The Out About Scotland complete guide to The Quiraing
What’s this attraction all about?
The Quiraing is an outstanding area of natural beauty on the northernmost summit of Trotternish on the Isle of Skye which was formed many thousands of years ago by a series of monumental landslips. As the mass of rocks broke away from the Meall na Suiramach hill they left behind a series of mountainous peaks, rocky outcrops and hidden plateaus that now form one of the most picturesque wilderness areas in all of Scotland.
Visitors come from across the globe to experience the walking trail that runs all the way through The Quiraing, where wild hilly peaks cross paths with wide open plains in a panorama that begs to be photographed. The views here are so popular with tourists that I guarantee if you’ve ever performed an internet search about Scotland then an image of The Quiraing will be listed somewhere in the first couple of pages.Read more...
What can you do there?
There are so many distinctive parts of this section of Trotternish that your camera trigger finger will be kept in overdrive for the duration of the two to three hours that it takes to walk the five miles of the Quiraing loop. Some of the famous landmarks you’ll see are; The Needle – a 120-foot tall pinnacle that’s one of the most famous landmarks on Skye, The Table – an enormous flat grassy area that looks completely out-of-place in this rocky area, and The Prison – a rocky pyramid-shaped outcrop that looks like an enormous medieval fort, to name just a few.
But wherever you are in The Quiraing you can be assured that you’re going to see some truly beautiful views, with the wide-open plain of Staffin Bay arcing around the northern peninsula of Skye and the Islands of Rona and Raasay rising up against the horizon in the distance. On a clear day it’s breathtaking.
Reaching the start of the trail is best achieved with a car by heading towards Sartle, where signs to The Quiraing car park will also direct you to the start of the walk close to the parking area. You can’t fail to miss this car park because it’s extremely popular with tourists at all times of the year and you’ll probably have to fight your way past tourist coaches to find a decent parking spot. My advice would be to get there early or risk having to park a long way up the roadside in order to find a space.
Leaving the car park you’ll follow a relatively well-trodden path that leads right through the landslip area where cliff-faces surround you on both sides, although some sections require a bit of a scramble. There are also several sections where rockfalls have covered the path in loose scree while other sections are frequently bogged down with mud, so make sure you’re wearing a decent pair of walking boots, even in summer. Flip-flops for this walk are a no-no…
About a mile beyond the car park you’ll pass The Prison, while The Needle is a little further away up a fairly steep, earthy slope. After a long series of zigzagging gullys, sharp climbs and rocky peaks you’ll finally find yourself in the heart of The Quiraing where you’ll encounter The Table, and it’s at this point where most walkers turn around to enjoy the walking trail in the opposite direction as they make their way back to the car park.
There’s often a burger van at the car park serving hot food and coffee so if you forget to pack a picnic you can at least have something to eat after all your hard work, and you should even have enough time left in your day to visit the nearby Kilt Rock waterfall. All-in-all a visit to The Quiraing will likely be the high point of your holiday in Skye. It’s definitely recommended.
What I liked about this attraction
- The views are stunning
- You get to see different aspects of the island along the trail
- It’s a great walk for photographers
What I didn’t like about this attraction
- It’s a bit of a scramble in places so not really suitable for young kids, the elderly or the infirm
- It can get really muddy in places – take decent boots with you!
- It can get really busy. Don’t expect to have the place to yourself
- Telephone: NA
- email: NA
- Website: Isle of Skye official website
Prices and opening times
There is no fee to visit The Quiraing.
The Quiraing is open 24/7 subject to weather conditions.