One of the things I loved most about our trip to Scotland is that we got off the beaten path quite a bit. In fact, I call it our “Highlands and Islands” tour because we really got out there into some of the lesser-known regions and didn’t really spend much time in the usual areas.
Now, you might be thinking, right, the Isle of Skye isn’t exactly “lesser known”. And you’d be right. But this little corner of it is, and it takes some planning and determination to get there.
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Soaking in the Serenity of Scotland’s Tiny Isle of Iona
First, you have to get to Elgol, on one of the little southern peninsulas. Then you’ll take a boat trip over to the stunning and very remote Loch Coruisk (go ahead, look it up on Google Maps, I’ll wait).
We took the ferry quite early back from the Isle of Harris and Lewis to Skye, then quickly made the drive to Elgol for our boat trip. After we boarded the Heather Grace and got underway, our guide, Jamie, was great, and told us all about the islands around us and the history of the place.
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You might even recognize the scenery approaching the loch from this amazing mountain biking video of Danny Macaskill. I seriously get so stressed each time I watch it, but the scenery is breathtaking and totally worth it.
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The boat ride was so moody, and could have benefited from a little sun. The stony gray clouds and fog did lend a mystical air to the whole place, though. We disembarked and started making our way toward Loch Coruisk, just a tiny bit of a climb.
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The morning was cold, rainy, and windy, but the wind at least was welcome—because we were getting EATEN ALIVE by midges.
Pro tip: bring midge spray and maybe one of those nerdy hats with the netting. We pooh-poohed people’s suggestions but it was totally miserable and we were wishing for those nerdy hats!
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Mostly we just walked around and soaked in the quiet and the beauty. Because the area is so remote, we got to see tons of wildlife, including this red deer.
Finally it was time to catch the boat back to Elgol. They served us hot chocolate and biscuits when we got back on the boat, which was lovely and cozy. But the awesomeness wasn’t over.
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SEALS! So. Many. Seals.
Look at those faces! There are seals all over these more remote island parts, and we got to see a bunch up close and personal (though, full disclosure, my dad used his telephoto lens for some of these, we weren’t like 5 feet from the seals in reality…).
Once we disembarked, from Elgol we drove around the Sleat Peninsula, stopping at the Blue Shed Cafe for some coffee and a scone, and doing a quick hike for a view.
Finally we arrived at our B&B in Isleornsay, called Coille Challtainn. Our hostess, Flora, met us with hot tea and fresh homemade shortbread (AMAZING), and we enjoyed a lovely evening down at the local pub.
Sabbath morning graced us with a beautiful sunrise as we ate our porridge, and then we were off back to the mainland, taking the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig and then driving over to the Isle of Mull and our adventure on the tiny isle of Iona.
Getting to Elgol takes some planning and you’ll need to set aside a day for the trip in total, but the wildness and quiet of Loch Coruisk is worth the extra effort. A boat trip on the Isle of Skye is a must on any Scotland itinerary!
How to plan a boat trip to Loch Coruisk:
- We booked with Misty Isle Boat Tours
- We took the 11a sailing but they have a few so email for availability; it was 20 pounds per person, though they gave us a small discount because there were four of us
- They have different lengths of trips, but the 3-hour one is standard (this gives you about an hour and a half to walk around at the loch)
- Sailings run from Easter til around end of October, and all sailings are weather-permitting
Other “I’m On Boat” Stories:
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- Floating on a Glacier Lake: New Zealand’s Lake Tasman
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