In May, the Dahonies headed north and took a wonderful spin around the Sleat Peninsula on the Isle of Skye. With hillsides covered with dreamy bluebells and spring flowers, it’s not hard to see why this area is also known as the Garden of Skye. Though our day began with some ominous clouds and a spot of drizzle, it wasn’t too long before the clouds gave way to glorious sunshine, making for perfect day out.
Distance: 16.6 miles
Terrain: Hilly, single track road apart from a 1 mile stretch on the A851
Time it took us: 5 hours, including a walk to Dunscaith Castle
Starting from a forest carpark near Teangue, our journey began with a quick and easy downhill on the A851 to Kilbeg where we turned right onto the road to Tarskavaig. The quiet single-track road was flanked by delicate bluebells and green meadows, but as we climbed steadily for 2.5 miles, the terrain gave way to scrubby heather and rock that was more reminiscent of the surface of Mars.
At Loch Dhuigaill, sudden magnificent views of the Cuillins marked the start of a refreshing 2 mile descent to the coast. Here the landscape changed yet again, and spring lambs and calfs could be seen sheltering in shady glades under windswept trees. The undulating road veered upwards and inland through Tarskavaig followed by a short sharp descent to a small beach where the ruins of Dunscaith Castle and its characteristic drawbridge could be seen from the road.
Once belonging to Clan MacDonald, the castle is only accessible by scrambling over what little remains of the crumbling drawbridge. Only one of the Dahonies was adventurous enough to brave the perilous gap (note the tiny yellow speck on the bridge).
After Tokavaig a short but tough section has some very steep climbs. With the ever changing Cuillin panorama to our left, we stopped to catch our breath and were lucky enough to watch birds of prey riding the thermals. Turning inland once again at Ord, the gradient lessens and a gentle climb through a rugged valley brought us back to our starting point. A spectacular end to a spectacular day.
Many of our journeys have been inspired by the excellent Bike Scotland series.
We found this one in Book Two.