Discover the Kylerhea hills

When in south Skye do not miss an opportunity to discover the Kylerhea hills.  Regular hill walking visitors to Skye will know the Kylerhea hills very well but they are often passed by unless you are taking the Glenelg Ferry crossing or visiting the otter hide at Kylerhea.  The route here has Ben Aslak as its objective – a peak whose summit is a lot more interesting than its stony lower slopes suggest with a lochan, several minor tops to explore and wonderfully panoramic views.

Isle Oronsay and the Sound of Sleat

Isle Ornsay and the Sound of Sleat

You’ll be able to enjoy the stunning views down to Glenelg and across to Knoydart in relative solitude as not many walkers come this way – no Munro baggers in the vicinty,  nor even any Marilyn chasers as Ben Aslak measures a mere 604 metres – 1,984 feet – well shy of the classics.

There two main options of where to start – the first, at sea level in Kylerhea, for those that want to climb every last metre, or the second for crafty hillwalkers looking for a less arduous route can park near the top of the pass between Kylerhea and Broadford and nip up the very convenient forestry track that leads you right up to the gap between Ben Aslak and its neighbour leaving only a short climb to the summit ridge.

Route one from sea level starts at the shore near the ferry crossing point.  Cross the river and pick up the east ridge and follow it all the way to the top.  It’s a fair step but all the steep bits can be avoided easily enough.  The views of Loch Hourn and the Knoydart hills just get better and better the higher you go.

Route two is the easier option.  Follow the forest track up as far as it goes then strike out to the left and pick up the rising ground to gain the ridge that will take you to the top.

Summit lochan and Broadford Bay

Summit lochan and Broadford Bay

You will only get the full impact of what’s on the other side when you get to the summit ridge but the views of Knoydart to the east are quite amazing.  The summit also gives extensive views across Sleat and to the Strathaird peninsular where our self-catering holiday let  Springbank Cottage is tucked away among the croft houses of Elgol.

If you climbed up from Kylerhea you can retrace the ascent or alternatively descend via the forest track and back to Kylerhea by the public road.  If you opt to come up the forest track you’ll have to go back the way you came.

The bird life is among the best in Skye with Golden plover and Ptarmigan both breeding in this area and plenty of raptor interest.

Well camouflaged ptarmigan

Well camouflaged ptarmigan

As always when hill walking, check that the weather forecast doesn’t hold any nasty surprises and be aware that the walk covers rough and boggy ground.  Make sure everyone in your group is well clothed and equipped for the hills and leave a note of where you are going and when you expect to be back.  The environmental activities room at Springbank Cottage is well equipped with map and compass for visitor’s use.

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