Loch Shiel to Skye West Coast Odyssey: Detailed Itinerary
|Depart Day 1||Newtonmore 8am|
|Arrive Day 5||Kyleakin 3pm|
|Day 1||Glenfinnan to Rubha na h-Airde
Our journey begins at Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the Jacobite standard and rallied his clansmen for battle. Loch Shiel stretches South as far as the eye can see and the mountains rise steeply up from the shores. This is an area abundant in wildlife – eagles, red deer and black-throated divers are commonly spotted in this area.
We will camp at Rubha na h-Airde a beautiful spot where the loch turns westwards. After dinner take a stroll through the woods or hike up the hill above.
|Day 2||Rubha na h-Airde to Glenuig
Today we travel from mountain to sea but not before a visit to Eilean Fhinean (Gaelic for Finnan’s Island) with its ancient clan burial ground and St Finnan’s Chapel and bronze bell dating back to the 7th century. Our route now swings westwards towards the coast, leaving Loch Shiel behind as we enter the thickly tree-lined, meandering River Shiel. After a few miles the river plunges into the sea. A short portage may be required here before entering the sea and crossing loch Moidart to Castle Tioram where we will go ashore to explore the ruins, have lunch and await the best tide to take us through the North Channel and around the coast to Glenuig Inn for a well earned meal & refreshments.
|Day 3||Glenuig to Arisaig
Paddling out into the Sound of Arisaig our exact route today will be determined by the sea state. Depending on conditions, we can cut straight across the Sound towards Arisaig or hug the coastline around the Ardnish peninsula, then back West passing the Skerries of Eilean an t- Snidhe and Port nam Murrach. Coming round Rubh’ Arisaig into Loch nan Ceall prepare to be astounded by the views of distant mountains, golden beaches and a myriad of rocky islands. We will make a quick coffee stop in Arisaig before heading round the coast to pick our own perfect secluded beach to camp for the night – who needs Bora Bora?
|Day 4||Arisaig to Doune
Continuing North we weave our way through tiny islands, pass breathtaking beaches and relish the glorious view around us. To the West you’ll see The islands of Eigg, Rum and Skye and inland the remote peaks of Ladhar Bheinn and Sgurr na Ciche rise up steeply.
This area is renowned for sightings of whales, dolphins and basking sharks, none of which pose any threat to paddlers. We will stop for lunch in the fishing port of Mallaig where you must treat yourself to a traditional fish supper. This harbour is where the ferries leave for Skye and The Small Isles. After lunch we continue onwards to Doune on the remote Knoydart peninsula. This settlement was once home to 130 people before the clearances. Getting here is only possible by boat or a two day walk.
|Day 5||Doune to Kyleakin
The final day of our journey takes us through Kyle Rhea to Kyleakin on The Isle of Skye.
As we make our way North up the West coast of Knoydart we can reminisce about the terrible injustices imposed on the people of Knoydart during the Highland clearances. We can also take some time to explore the sites of some of these old settlements. We soon reach Sandaig where Gavin Maxwell lived and wrote his classic book – Ring of Bright Water. Further along we will visit Glenelg where General Wade built another of his barracks in his attempt to suppress the Scots. With some tidal assistance we hope to make haste through the Kyles and round the coast to our journeys end at Kyleakin pier.
Depart Craigower Lodge Sat 9am
Pick up at Fort William train station 10am
Drop off in Fort William station around 5pm on Wed
Return to Craigower 6pm
We do not recommend booking flights or other public transport for the final evening of the journey. Allow at least 24 hours after the proposed journey finish time when making any arrangements.