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Hike, Kayak and Wild Camp the Isle of Skye

Paddle and ramble your way along the wild coast, hidden lochs and high peaks of Scotland's revered 'Misty Isle'

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Trip Ref #10784

Hike, Kayak and Wild Camp the Isle of Skye

Paddle and ramble your way along the wild coast, hidden lochs and high peaks of Scotland's revered 'Misty Isle'

DURATION
4 nights
LOCATION
United Kingdom
ANNUAL LEAVE
3 days off work
SEASON
May—Sep
GROUP SIZE
Up to 6 people
MEETING POINT
Central Inverness
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Wild camping

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY
Challenging

You'll need some previous sea kayaking experience to tackle the sometimes choppy conditions, plus good fitness for the hike in the Cuillin

Sea kayak along Skye's breathtaking southern coastline – eyes peeled for whales, seals, basking sharks, sea eagles and otters

Head into the Cuillin Mountains on a magnificent hike to the summit of Blà Bheinn for panoramic views over Skye

Circumnavigate Soay – an island populated by just three hardy souls – exploring sheltered lochs, secret caves and taking a dip in the 'Mermaids Pool'

Pitch your tent in remote spots and enjoy a wee dram around the campfire, savouring the majesty of the Scottish Highlands

Day 1

Welcome to the Scottish Highlands

Shutterstock: 2266131761

Kayaking

8km

Meet up with your host in Inverness, your gateway to the Highlands. Hit the road for a 2.5-hour drive through gorgeous scenery, passing famous sights such as Loch Ness and Eilean Donan Castle, featured in the Highlander movie. Cross over the Skye Bridge on to the Isle of Skye and continue to the Strathaird Peninsula, stopping at Broadford for a quick bite to fuel your paddling spirit and pick up your gear for the expedition. In the afternoon, you'll launch into sheltered Loch Slapin, where a gentle paddle will unveil a coastline sculpted by nature's artistry. Cracks, fissures, and caves dot the rugged landscape as you explore. The highlight of this area will be a visit to the Spar Cave, a subterranean realm bathed in an ethereal glow where you can wild swim (if you dare brave the icy waters!). Another hour's paddle takes you to the first wild camp spot. Pitch up, get the fire going and settle in for dinner and a campout in the Scottish wilds.

Day 2

Circumnavigate and camp on a wild island

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Kayaking

21km

Tuck into breakfas, break down camp, load up the kayaks and hit the water for a full day exploring the southern Skye coastline. Paddle past headlands and outcrops before gliding past the secluded hamlet of Elgol, a charming village nestled amidst the rugged landscape. If sea conditions allow, you'll venture into open waters to reach the Isle of Soay, a remote island renowned for its unique breed of hardy sheep – and a population of three even hardier humans. The name ‘Soay’ comes from an old Norse word that literally means 'sheep island'. Soay is nestled at the foot of the majestic Cuillin Mountains and makes for a captivating circumnavigation with its ever-changing coastline of cliffs, bays, arches and caves. Find a secluded spot to pitch your tent for a memorable night wild camping on Soay.

Day 3

Loch Coruisk and the Black Cuillin

Kayaks on a beach, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Shutterstock 1282798240

Kayaking

10km

Wake up in this surreal spot, grab a coffee and bid farewell to the Isle of Soay, crossing back to the coastline of Skye. The focus of your journey shifts to the awe-inspiring Black Cuillin Mountains – one of the UK's most challenging mountaineering terrains. Hug the shoreline with the imposing peaks of the Cuillin Ridge dominating the landscape. Keep a watchful lookout for golden and white-tailed eagles en route to the entrance to Loch Coruisk, a glacial lake that harbours a captivating legend. Loch Coruisk is said to be the abode of a kelpie, a mischievous water horse that can shapeshift into human form. Tread carefully, adventurers! After lunch, a leisurely 4km paddle takes you to Camasunary Beach, where you'll set up basecamp for the next two nights. This secluded beach provides a tranquil setting nestled in the raw beauty of this part of Scotland.

Day 4

Reach for the summit of a Skye mountain

Shutterstock_2055942632

Hiking

6-7hrs · 9km · 930m up · 930m down

Grab an early morning dip in the bracing Atlantic this morning, if you fancy (absolutely optional, of course!) before swapping your kayak for your hiking boots. Hike towards the Cuillin Mountains to the base of Blà Bheinn (929m), a magnificent Munro peak that stands as an outlier from the main Cuillin Ridge. This is one of the best day hikes in Skye, if not all of Scotland. A steady and at times steep ascent with over 900m of elevation gain to eat into leads you all the way to the summit, which requires stamina and determination to reach. Blà Bheinn is a staggeringly scenic spot with unparalleled panoramic views of the Cuillins, neighbouring mountains and Scotland's rugged west coast. Descend back down the mountain, eventually reaching camp where you can enjoy sunset before gathering around the campfire for your final night. Raise a glass of Talisker whisky, a spirit distilled just 10 miles away from your camp spot, adding a touch of Scottish warmth to the farewell celebration tonight.

Day 5

The final stretch to the finish line

Shutterstock: 2272840111

Kayaking

5km

Bid farewell to this epic camp spot and stunning surroundings, packing down and completing the journey with a leisurely paddle back to Elgol village. The van waits here ready to whisk you away from the shores of Skye and back to Inverness. Along the way you'll stop at a café or local shop for a final bite to savour the flavours of Scotland. Your host will drop you off in the town centre with a heartfelt farewell after a glorious time in the wilds. Please note that traffic or weather conditions may cause delays today, so it's advisable to avoid booking onward travel from Inverness until 17:00 at the earliest.

Included

Guides

Local, certified kayak & mountain guides

Accommodation

5 nights wild camping

Meals

Munch on tasty food throughout

Equipment

All your kayaking, camping and safety equipment

Not Included

Travel to and from the start point

Personal expenses

Visas where required

Day 1

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 4

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

For breakfast, there'll be cereal, bread, tea and coffee. For lunch, you can expect wraps with a variety of fillings, fruit and some treats to keep you going. Dinner will usually be a pasta or rice dish with a dessert. Snacks and drinks will also be available between meals. Vegetarian, vegan and other dietary requirements can be catered for, given plenty notice.

Please note that lunch on Day 1 and Day 5 will be at your own expense, when you stop at a shop or café en route between the east and west coasts.

What is the accommodation like?

Camping on the Isle of Skye near Elgol, Scotland
GettyImages-598524392
Wild Camp

You will wild camp in single or twin-share tents in remote and beautiful spots, by loch-sides and on beaches. Accommodation is basic, but the remote locations far make up for the lack of facilities. Single tents are available upon request, at no extra cost. There is no phone signal for sections of this trip, and no toilets at all. Your guide will bring wild toileting equipment and brief you on good practice when toileting outdoors in a wilderness environment.

Upgrades

For solo travellers wanting their own personal space, you can request your own private tent on the trip (subject to availability). Just request when booking.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Inverness City Centre

09:00 on Day 1

Ends

Inverness City Centre

Approximately 15:00 on Day 4

Transfers

You’ll meet your host in central Inverness at 09:00 on Day 1. You will then be transferred by minibus (2.5 to 3 hrs) to the start point on the Isle of Skye. We recommend you arrive in Inverness the night before to ensure that you do not miss your transfer. Your trip will end in Inverness mid-afternoon on the final day, depending on traffic and weather conditions coming back from the Isle of Skye.

Travel options

Regular trains run to Inverness from across the UK. The nearest airport is Inverness. Please note if you are flying, you will need to arrive in Inverness the night before in order to make the start time on Day 1. There are buses available to Inverness from the central belt: Citylink and Megabus offer regular services. There is also the option of the Caledonia Sleeper Train.

For those driving, there is a long-stay public car park in central Inverness which is within walking distance of the meeting point, which we recommend using.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Tent
  • Inflatable sleeping mat
  • Cutlery, mug, bowl, plate
  • Buoyancy aid
  • 2 x 20 litre dry bags for personal kit
  • Kayaking waterproof jacket, trousers
  • Neoprene shoes (on request only - let the host know in advance)

Please let your host know an indication of size for the waterproof clothing: either an extra small, small, medium, large or extra large. An approximate guess will do.

Available to Hire

  • Sleeping Bag - see Optional Extras.

What do I need to bring?

  • Sleeping bag (must be in a compression sack to make it as small as possible to fit in the kayak)
  • Sleeping bag liner (if required, for extra warmth)
  • Waterproof jacket for the evenings in camp
  • 2 sets of paddling clothes (lightweight, quick-dry trousers, woolly socks, base layer top, t-shirt or shirt)
  • Pyjamas if required (most sleep in a set of thermals or similar)
  • Fleece x 2 (1 for paddling, 1 for the evening)
  • Trainers for evenings (ideally water resistant)
  • 1 set of warm evening clothes (in the hope of having a campfire some nights, so take old clothes that you don’t mind getting smoky and dirty)
  • Warm gloves, depending on the time of year
  • Warm hat
  • Sun hat
  • Spare socks and underwear
  • Sun cream/lip salve/sunglasses with a protective case
  • Midge head net and midge repellent (June to September)
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, biodegradable shower gel/soap
  • Small-medium microfibre travel towel
  • Swimming costume if you fancy a swim
  • Torch (preferably head torch)
  • Small day sack for waterproofs, snacks, sun cream etc.
  • Camera (in a waterproof bag if necessary)
  • Power bank/solar charger
  • Water bottle
  • Personal hand sanitiser

Please note that cotton and denim clothing are not recommended for paddling in, as they have no thermal properties when wet.

Bear in mind when packing - all your personal kit, including sleeping bag and part of a tent, will need to fit in the kayak. Please ensure that your personal kit (including your sleeping bag) fits in a 40ltr bag or 2 x 20ltr dry bags, these will be provided for you to use. If you like to snack, please pack your own light snacks - but remember, they must fit in the bag!

*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Sleeping Bag Hire

Payable Before Departure

Sleeping Bag Hire

Per Person

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 50kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

You need to have some previous sea kayaking experience, as you will be exploring some remote areas and may encounter some lumpy sea conditions. We suggest a minimum of three days sea kayaking experience in the past (for example, if you have been on a Much Better Adventures trip with multiple sea kayak days previously, this will be enough). Additional training will be provided during the expedition, while on the water. A generally good level of fitness will be required. Building some arm strength before the trip will help with sea kayaking, and good hip mobility is needed both for paddling and hiking. The precise difficulty level of this trip depends on the sea conditions at the time, which can change quickly, but you should come prepared to encounter some waves. You will be in a single kayak by default: however, if perhaps you don't have a lot of kayaking experience or aren't confident paddling solo and would prefer a tandem kayak, this can be requested with your host. These are subject to availability and dependent upon someone else being happy to paddle tandem with you. Please request this on your booking form.

Yes, you'll be carrying all of your gear with you on the expedition. At the put-in spot at Loch Slapin on Day 1, you'll be given either a 40-litre dry bag or 2 x 20-litre dry bags to pack all of your gear for the kayaks. Please ensure that your personal kit (including your sleeping bag) fits into a 40-ltr bag. You'll only need a small daypack to carry with you on the hike on Day 4, as the rest of your gear can be left back at the camp spot to return to at the end of the day.

The Scottish coast can be hit by bad weather at any time of year, even in summer, and if a big swell or storm comes in from the south the sea conditions in the area for this trip can become too dangerous to head out on the kayaks. Generally, the southern coastline of Skye is more protected than the western and northern coastline, so this gives the itinerary a strong chance of being doable throughout the season. However, your host has a huge amount of experience running trips all over Scotland, and will have various back-up plans in place if the conditions get too bad. In the worst case scenario, you may head to a different part of the West Coast of Scotland, such as the Summer Isles further north. Although every effort will be made to avoid this eventuality, sometimes the weather gods will force the decision.

Sure can! Most do. Over 75% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people. 95% rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5.

Learn more about our tribe of global adventurers.

The Scottish summer is usually warm but you can expect some rain, even if it's just a little. Prepare for anything and think ‘layers'. Conditions in May and September will be slightly cooler, with the potential for frost at night. Kit-wise, the main thing is a warm sleeping bag, and an additional bag liner if you feel the cold more.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

May 2024

Friday • 31st May 2024

to Tuesday • 4th June 2024
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Monday • 24th June 2024

to Friday • 28th June 2024
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 19th July 2024

to Tuesday • 23rd July 2024
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 23rd August 2024

to Tuesday • 27th August 2024
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 6th September 2024

to Tuesday • 10th September 2024
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 16th May 2025

to Tuesday • 20th May 2025
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 30th May 2025

to Tuesday • 3rd June 2025
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Monday • 23rd June 2025

to Friday • 27th June 2025
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 4th July 2025

to Tuesday • 8th July 2025
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 18th July 2025

to Tuesday • 22nd July 2025
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 1st August 2025

to Tuesday • 5th August 2025
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 22nd August 2025

to Tuesday • 26th August 2025
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Friday • 5th September 2025

to Tuesday • 9th September 2025
6 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

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