In September 2017 I had half a day or so to explore the Isle of Skye during a week long visit to Scotland. The sunrise in Elgol had been a grey one, so grey you can hardly tell when the sun has risen. Just a blanket of cloud but still a beautiful view across to the Cuillin ridge.
It was a Sunday morning and as I drove north the car park for the Old Man of Storr was already busy. My rough plan was to head for The Quirang car park but having seen how busy the car park was already at The Old Man of Storr and seeing as I’d visited The Quirang before I was much more keen to explore something unfamiliar and less crowded. So I carried on past the turning and kept heading north.
Another 5 minutes up the road I noticed the car park at Flodigarry which sits approximately half way along the landslide landscape of the Quirang. A footpath sign pointed up the hill towards the sheer rock faces higher above and seemed like a good way to see this spectacular landscape from a new perspective.
The path was well trodden and weaved it’s way between the increasingly taller rock pinnacles which define the landscape here. The walk takes you up and down undulations in the landscape with the massive faces of The Quirang ahead growing more present with each step.
As you gradually gain higher ground the view back across The Minch towards the mainland opens up with the silhouettes of the Torridon range lurking in the distance.
The path gets steeper from here on until you reach the base of the main walls of the Quirang. As you look up the height of the wall becomes apparent as you see the tiny outlines of people high above. To the right hand side a row of pinnacles form a dramatic wall to the north where I noticed a couple of people slowly making there way along the ridge providing a demonstration scale.
Reaching the base of the main wall you have a decision to make either to head left or right. Left takes you in the direction of that busy car park, right takes you towards the end of the wall and possibly a circular route up to the higher level.
I didn’t have time to do a circular walk but I wanted to check out both directions so initially I headed to the north where you reach what feels like an arena of rock with a slightly raised pathway tempting you out into the open.
As I loitered here I started to bump into walkers who had headed out from the main car park and enjoyed some friendly chit chat with people warning of the wind which was around the corner. Given that there was barely any breeze here it was a suprise to hear people mention the strong winds.
After a few minutes pottering about on the three pinnacles of rock I’d seenb earlier, I headed back in the other direction walking below the main face of the wall. At some points the path clings on to the steep slope and weaves right up against the rocks, weaving around the sheer faces.
Then within the distance of a a few steps suddenly the wind hit. Gusts blasting from the south curving around the wall and seemingly ending up directly head on to the footpath. Edging along the path every now and then an outcrop of rock would provide a barrier between from the wind. Eventually reaching a bridge that crossed fencing the number of people wrapped up in windproofs increased and it became clear the main car park was only a few minutes further along the path.
After a short time here trying to enjoy the drama of the surroundings and deflect the wind I decided to head back to the car and explore more of the island.
A great way to spend a couple of hours and get up close to the towers of the Quirang while avoiding the crowds on the Island.