A summary of useful information

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Concerning this particular trek (2007-updated):

Skye trek at Bespoke Highland Tours is temporarily unavailable,
so you should get going with the identical Skye trek at Easyways

main homepages:
Bespoke main Easyways main

1st EditionDavid Paterson wrote a beautiful picture-laden book describing the whole of the Skye trek, "A Long Walk on the Isle of Skye" (pictures; note that this description is based on the 1st edition of 1999). Apart from impressions like the ones on this site, he gives concise route descriptions for the morning and the afternoon of each walk of the trek; his directions are mostly along the same lines as those provided by Ian Pragnell. However, Paterson includes some variations, i.e. (a) from Torrin, he doesn't go south to start the 4th walk in Kilmarie or Elgol, but crosses the Garbh-Bheinn range and enters the inter-cuillin valley from the east; (b) between walks 6 and 7, he adds an extra day to do the Trotternish Ridge in one 9 hour walk from the Old Man of Storr to the Quiraing car park (another option, to avoid adding an extra day, is bivouacking halfway, although he admits that this may lead to two walks that are a bit too strenuous for most, especially if you have to haul bivouac gear with you all the way, just for this one night). Therefore, the trek as described on this site just does his 6th walk and his 8th. The only part you won't have a description of will therefore be the stretch between Kilmarie and the Strath na Crčitheach, but it's pretty obvious anyway. If you decide on doing the walk, the book can be very useful to get an idea of the walks, and the fact that you've read the descriptions can be a help once you're out there, or give you an alternative at a 2nd Editionfew points. Notably, on the Ord-Drumfearn walk (2) he stays pretty low and crosses allt a' chinn mhoir at coastal level and continues to Heaste; and on Heaste-Torrin walk (3) he gives clearer directions to find the 'track of sorts', which allows you to go over the hills. Tip: copy the day-by-day descriptions and carry them with you on the trek. Buy it at (2nd updated 2005 edition). You can check out some of his wonderful pictures on the Highland clearances-page.

If you want to do the trek on your own, you won't have the maps provided by Bespoke, so you'll need OS Landranger (1:50,000) maps 32 (South Skye) for walks 1-4 and part of 5, and 23 (North Skye) for part of 5 and walks 6-7 (links to the most recent August/September 2002 editions available at Amazon(UK)).

B&B's, Hotels and Restaurants where we stayed/ate (2007-updated, with links where possible):

Scott's Guest House, Mr John Smith, 417 North Woodside Road, Glasgow G20 6NN; Tel. 01413 393750
Mrs Julie MacDonald B&B, 3 Kilmore, Sleat, Isle of Skye IV43; Tel. 01471 844272/844440
 (see also the Isle of Skye Tour Guide Company -also here- and the Flora MacDonald Hostel)
Earsary B&B (Now only self-catering; SPRING 2006 Earsary was up for sale, so don't know if the service continues to be available ), 7/8 Harrapool, Broadford, Isle of Skye IV49 9AQ
Cnoc-ban B&B, Mrs Mary S Macintosh, Elgol, Isle of Skye IV49 9BG; Tel. 01471 866294
Coruisk House -see also-, Elgol, Isle of Skye IV49 9BL; Tel. 01471 866330
Sligachan Hotel, Sligachan, Isle of Skye IV47 8SW; Tel. 01478 650204
Number 25 B&B, Mrs Elizabeth MacDonald, 25 Urquhart Place, Portree, Isle of Skye IV51 9HJ; Tel. 01478 612374
Duntulm Castle Hotel, Duntulm, Isle of Skye IV51 9UF; Tel. 01470 552213

If you're looking for any Youth Hostels, visit this YH page I've made, which provides an overview
(on a clickable satellite map) of all YHs in the North West Highlands and Islands of Scotland

More Isle of Skye information on the web (not exhaustive & perhaps slightly outdated):

Skye.co.uk
IsleofSkye.com, IsleofSkye.net, or Ealaghol (on the Starth area, including Elgol)
South-skye.co.uk (all about Sleat)
A bit of Skye history
Skye at Undiscovered Scotland
Skye at Scotland-Info
Skye Walking Holidays
Bella Jane boat trips between Elgol and Loch Coruisk
About Talisker Distillery

Various Skye related stuff: The Skye Museum of Island Life (with links!); Site with lovely pics (by David Paterson) of Skye villages sadly abandoned during the clearances; Early Church in Skye; Trotternish Scenery (additional pictures); Walking in Trotternish; Trotternish Plant Life (orchids); Crofting History; Trotternish Accommodation (& self-catering); Skye Data Atlas (geography / economy / sociology / ecology); do check out the wonderfully clear page on Scottish Geology.
For information on Clan distribution: Clan map of Scotland; more detailed map;another one;places associated with the Clan Donald. Do check out the complete - and horrible - account of the clearances.

Sunflower Guide Pathfinder Guide Cicerone Guide 50 Best Routes on Skye and Raasay ADDITIONAL WALKS - A classic, which we didn't use, but that comes highly recommended is 50 Best Routes on Skye and Raasay by Ralph Storer. Another one we didn't use, but, being a Cicerone Guide, probably worth checking out, is The Isle of Skye: A Walker's Guide by Terry Marsh. Other books with interesting walks on Skye and in the rest of the Highlands include one in the Pathfinder series (28 walks, half of which on Skye and Raasay, 11 in Wester Ross and 3 in Assynt - Pathfinder has plenty of other books on Scotland), and one in the Sunflower series (10 car tours and 30 walks, 3 of which on Skye and 7 more in the NW Highlands - the others cover the rest of the Highlands; see also), but of course you'll find plenty of other stuff. Also note that there's an abundance of sites on hill walking and mountaineering in the Skye Cuillins, but since we're not into that (yet), you'll have to look a bit for yourself... Info on munro-bagging (there are no less than 12 munros -peaks above 3000ft/915m- on Skye, 11 of which in the Black Cuillin range) can be found here, or here. For more info on the Munro-cult, visit the Scottish Mountaineering Club site or read the hilarious fanzine The Angry Corrie (by TACit). And remember that lots of stuff can be bought locally.

Should you intend to venture onto the Cuillins, more detailed maps come in handy, like the OS Explorer (1:25,000) maps 407 up to 412, covering the whole of Skye and Raasay. Other high detail maps include the waterproof Harvey Superwalker series, for the Cuillins or Trotternish (1:25,000 and even 1:12,500 for the Black Cuillin range).

Other useful stuff to get there and further (not exhaustive & perhaps slightly outdated):

!!Anything on getting to the Isles and on at Road to the Isles (exhaustive, but presented in a rather unorderly fashion)!!

Ryan Air:
Caledonian MacBrayne Hebridean & Clyde Ferries:
Undiscovered Scotland
(superb overview site!)
Scotland-Info:

Information on Assynt
Information on Wester Ross
More Wester Ross info/pictures
National Rail UK:

(Journey Planning )
Visit Hebrides:
CNDo Scotland:

Activity Scotland:

BarberSASA Scotland, The Barber family's Scotland web page (astonishing pictures!)
Backpackers Club in Scotland, who went to Skye in 2001
Scotrail journey planning:
Western Isles of Scotland:

and Virtual Hebrides
(see South Harris)
Walking in Scotland

(Walking in Britain)
More walking in Scotland (Jim Willsher)
An overview of single malts
Scotch Whisky Page
Uisge.com

 

WEATHER - Scottish Climate at Met Office- as you can see, theoretically the best time to go is May-June (avoiding especially July-August due to the midges) or even April (see also the Skye Data Atlas on the climate), and not September, but, hey, this is Scotland - you'll never know! In any case, when going in spring, you'll see lots of wildlife and you'll have long days (16 to 18 hrs in Portree between the beginning of May and the end of June), as you can check out for yourself on the UK sunrise and sunset site.
FORECASTS - Various sites offer weather forecasts, of which the best known are perhaps the 5-day forecasts of the Met Office (check for NW Scotland). However, by far the most detailed ones are provided by weather.co.uk, where you can enter a place of any reasonable size in the proximity of your destination and have the forecasts for 10 days to come (of course, they're bound to be less adequate when you reach the 10th day) - check the Portree 10-day forecast. Despite all of these, by far the most detailed week-forecasts (maps & all!) can be obtained at the German Wetterzentrale site (especially the 7-day GFS forecast's Bodendruck (pressure), Wolken (clouds), Niederschlag (precipitation) and 2m temperature will be of interest to you). Nifty feature (which I used): you can look at the weather history (Kartenarchiv) - pressure and the temperature at 850hPa (not on the ground, and at midnight, but it gives you an idea).

 

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