Glen Sligachan

Key information: Glen Sligachan

  • This long glen divides the Black and Red Cuillin, with outstanding views of their rugged glamour the whole way.
  • One of Skye’s special places.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating86
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest8
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points1
  • Total rating86
  • Note: Neg: Frequent bad weather.

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 12.5km one way
  • Maximum Altitude: N/A
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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WALK SUMMARY

Glen Sligachan is one of Skye's special places, and that is of course saying something. 

This long glen runs from sea to sea, dividing the Black from the Red Cuillin mountains, a deep gash between Skye's two great ranges. As you walk along it, you get close-up views to your west of the cliffs and summits and great jagged ridge of the Black Cuillin, which are famed as Britain's most exciting ridge walk, with superb views of their Red counterparts on the other side (east). It is a miraculous place, grim on a dark day, and laden with myth and history of clan battles.

You follow a good path much of the way, although this is a rough and frequently boggy route (much harder after rainy conditions than dry). The floor of the glen is boggy and sprinkled with tarns and lochans for much of its way, so the path winds along the bottom of the eastern (Red Cuillin) slopes. 

At its southern end, the cliffs close in and you pass a small loch and then larger Loch na Creitheach, gloriously beautiful on a good day, dramatic at any time; not long after, you emerge onto the wide, pale sand beach of Camasunary, an extraordinarily lovely destination.

To its right (west) is Sgurr na Stri one of Skye’s finest summits.

See Michael Harrison’s account of walking here

With its 12.5km length, this is a proper walk. And then you face the question of how to get out. A full retracing of your route will make a very long day. You can also take the 4km from Camasunary beach across the ridge to the east to the Elgol road. And, indeed, you can cross the ridge before Sgurr na Stri to walk to wonderful Loch Coruisk in under the southern Black Cuillin (or climb Sgurr na Stri and drop to Loch Coruisk for the night).

Skye has notoriously fickle and often bad weather, and conditions on top can be appalling. It is easy to lose your way in cloud/mist,so not recommended if bad conditions likely. Always come fully prepared.

For more information and photos, including detailed practical information, see our Isle of Skye walk page.

OUR FRIENDS' EXPERIENCES

The following is Michael Harrison’s piece on walking here, which was an entry we much enjoyed for our 2011 Travel Writing Competition. Thank you, Michael, for bringing this walk to our attention!

To the End of the World

The door of the Sligachan Hotel was closed as we drove into the car park. Would we have done what we did if the opening hours were different? Probably not.

It was early April and we had travelled all the way north to the Isle of Skye to do some walking and we were young (and foolish?) enough at that time to do things I would think twice about doing now.

Don't get me wrong. We might have been foolish but not stupid. The weather forecast was not good and the planned high-level walk had been abandoned. You couldn't even see the hills the cloud was that low and going to the top didn't make any sense. These were the Cuillins, not mountains to treat with disdain.

So we decided on a low level valley walk with no real navigation problems, it was just there and back. And to some extent that was the problem.

We had all the gear (not as sophisticated and efficient as now – this was some years back) but adequate for the conditions we could expect. And in readiness for the situation to get worse, rather than better, we were in full wet weather gear from the very start.

A good job too. Whilst still in sight of the pub it started to rain. Not a heavy downpour just that persistent rain that soaks to the skin.

This route, heading more.....

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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