Outdoors & Geology

“There’s no such thing as bad weather – only the wrong clothes”

Hill-walkers & Climbers

Skye’s famous Cullin Ridge

 

Ashaig provides the ultimate central base for exploring both Skye and the neighbouring mainland. It is an equidistant starting point for the Cullin ridge access points of Sligachan and Elgol, as well as Kintail, all a 25 minute drive away – also the amenities of Broadford are close at hand. A comprehensive list of graded walks throughout the region can be found on the Walkhighlands website.

 

 

 

 

Over and above the famed landscapes of Skye, Ashaig House is only 5 minutes from the Skye Bridge, thus well positioned for exploring the adjacent estates of Balmacara (10 mins) and Kintail (25mins), two outstandingly scenic conservation areas under the care of the National Trust for Scotland. These contain a network of woodland trails, as well as the rewarding hike to one of the UK’s highest waterfalls, the Falls of Glomach (370ft) – both ideal for inclement weather.

The idyllic Wester Ross coastline is just a hop across the Skye Bridge. The renowned Torridon Range, visible from Ashaig House across the Inner Sound, is accessible within a highly scenic 1 hour drive. Also, the idyllic village of Plockton, with its selection of cosy pubs, and renowned from the TV series ‘Hamish MacBeth’ sits nestled in a craggy bay only 25 minutes drive away. We can also recommend a day exploring the Isle of Raasay, which offers impressive views back to Skye. We are also only a 25 minute drive from Armadale, where you can take a full-day sail (via Mallaig) with Calmac Ferries to visit the National Scenic Area of the Small Isles (Rum, Canna, Eigg, Muck).

Sea kayaking around Skye
Sea kayaking around Skye

 Sea Kayakers

For sea-kayakers, the shoreline in the locale provides you with direct access onto the Sound of Raasay, and our neighbours are Skyak Adventures with Gordon Brown. Why not book a course with them to improve your skills and spot wildlife up close around the local coastlines?

 

20-inch-arnioceras-semicostatum from Ardnish

Geologists – Fossil Collecting on Skye

Ardnish Point, at the base of the croft,  is a fantastic area for collecting fossils. The actual point, has only weathered cup-corals but the nature of the collapsed sheets of bedrock make it an interesting place to visit. It is in the inlets that there has been some large ammonites like ‘Arnioceras semicostatum’ and ‘Echioceras raricostatum’  discovered. There are countless loose ‘Gryphea arcuata’ or devils toenails to collect, and there is a wide range of bivalves including pectens or scallop-like bivalves. There are lots of many interesting archaeological features and ruined crofts about. Ardnish really is a must see location.  This is a SSSI site, so keep disturbance and collecting to a minimum.

Jurassic/Triassic boundary. Approximately 205-210 MYA. There is a succession of the Pabbay Shale Formation at the furthest western end of the main peninsula. This is almost continuous along the entire peninsula at the high tide mark. The first inlet has a succession of harder rock from the Breakish Formation that has been part baked by the many Tertiary dykes that cut through this bay. This has a good semicostatum zone, with the weathered negative impressions of huge ammonites visible. These are around to be found but they must be handled with care, as they tend to shatter with hard impacts of hammers. They are also heavy so take care if you intend preparing it at home. The Breakish formation is the Hettangian Stage, and the Pabby Shale boundary falls into the Early Sinemurian Stage

The above information is courtesy of UK Fossils Network directory of sites on Skye.

The peaceful nature around South Skye is home to an abundance of wildlife. Deer and pheasants can occasionally be sighted around the locale, and rabbits are commonplace in the front garden.

Wildlife in South Skye:

seal

Otters & Seals:

For otter spotting, contact the Brightwater Centre on Kyleakin pier, who provide daily guided tours of Eilean Bàn (the small island under the Skye Bridge, once inhabited by Gavin Maxwell). The island is an Otter Haven with various hides. The Brightwater Centre offers a wealth of local wildlife information along with interactive displays. From the Kyle side of the pier wall, you may also catch sight of the otters fishing & diving around between the seaweed. Alternatively, take a (somewhat hairy) drive to Kylerhea, where the forestry track leads up to the hill on the left of the village, and a scenic walk leads to a Forestry Commission otter hide.

Seals are found on rocky outcrops, where they won’t be disturbed. Boat trips are offered from nearby Kyle and Plockton, the latter offering a refund if seals are not seen.

Birdlife:

The immediate area is of interest to ornithologists. The shoreline of Ashaig Beach is home to seabirds including oystercatchers and curlews. The immediate croftland in front of the house offers the possibility to observe birdlife including pheasants and buzzards. There have even been alleged sightings of the sea eagle on our fence posts. A live webcam link to a sea eagle nest can be found at the Aros Centre in Portree (45mins drive), where further information on sea eagle conservation projects is to be found. Keep your eye on fence posts while exploring the wilds of the island!