Part of the landslide that created Trotternish Ridge in the Isle of Skye, Quiraing forms a very distinctive and diverse landscape. Here is a complete guide.
How To Get To Quiraing
Located nearly as far north as you can go on the Isle of Skye, Quiraing is part of the Trotternish Peninsula.
Follow the A855 from the town of Portree, heading north along the east coast for approximately 19 miles.
Just after the township of Staffin you will see a sign directing you left along a single track road. (There are plenty of passing places along this road.)
This track will take you past a graveyard on your left, in the area of Sartle. Also, the remains of an Iron Age fort, Dun Beag, on your right.
Continue to the top of the ridge where you will find a pay car park and the Quiraing viewpoint.
Charges here are £3 for 3 hours/£5 for 6 hours – cash, card or phone.
From the car park, the Quiraing is just under a 2 mile (3km) walk along a clear and well-trodden footpath.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
If you’ve only got a day, the Best of Isle of Skye Full-Day Tour will take you to Quiraing as well as other tourist hot spots.
Quiraing Entrance Fee
It’s free to visit this attraction, although there is a charge to park in Quiraing car park.
Quiraing Opening Times
Open every day of the year, all year round.
Best Time To Visit Quiraing + Tips
As with all the stunning tourist spots in Scotland, it can get pretty busy here, especially in the Summer months. Therefore, the usual advice is arrive early to avoid crowds and get a parking place.
The better the weather, the better the views, so a fine day if possible, is recommended.
It can be quite muddy, particularly on the descent. As well as there being loose scree when climbing some of the rocks/slopes. Hence, appropriate footwear is definitely required.
Also, it can be pretty windy and sometimes wet, so layered clothing is a good idea.
This is quite a challenging hike, especially the descent, so be prepared.
There are no facilities in the car park other than, sometimes, a food/drink van.
What To Pack
History of Quiraing
The name Quiraing comes from Old Norse ‘Kvi Rand’, meaning ’round fold’. It is said that the fold part of this landscape was used to conceal cattle from viking raiders in days gone by.
Dating back to the Tertiary period, the whole of the Trotternish Ridge, including the Quiraing, was formed when volcanic lava flowed over sedimentary rock. Thus creating the largest landslip in Britain.
In fact, geologists believe that lava up to 300m thick pressed down on the weaker, Jurassic sedimentary layer below, causing fractures along the north-south fault lines.
Consequently, massive blocks of rock slid towards the sea in a series of five movements, leaving behind the spectacular landscape that you see today.
Interestingly, the Quiraing is the only part of the landslip that is still moving (a few centimetres annually) causing the road at its base to need constant repairs!
Easily one of the best things to do in The Isle Of Skye for historians and explorers.
What To Expect At Quiraing
Once parked in the car park, you can walk to the Quiraing viewpoint and enjoy one of the most dramatic and photographed views in Scotland.
Stretching out to the ocean, this stunning landscape is a favourite location for photographers and film makers for good reason.
Located at the viewpoint you will find an information board with lots of interesting facts about the area. You will also see that the Gaelic name for Quiraing is Cuith-Raing.
Following the footpath from the car park, it is just under 2 miles (3km) to the Quiraing. Most people walk from the car park to the Quiraing and return the same way.
However, you can extend the walk by doing a circuit that climbs to the top of the ridge and follows the crest back towards the car park. This longer walk is about 4 miles (6.4km).
The diverse and distinctive landscape of Quiraing certainly has a very dramatic and mystical feel to it. With cliffs, towering rocky outcrops, plateaus, pools of water and grassy slopes your outlook is constantly changing.
Over the years, certain parts of this amazing landscape have been assigned seemingly appropriate names – The Prison, The Needle and The Table.
The first landmark you come to is the knife edged ridge known as The Prison. This rocky outcrop can, from certain angles, look like the remains of fortress walls from an ancient prison.
The Prison can be climbed, although it is a pretty steep slope with lots of scree (small loose stones) so care needs to be taken.
Looking left from The Prison, you will see some large, jagged rock pinnacles. The largest of these, at 120ft (37m), is the landmark known as The Needle.
Not greatly impressive from a distance, however, when you get close to it you realise how imposing this towering, needle shaped rock really is.
North west of The Needle is the landmark known as The Table, a flat grassy area that slipped down from the plateau summit.
Hidden away amongst the cliffs and rock formations, this small, flat grassy area seems a little out of place and certainly stands out in its unusual surroundings.
If you want to climb to the top of The Table, the easiest way is via the path on the west side. Furthermore, once at the top of The Table the views across the Isle of Skye are spectacular.
I would highly recommend visiting the incredible and unique landscape of Quiraing. It has to be seen to believe the sheer size and beauty of it.
With its mythical and magical atmosphere it is not surprising that it has been a chosen location for many famous films.
Some of these films include Macbeth, The BFG, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Transformers: The Last Knight and many more.
Where To Stay In The Isle Of Skye
Luxury – Monkstadt 1745 Luxury Lodge
Featuring mountain views, Monkstadt 1745 Luxury Lodge in Portree features accommodation, a garden, a shared lounge, a restaurant and a bar. Both WiFi and private parking are accessible at the lodge free of charge.
Monkstadt 1745 Luxury Lodge offers a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries, a hairdryer and shower.
An à la carte, Full English/Irish or vegan breakfast is available each morning at the property.
If you would like to discover the area, hiking and cycling are possible in the surroundings.
Mid-Budget – Balmacara Hotel
Situated on the shores of Loch Alsh, Balmacara Hotel is just 5 minutes’ drive from Kyle of Lochalsh, the main crossing point to the Isle of Skye. Live music is available in the on-site pub. Free private parking is also available.
An en suite bathroom, TV and tea/coffee making facilities are available in each Balmacara room, and most come with scenic views across Loch Alsh towards the Isle of Skye. Some of the contemporary themed rooms come with with Victorian antiques on display.
Guests can savour views of the Loch as they enjoy their meals. Specialities include local seafood and game. Plus a full English breakfast is available in the 1930’s style coffee lounge.
Budget – Skye Backpackers
Facing the seafront in Kyleakin, Skye Backpackers features barbecue facilities. Among the various facilities are a garden and a shared lounge. Both free WiFi and private parking are available at the hostel.
Rooms are complete with a shared bathroom, while some rooms at Skye Backpackers also provide guests with a seating area.
The 8 and 10 bed mixed dormitory rooms are in large static caravans in the back garden, with 24-hour access to all facilities within the main house, as well as an outdoor wash block and hot drinks station.
Cycling, fishing and hiking are among the activities that guests of the accommodation can find nearby.
For more places to stay in The Isle Of Skye, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.