For many people, the Cuillin (An Cuiltheann), whose sharp peaks rise mirage-like from the flatness of the surrounding terrain, are Skye’s raison d’être. When the clouds finally disperse, they are the dominating feature of the island, visible from every other peninsula.

There are three approaches to the Cuillin: from the south, by foot or by boat from Elgol; from the Sligachan Hotel to the north; or from Glen Brittle to the west of the mountains. The second route, down Glen Sligachan, divides the granite of the round-topped Red Hills (sometimes known as the Red Cuillin) to the east from the dark, coarse-grained jagged-edged gabbro of the real Cuillin (also known as the Black Cuillin) to the west. With some twenty Munros between them, these are mountains to be taken seriously, and many routes through the Cuillin are for experienced climbers only.

Elgol and around

The road to ELGOL (Ealaghol), fourteen miles southwest of Broadford at the tip of the Strathaird peninsula, is one of the most dramatic on the island, with a stunning view from the top down to Elgol pier. Weather permitting, you can take a boat from Elgol across Loch Scavaig, past a seal colony, to a jetty near the entrance of the glacial loch Loch Coruisk.

Loch Coruisk

Loch Coruisk, a needle-like shaft of water nearly two miles long but only a couple of hundred yards wide, lies in the shadow of the highest peaks of the Black Cuillin, a wonderfully overpowering landscape. The journey from Elgol takes about an hour and passengers are dropped to spend time ashore. Walkers can hike amidst the Red Hills, or over the pass into Glen Sligachan.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Scotland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

8 alternative UK winter breaks

8 alternative UK winter breaks

The UK gets pretty grim during the winter, with its dark, early nights and splutteringly cold weather. But if you can’t wait until spring to start having fun …

07 Nov 2016 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
8 spectacular remote places in Scotland

8 spectacular remote places in Scotland

Scotland’s seven cities offer myriad urban charms, but if you want to really get to the heart of a complex country that makes up 69% of the UK coastline and o…

19 Sep 2016 • Robin McKelvie videocam Video
Video: 5 reasons to road trip Scotland

Video: 5 reasons to road trip Scotland

Scotland is undeniably beautiful. From famous landscapes like Glen Coe and Loch Ness to unheard of islands scattered off the far reaches of the Highlands, there…

05 Sep 2016 • Rough Guides Editors videocam Video
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month