Often described as the most beautiful landslide in the world, The Quiraing is a series of dramatic linear peaks and valleys along the eastern escarpment of the Trotternish peninsular on the Isle of Skye. The ridge was formed when a stretch of cliffs and hills broke apart and slid towards the east coast. Although most of the land is now stable, the section known as The Quiraing is still moving at an average rate of 2-3 centimetres per year which is enough to regularly damage the A855 road between Flodigary and Digg. The landslide is the largest in the United Kingdom and encompasses an area of at least 8.5 square kilometres. The region is extremely ancient and fossils are relatively common as are footprints of Hadrosaur dinosaurs which lived around 170 million year years ago. It has often been described as an area of supernatural beauty and, not surprisingly, is rich in legends. The name derives from the Old Norse and means round fold (hidden valleys) and it was here that the local people would hide their cattle in as a precaution against Viking raids.
Many of the geological features have been given names which include The Needle, The Table and The Prison. The Needle is massive pinnacle of rock separated from the nearby cliffs. It is 37 metres (120ft) tall and overlooks a narrow valley that eventually leads to Loch Hasco. To the northwest is the feature known as The Table with its spectacular views of the mountains of Wester Ross and the Torridon Hills. Southwest of the needle is a mysterious rocky outcrop in the shape of a pyramid. This is The Prison, so named because it looks like a medieval prison fortress if viewed from the southeast.
The Quiraing is popular with hill walkers and has numerous trails leading through its many hidden valleys. The views, from almost any angle are both magnificent and menacing at the same time. The paths are not particularly difficult to find but can often be slippery and therefore dangerous. Walkers are urged to wear proper outdoor clothing and footwear suitable for hiking. Please note that mists and fogs can roll in quite suddenly and make the landscape difficult to navigate. If the weather is wet be prepared for the mud that will get on your clothes, particularly as you make the ascent towards the Needle.
Local legends claim that some of the rock formations were once real people that were turned to stone through magic. These include the Prince Storr (not the giant) and the Princess Catriona. Other stories tell of the Lord Quiraing and the lost pot of gold hidden in the valley of echoes. Tales also tell how the area used to be the home of dragons that guarded the island from invaders. The Table plateau is said to be the meeting place of fairy folk and woe betide any traveller who disturbs them when the summer moon is full.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
A850 (Rd), Loch Greshornish Borve, Portree
Isle of Skye, Scotland, IV51 9PS
+44 (0)1470 582 230
- Address: Quiraing Road, Brogaig, Isle of Skye, Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom, IV51 9LB
- GPS: 57.63932778,-6.272730556
- Part of UK: Scotland
- Sat Nav Postcode: IV51 9LB
- Entrance Fees: Free access
- Disabled Access: Very limited off main roads
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: Martin M303