The walk to Camas Darach
We’re not a Gaelic speaking family. Even so, we’ve found you can pick up the odd Gaelic word or two from an ordnance survey map. If you start to look at the names of the hills and glens you’ll see quite a few words that are used regularly, such as: mòr (big) beag (small) or dearg (red). There are also many place names that refer to the natural environment. Perhaps this isn’t surprising as nature has always occupied a core part of Gaelic culture; an affinity illustrated beautifully by the Tree Aphabet, traditionally used as a way to teach children their letters. The eighteen letters that make up the Gaelic alphabet are named after indigenous plants: ‘A’ is for Ailm (elm), ‘B’ for Beith (birch) and ‘C’ for Coll (hazel). ‘D’ is for Darach, the modern Gaelic word for oak and, not coincidentally, the name of our eldest son.
There are a number of places on Skye associated with oaks, quite a few of which aren’t noticeably wooded. Camas Darach, at the tip of the Sleat peninsular is like this. Who knows, perhaps it was well known for one particular oak tree or there were lots of them before deer, sheep or people reduced their number. The walk from Aird of Sleat to this lovely beach well worth the effort.
Or you might like to take a mountain bike (with, or without wellies) …
As you can see, most of the walk is a along a decent Landrover track. It’s about four and half kilometers all the way to the lighthouse at the point of Sleat but if, like us, you can get a bit tired of walking, then the beach is a kilometer less. There’s lots to see along the way; we’ve spied sea eagles swooping over the track and orchids growing along the verges. And, of course, an oak tree or two.