Otter Lodge Blog: The Quiraing

Winter. You know how it is: days are short and it’s easy to start to get cabin fever. What’s needed is a bit of fresh air; and where better to get it than the breezy peaks of Skye?

So, we packed the piece-box and headed north to tackle the the Quiraing. This is a special part of Skye that makes you feel like you’re part of an epic fantasy movie. Quite a few have been filmed here.

As you can see from our pictures, the weather was surreal – this was January! We followed the (mostly) easy path up to the main features of the Quiraing, a group of funny-shaped rock-formations that have been usefully named ‘The Needle’, ‘The Prison’ and ‘The Table’


Once we reached ‘The Prison’ we headed straight up a more loose and precarious route that lead us to ‘The Needle’. At this point, we all went ‘Yikes!’ and tried to find our way to the more reassuring named ‘Table’. As we were looking at it from underneath, we didn’t spot it. It’s probably best viewed from the hill above. Or by helicopter.

And here’s a thing. Even on a gorgeously cloudless day the atmosphere up in the heart of Quiraing can seem a bit strange. No sunlight seems to get in amongst the cliffs and pinnacles. It feels weird and claustrophobic. It’s definitely not somewhere you want to lose yourself.

So, we headed back down the steep scree slope. Very, very gingerly. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valour.

Once back on the main path, we breathed a sigh of relief and wandered back along the path to the car. The views all the way are out of this world.

The Quiraing. It sounds like a heavy metal band and can be just as brutal on your senses if you’re not careful …

Tips for the Quiraing:

This part of Skye can get very busy in the summer. Be prepared for a lot of traffic on the single track road that runs between Uig and Staffin. Both approaches have hairpin bends – either coming out of Uig or near the Quiraing if coming from the Staffin side. Parking might be challenging.

This area is a dream for photographers. The serious ones will arrive very early in the morning and queue to get a shot of The Tree.

The main path running under the rock features is generally OK (there’s one slightly dicey stream crossing). However, be prepared for very steep, loose rock if you head up to the Needle and the Table. The paths can be confusing up here even on a clear day. Don’t go up anything you feel you couldn’t confidently descend, there are no easy routes up the hill beyond the Table. If you continue north along the lower, main path there is eventually a way up to the left.