very strong wind was my constant companion on this trek, but there was no rain and the day was nice and clear.
In the afternoon I had full on the sunshine.
The path leads very closely to the cliff and the views were … what are other synonyms for “magnificent” and “awesome”? I seem badly in need of them!
The ground was pretty rough and difficult – boggy, uneven and sometimes very close to the cliff drop, requiring full attention.
As it was raining hard the day before some of the bogginess became pools of swamps, difficult to cross.
The trekking poles again proved worth their weight in gold - I could check the depth of a bog or use them to propel myself up when jumping.
But it was a price I was willing to pay for what I was able to see.
A loving ode to the Flodigarry Hostel :)
I arrived at the hostel and had to wait a bit – it opens at 5 pm.
I pitched my tent on the camping area (£ 9,50), hoping the owners wouldn’t mind and just sat enjoying the views.
The hostel is a great place to stay at – either inside or on the campsite.
This was, I believe, the best campsite I stayed at! The facilities available to campers were just out of this world: fully stocked home-like and huge kitchen with big yet cozy dining room.
There was a small reading room with plush sofas and armchairs where I was happy to sit with a cup of tea and rest.
It was nice to eat food from real plates for a change! The showers were home-like, with hot water. What a pleasure.
And did I mention the Wi-Fi? Heaven, I tell you!
I was so happy with it that later on when I climbed down from the Old Man of Storr soaked, cold and tired (spoiler!), I decided to go back here instead of the much closer campsite in Portree.
Just a fair warning – if you wish to stay in the hostel, book far in advance!
So, I was refreshed, well caught up with the outside world, clean and dry.
It was all good for what was waiting for me along the Trotternish Ridge…
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FYI: I researched the trail very well ahead of time – as it is not an easy one.
Some parts are well marked, but some, especially in bad weather, might be difficult or even dangerous.
Have a good map and a compass on you! I bought the Cicerone The Skye Trail guide book and copied description of the trail from the Walking Highlands website (an amazing well of information!) to a document and sent it all to my Kindle.
Even with all that preparation, I lost my way in heavy fog when atop the Trotternish Ridge (I miscalculated my position).
Be careful and respect the nature!