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Elgol to Glenbrittle Shieling Path

Start location: Elgol (NG 520 138)
End location: Glen Brittle Hut (NG 412 215)
Geographical area: Skye and Lochalsh
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 31km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians

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Route Description

Take the path from Elgol which goes north at a height of about 100m above sea-level across the steep west face of Ben Cleat. There are superb views of the Black Cuillin across Loch Scavaig from this part of the route. The path drops down to sea-level at the foot of Glen Scaladal and continues just above the shore to Camasunary. This beautifully situated spot on the machair above Camus Fhionnairigh can also be reached from Kilmarie on the B8083 (NG545173) by a track across the Strathaird peninsula. From Camasunary, the direct route to Sligachan goes north by the path up Srath na Creitheach, over the pass at only 85m at Lochan Dubha and down Glen Sligachan on the east side of the river to reach the Sligachan Hotel.

A much more interesting and scenic route goes west from Camasunary for 700m across the machair to the Abhainn Camas Fhionnairigh. There is no bridge and the crossing will be difficult, maybe impossible, if the river is full or the tide is high. Once across this stream, continue along the path below the steep southern perimeter of Sgurr na Stri and round the Rubha Ban to Loch nan Leachd, an inner pool of Loch Scavaig. On a fine day the views across the loch to the Cuillin are magnificent. The Bad Step is reached where the path approaches a slabby rock buttress dropping sheer into Loch Scavaig. The only difficult part is where one has to scramble up a narrow ledge across a slab directly above the sea. There is an easier alternative at a higher level which is reached by a well marked scramble. Beyond the Bad Step there are no difficulties; the path drops to sea-level and crosses a little promontory to reach the outflow of Loch Coruisk.The continuation to Sligachan does not cross the River Scavaig, but goes northeast up a rough path and slabs past Loch a’ Choire Riabhaich and over the Druim Hain ridge at about 310m. Beyond there descend for about 2.5km by a path to join the main route between Camasunary and Sligachan near Lochan Dubha.

From the Sligachan Hotel follow the A863 towards Drynoch for 700m, then go southwest along the private road to Alltdearg House. Continue behind the house and up the path on the northwest bank of the Allt Dearg Mor to the Bealach a’ Mhaim. Go down the path on the north side of the Allt a’ Mhaim and alongside the forest fence to reach the road in Glen Brittle. Finally, go down this road to your destination at the youth hostel, the climbers’ hut or the camp site beside the beach.

OS Landranger 32 (South Skye)

Heritage Information

This path is marked in the 1st edition OS 6 inch to the mile map, which was surveyed in the mid 19th century but it doesn't look as if there were very many people living along the route. The Sites and Monuments Record shows a number of hut circles and shieling huts on the route but apart from Elgol, Sligachan and Glenbrittle there are no settlements or townships on the track. The path must have been used by residents of these townships visiting their shieling sites annually and also by people visiting the townships for trade or communication purposes.

This old route between Elgol and Sligachan, along with the described variant via the Bad Step and Loch Coruisk, crosses land now mostly owned by the John Muir Trust. JMT staff and volunteers repair, maintain and monitor the path network - donations to their Wild Ways Path Fund are welcomed.





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