I have, for some considerable time, intended to walk the remote and isolated coastline of northwest Skye from Ramasaig to Orbost. Having walked the northernmost few miles as far as Lorgill on previous short walks with the family, I chose a variation on the theme by setting off from Orbost and heading to Lorgill across the hills, before then returning to Orbost along the coast.

This provided a pleasant and enjoyable route on Day One across the low Duirinish hills, including Healabhal Bheag, the smaller of the two Macleod’s Tables. These are table-top hills that although small by Highland standards are very prominent features of this part of Skye.

Healabhal Bheag from the side less often seen

This is a wild and remote part of the island. There are occasional signs of past habitation such as ruined sheilings, but between Orbost and Ramasaig no one lives here now.

I camped in Dibidal, a good choice not only as a particularly beautiful valley but also as a relatively sheltered area on what was quite a windy day.

The next morning I awoke to a somewhat more atmospheric (i.e. grey and damp!) day for the walk back around the coast to Orbost. The coastline here, particularly on such a day, is wild and austere. The cliffs rise to considerable heights, and it is a remote stravaig onwards to the Maidens.

The Duirinish coast

After the Maidens – the sea stacks in the title image, and just visible in the last photograph above – the coastline turns sharply into the relative shelter of Loch Bracadale. There is a clear and well trodden path that leads back to Orbost through a much less wild and exposed landscape; here the land is more reminiscent of the southern Highland coastline than the wilder northwest. There is woodland and lusher vegetation, something absent from the bare and exposed coastline that I had walked across earlier. This provides a well known day walk from Orbost to the Maidens, although on this day it was not until I was within a kilometre or so of Orbost beach that I came across one person – a man walking four dogs. This was the first person I had seen since leaving Orbost the morning of the day before.