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Walk 1166 - printer friendly version

Loch Coruisk Walk

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 4.0 miles / 6.5 km

Ascent - 350 feet / 106 metres

Grade - easy

Start - OS grid reference NG516135
Lat 57.144986 + Long -6.1079706
Postcode IV49 9BJ (approx. location only)

This walk starts from the jetty at Elgol (grid ref NG516135), situated at the end of a minor road which starts at Broadford. The journey to Elgol is a fine excursion with excellent views of mighty Blaven as you skirt the shores of Loch Slapin. After passing the southern flanks of Blaven you get you first glimpse of the Black Cuillin across the bay and this easy half day will take you into the bowels of the jagged Cuillins. We used the excellent boat service provided by Anne and Gordon Smith aboard "Kaylee Jayne". Interesting hosts they have an on-board library and as you head across Loch Scavaig they provide an interesting perspective on life in this wild and scenic part of Skye. Living on the isolated island of Soay, "Kaylee Jayne" is their sole means of transport to and from their home.

The trip across Loch Scavaig passes quickly with your attention focused on the jagged skyline of the Black Cuillin. After moving slowly past the colonies of common seals basking on the rocks just off the coast, Anne and Gordon drop you off at an isolated jetty in Loch na Cuilce, which is close to the Loch Coruisk memorial Hut marked on Ordnance Survey maps. With well over an hour to explore follow the path up to the point where the waters of Loch Coruisk flow down to the sea.

As soon as you have turned the corner you are in a magnificent rocky amphitheatre. Everywhere you look there are crags and mountains of spectacular proportions. In places the path around Loch Coruisk is rather boggy but this discomfort is soon forgotten as you gaze around trying to absorb the detail of the scene. Descriptions are hard to put into words - it is really somewhere that every lover of mountains must go to experience for themselves.

Returning to the jetty you head back to Elgol with the great bulk of Blaven dominating the scene to your left. below its mighty crags is picturesque Camasunary with two white-washed buildings helping to add scale to the rocky mass of Blaven. Sadly all good things come to an end and disembarking you know that some day you will return perhaps to spend more time in magical Loch Coruisk.

Other Options which are NOT easy - It is possible to use the boat to travel out to Loch Coruisk and then walk back to Elgol or across to Sligachan. However be warned if you return to Elgol there are two river crossings which can be difficult in spate. In addition shortly after leaving Loch Coruisk you have to contend with the "bad step" and an awkward section of path with some exposure. Those heading for Sligachan also have to contend with some potentially hard walking especially if is wet and boggy underfoot.

The following notes received from I H Cairns may help put the overall difficulties into perspective on the two options outlined above - "You should not underestimate walking to Coruisk via the Bad Step or from Coruisk to Sligachan. Coruisk to Camasunary via the Bad Step is described in the Scottish Mountaineering Club's "Skye Scrambles" as a grade 1/2 Scramble. It is a hard trail requiring good boots, energy and general mountain skills. En route there are a number of bad steps of which the Bad Step itself is probably impassable without some basic climbing skills. Some undoubtedly would prefer to be led up by a rope.

The exposure is significant - 40 to 60 feet down to deep and cold water and there is no alternative route. Falling creates further problems as it is a lonely place. Coruisk to Sligachan again requires good boots and energy but this is simply a hard walk and no more. On a misty day good map awareness would be needed to get out of the immediate Coruisk area up and over the hill to Glen Sligachan. General fitness needs to be good for both walks. A rucksack with spare clothes and a decent food supply would be needed. I speak with recent experience having spent two nights camping at Coruisk in September and walking both these routes".

Walk 1166 Route Map

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