Julie Scotland 25 Comments

For one of the most spectacular views on the Isle of Skye, do not miss the Quiraing. These dramatic cliffs are gorgeous, rain or shine.

Our Experience Hiking the Quiraing

The hike around the Quiraing was high on our list. There is no better way to see the scenery than hiking around the Quiraing.

Of course, this is Scotland, and the weather can be very unpredictable.

Or maybe it is predictable, if you just expect it to rain all of the time. Which it pretty much did during our entire three day visit on the Isle of Skye.

When we arrived at the car park for the Quiraing, it was pouring. A blanket of clouds hid the mountaintops from view. The sky was gray, everything was soaking wet, people were running back to their cars…not great conditions for a two hour hike through the mountains. We sat in our car, wondering if we should come back later.

And then, something amazing happened. All of a sudden, it stopped raining. Like someone turned off a faucet.

This was our chance. The four of us raced up the hill, expecting just to snap a few photos of this amazing landscape before the next downpour started. But to even have this chance, to have these magnificent views, we were like kids on Christmas morning.

Quiraing with Kids

Earth Trekkers Quiraing

 

And it is gorgeous here, even in the rain and fog.

Isle of Skye Quiraing Photo

Isle of Skye Hiking

We planned to hike around the entire Quiraing, a journey that would take us 4.5 miles (7 km). With weather conditions like these, hiking the entire trail was almost impossible. But we could still hike as far as possible, at least until the next rain shower, right?

The four of us half walked, half ran along the trail to the spiky rocky formations in front of us. It was a race against Mother Nature. A race we knew we would lose. How far down the trail could we get until the skies opened up, dumping cold rain down onto us?

Quiraing Trail

Quiraing in the Rain

It didn’t take long. Well before we got to the pinnacles, it started drizzling. The wind picked up, blowing the cold rain into our faces. Still, we were having so much fun, we couldn’t turn around yet!

Wet Trail

Hiking Scotland in the rain

Hiking in the rain

Kara Rivenbark Quiraing

 

Once we got to the pinnacles, the mists were moving lower, creating a very ominous, slightly spooky appearance around us.

Quiraing Mist

Isle of Skye Quiraing

Hike Quiraing

Quiraing Rain

At this point, the trail continued up through the pinnacles, to the top of the mountain looming above us. The low-lying mist and windy conditions made it unsafe to continue any farther. But at least we made it this far (and had such a good time doing so).

Now, it was a race back to our car. By now, it was really raining. The trail was slick and muddy, we were drenched, and a wee bit chilly. But these views made it all worthwhile.

I am so glad we got to see the Quiraing. Sunny conditions would have been ideal, but would it have been as fun?

The Quick and Easy Way to Visit to the Quiraing

The Quiraing is located on the Trotternish Loop on the Isle of Skye. To get to the Quiraing, take the single track minor road connecting Uig with Staffin. This narrow road can become quite congested with cars during the busy summer months, so if you are traveling here during this time, have patience, especially between the busier hours of 11 am to 3 pm.

There is a large car park at the Quiraing. If there are no spots available, then drive a few hundred meters down the road towards Staffin, where there are several smaller turn-offs for cars to park.

If you do not feel like hiking or walking far, you can still see the best of the Quiraing by walking 200 meters on the main trail. The landscape really opens up here and you will be rewarded with stunning views.

Quiraing hike rain

Hiking the Quiraing

There is a 4.5 mile (7 km) circuit you can do through the Quiraing. This hike takes you up and over the pinnacles, for amazing views over the Isle of Skye, and then down along the path we hiked. Allow approximately 2 hours for this hike.

For a detailed guide on the entire hike, visit the Walk Highlands website.

The full circuit should only be attempted during clear weather. Windy, rainy conditions makes the full circuit dangerous. Plus, visibility will be low, so you will not be able to appreciate the dramatic views over the Isle of Skye.

If it is raining, you can hike along the level trail out to the pinnacles. Expect the path to be muddy and slick, but it is still safe under these conditions. There is a short section where you will hike down to the base of a waterfall and up the other side. This is not difficult, but take your time here if it is raining. The rocks here can be very slippery.

Generally speaking, rain showers do not last long in Scotland. If you arrive at the Quiraing and it is pouring, be patient. Sit in your car and wait for the rain to end. Most likely, this rain will wash away the other visitors, and once it clears up, you may have the trail to yourself. This happened for us several times on the Isle of Skye.

Even in the rain, the Quiraing is beautiful!

Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.


More Information about Scotland

ISLE OF SKYE: We cover how to visit the Isle of Skye in our Isle of Skye Travel Guide. We also have articles about the best things to do on the Isle of Skye and travel itineraries for 1, 2, and 3 days on the Isle of Skye.

HIKES IN SCOTLAND: The Isle of Skye is filled with short but beautiful hikes to choose from, including Brother’s Point, Bla Bheinn, the Fairy Pools, and the Old Man of Storr. If you are looking for something longer and more challenging, check out the Kintail Saddle, which is located in the Scottish Highlands.

BEST OF SCOTLAND: Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye, and Glasgow all are essential places to visit on a first visit to Scotland. Learn how to put these all together into a 10 day Scotland road trip.

MORE GREAT HIKES IN EUROPE: From thrilling trails in the Alps to easy walks along the coast, read our article 20 Best Hikes in Europe for some beautiful hiking trails to put on your travel wish list.

 

Planning a trip to Scotland? Read all of our articles in our Scotland Travel Guide.

 

 

 

Hiking the Quiraing Isle of Skye Scotland

 

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Comments 25

  1. Avatar for Margus Praks
    Margus Praks

    From us the round of Quiraing(7 km) took 3 hours. The level difference was about 300 meters and it was for me(early 50, mid over weight) quite “mid” level hike. The Scotch ground surprised us, that the ground was often quite wet(peaty) and muddy, you must often to look for dry track.
    Once again earthtrekkers help us plan our trip. Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
  2. Avatar for Vijaya Tudu
    Vijaya Tudu

    Hi,

    I must specially compliment you for the quality of pictures on your site. They so help to understand the terrain, and we can’t wait to do some of the hikes when we get to Skye this September end. However, am a little concerned as we are travelling with our 4 year old kid and the forecasts predict incessant rain. We will be staying in Portree and Inverness for 6 days. Can you please guide on what hikes are sure doable with a kid. Also any guidelines on safety?

    Thanks,
    Vijaya

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Vijaya. You could walk the first little bit of the Quiraing. Brothers Point is a nice easy hike. Just hold your child’s hand as you near the point because there is a drop-off along a cliff. It’s worth the uphill walk to the Old Man of Storr for the iconic view of it. The Fairy Glen would be a great hike with a 4 year old…very easy and very short. Maybe this one is a good one to start with. Good luck with the weather. I hope you can catch some breaks in the rain (we had an unusual amount of rain during our visit too but we still had a great experience). Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Vijaya
    2. Avatar for Bringamosa
      Bringamosa

      Hi, i have been at Brothers point yesterday. At this moment it is NOT easy at all. Ankle deep mudpools you can not avoid that wont be gone in a couple of days.

  3. Avatar for Dawn
    Dawn

    Hi there,
    Thank you so much for the great info. I’m travelling alone with my 2 kids (ages 13 and 15) so it’s veey important to me that I’m overly planned and prepared. I’ve purchased maps for several of the trails we’ll be hiking in Scotland, but unsure if I really need them for the trails on Skye. The only ones I’m concerned about are Boreraig, storr, quiraing, fairy glen, fairy pools. What do you think?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      I think that you will be fine on Storr, the Fairy Glen, and the Fairy Pools. They are so popular that you can just follow the hikers in front of you (and the trails are very easy to follow). We didn’t hike all of the Quiraing, because of the rain, so I don’t know what the 2nd half of this trail looks like. A map might not be necessary but it might not be a bad idea. And I am not familiar with Boreraig, so that one is your call. Sounds like a great trip! Cheers, Julie

    2. Avatar for Sheila
      Sheila

      Hi Dawn! I just saw your comment and wondered how your trip went? I will be traveling July 2020 with 13 and 15yr old and hope that we all will have a good time. Anything that your children really liked or didn’t like in Scotland at that age? First trip for us in Scotland, we will be in Isle of Skye, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Any feed back would be welcome from all!! Sometimes it is hard to plan a trip with teens. 🙂

  4. Avatar for LIYU Wang
    LIYU Wang

    Dear Sir:

    I plan to visit isle of Sky in this summer 2019. I’d to ask what is the best direction to go quiraing. From Uig direction or from Staffin direction ? I know the road is kind of narrow. I want to avoid the passes in traffic on such narrow road.

    Thank you very much.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      The drive is fine in either direction. There are no mountain passes or drop-offs you have to be concerned about. We did the drive from Uig since I had read that all of the big tour buses do it in the opposite direction (from Staffin). Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Trudy
    Trudy

    Hi,

    I wanted to say you’ve got a great site here! I’ve been using your site to plan vacations for some now and I always have the greatest time! I’ll be going to Scotland this September and to the Isle of Skye, but it looks like I’ll only have time to hike either the Old Man of Storr or Quiraing; do you have any recommendations on choosing between the two hikes? Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hike the Old Man of Storr. To get the iconic views and photos you see of Storr, you have to do the hike, there’s no way to get them from the car park. However, you can get great shots of the Quiraing from the car park. And if you just walk 100 meters down the trail the view gets even better. So you can see the best of both spots doing it this way. We never hiked the entire Quiraing (only half of it) because of the rain and I don’t feel like we missed out on anything. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Matt
        Matt

        Aha, I was looking for answers to this very question myself. I’d kind of concluded that we could see some of Quiraing without walking far, but Storr needed the walk. We’ll be doing it in March!! Thanks for answering that question, one less thing to try and work out for this trip 🙂

  6. Avatar for Channy
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      I have no fancy rain protector…just an umbrella and my camera bag. 🙂 I use the Canon 5D Mark iii (for these photos) and Mark iv and both have proven to be very weather resistant. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Marlena
    Marlena

    How long did it take you to hike the portion that you did? I’m headed off in 2 weeks! Luckily I’m from Seattle so the “rainy” season isn’t too much of a concern. I’m trying to save a little time and I’m thinking of not scheduling myself for the the entire 2hrs needed to complete the total trail.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
  8. Avatar for KFH
    KFH

    Thank you for posting such helpful information! I have been continuously referencing your site for my trip planning. Unfortunately, I am not finding any information anywhere about parking. Are there parking/admission fees at any of these areas on Skye? And do you happen to know anything about overnight parking in Portree?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      In many locations on Skye, there is a free parking lot. If you are here during peak season, many times these parking lots get full and then people park along the road. Quiraing, Old Man of Storr, Neist Point, the Fairy Pools, and more, have designated, free parking areas. In Portree, our B&B had a parking lot. There is a small amount of public parking available in Portree, but we did have to pay a small fee for this. Cheers, Julie

  9. Avatar for Ioanna
    Ioanna

    I was there in August – probably around the same time as you! I did the Flodigarry – Storr trek in horrible weather conditions, camping on the Trotternish Ridge 😉 But it was still stunningly beautiful!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
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  10. Avatar for Pat Stilwell
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
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    2. Avatar for Gary Eason

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