We often get enquiries that start with a question such as: I am a total beginner and I’d like to do something to enjoy the landscape of Skye without taking on too much, what would you recommend?

I love these types of enquiries. Skye has so much to offer in the way of beautiful landscapes that leave a lasting impression. But a lot of the terrain, particularly in the Cuillin, can be challenging and can leave some people feeling like they can’t take part in the enjoyment of it.

Our focus has always been helping people to take on a challenge at the right level for them, and tailoring what we offer to engage with people of all ages, fitness and skill levels.

One of my all-time favourite walks for this type of client is Ben Tiannavaig. Situated very close to Portree and standing at 413m tall, this little mountain commands views to rival that of many mountains in Scotland. From the summit on a clear day, you get a feast for the senses in every direction. With the Cuillin to the south, the Western Isles north and west, Portree directly north and the Old Man of Storr beyond that, and Raasay and the sea to the east, there really is so much to take in! In addition to the beautiful panoramas, we have often seen sea eagles, seals, dolphins and even sea otters on this adventure.

The real beauty of this hill is how accessible it is! Ben Tiannavaig’s convenient location and the relaxed nature of the ascent make it an unmissable experience for those looking for a grand but unintimidating adventure.

The summit can normally be reached within 1.5-2 hours and often the whole walk can be done as a half day adventure. Despite its accessibility, this mini mountain gives the feel of a grand excursion – leaving you a sense of pride in your achievement and engagement with the stunning landscapes that make up this beautiful part of the world.

The mountains of the Highlands can be demanding – often days out involve covering big distances and a range of terrains. These factors demand skills in decision making, judging weather, navigation, preparation and fitness. Parking nearby is a rare luxury and many days out are spent mostly away from worn paths. These reasons lead hillwalkers to look to a professional guide when they wish to challenge themselves beyond their normal experience.

Often my clients have some mountain experience and fitness. I take time to ascertain when, where and what they’ve done in the hills, as well as their existing skills and knowledge. This helps me organise an adventure with the perfect amount of challenge, and also skill development to equip them for their future excursions.

One such day out is an ascent of Sgurr na Stri. A modest hill, you might think, standing at 494m. But it commands some of the finest views in Scotland and demands a day of around 23.5km (14.5 miles) to access its delights. The distance alone requires fitness and commitment that will challenge those unused to the sheer scale of the Highlands. It is a grand vantage point to take in the wonders of the Cuillin, without committing to those technically challenging peaks. I defy anyone to come away from a day up Sgurr na Stri without a big smile on their face!

The route starts through Glen Sligachan, a beautiful walk in itself that passes picturesque lochs and mountains as it follows the river towards Harta Corrie. The ascent onto the mountain itself demands route-finding skills as the path disappears into rocky terrain. The summit views are sensational and have been argued to be the best in Scotland. After taking in the beauty from the summit, you can either increase the day by descending toward Camasunary, or return via the same route – which is often quite enough for most!

It’s a 7-8 hour day in good conditions – certainly enough to earn you a drink at the Sligachan bar on your return. There is so much to take in throughout the day, with fascinating history and geology all around it is sure not to disappoint!

Mountain Training Association
Association of Mountaineering Instructors

It is important that our guides are both appropriately qualified and experienced to ensure you remain safe while out exploring.