Natural Phenomenon, Viewing Point and Walk in Isle of Skye

Blue Is Coming In Quiraing
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Luis Ascenso Photography

The Quiraing is located in the northern Trotternish Peninsula o the Isle of Skye. The peninsula has a long, dramatic mountain ridge, Trotternish Ridge escarpment which was created by a massive landslip. The Quiraing is the only part of the slip still moving – the road at its base, near Flodigarry, requires repairs each year. The end result is some incredible, interesting scenery such as high cliffs, hidden plateaus and pinnacles of rock, which are a pleasure to hike around. The anglicised Gaelic name Quiraing is derived from the Old Norse Kvi Rand, which means something folded.

The Quiraing has featured in The BFGMacbethStardustThe Land That Time ForgotSnow White and the Huntsman47 RoninKing Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and Transformers: The Last Knight.

Planning your visit to the Quiraing on Skye

Where to park for the Quiraing?

The signed road to the Quiraing begins after Staffin, at Brogaig. With hairpin bends and gradients of 15 degrees, it climbs west up towards the escarpment but is not always passable in winter conditions. After a cemetery, you’ll reach the car park from where you can cross to the opposite side of the road to take the Flodigarry path. The carpark is not that big so fills up quickly mid-summer, you may need to drive further along the road to find a spot.

Walking the Quiraing

The Quiraing Circuit is a 6.8 km moderately challenging  loop trail near Grealin, Highland. It takes just over 2 hours complete. This trail is great for hiking, trail running, and walking. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime.

Walking the Quiraing: Stage 1 – Prison

You follow the path that leads north from the carpark, the path is rough under foot with steep grassy slopes on your right hand side. Ahead of you are high cliffs and to their right the rock structure which is known as the Prison – a complex rock feature with three summits that can resembles the fortress walls of an ancient Prison. After 10mins you will reach one of the more challenging parts of the walk which that involves scrambling over a rock gorge to cross a small stream. After the stream the path leads on towards the Prison and then passes between it and the high cliffs. By the prison you must ascend up a bank of scree.

Walking the Quiraing: Stage 2 – Needle

With the Prison on your right hand side if you look left you will now see some large rock columns, the largest which is known as the ‘Needle’.  Leave the main path at its crest, marked by a cairn, and climb the steep muddy slope to reach the Needle. Keep to the left of the Needle to continue climbing. Soon a narrow path leads right, up to a gap via a gully.

Take your time and enjoy the surroundings. Between gaps in the rock there are fabulous views to the north and east. You will be able to spot tiny Staffin Island down below and the deep sea lochs of Torridon and Gairloch cutting into the mainland.

Walking the Quiraing: Stage 3 – Table

A path beyond the gully drops a little before zig-zagging up another steep rise towards a big flat buttress – the Table. The best and safest way to access its flat top is by passing below the Table to the left and then following an easy path up the back of this remarkable little plateau.

On a clear day, the views from here are magnificent, and are enhanced by the magical setting. Covered in short grass, the Table has slipped as a complete section from above and is so level, local folkslore has it that shinty (a Scottish game similar to hockey) matches were once played on its grassy surface. Now it’s the perfect place to stop for lunch.

Walking the Quiraing: Stage 4 – The Return

The descent to the Quiraing, which should be done slowly and surely, follows the exact same route as the one up, although anyone who can’t be dragged away from the wild beauty of the Quiraing just yet can simply stay on the main level Flodigarry path for a further half mile to reach a large cairn and new views out to the churning sea.

The Quiraing appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Isle of Skye!

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Visiting Quiraing

Duration: 2 hours

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