Fiskivaig to Talisker Bay

2 11 2014

Sat 20 Sep 2014
Having cancelled my planned Cuillin Skyline walk with Jonah my guide, due to a bad weather forecast, I awoke to find a clear, starlit sky followed by a beautiful day – grrr! As I was staying at a B&B down in Portnalong, however, I decided it was time to do a walk I’ve wanted to do for a while – to Talisker Bay via the moorland track from Fiskivaig…

Talisker Bay Water Channel

(all photos digi point-and-shoot for this post – click on for full size/resolution)
The walk is about 8 miles but I didn’t time how long it took as I had all day to dawdle about and so wasn’t in any kind of rush for a change. I set off along the road for Fiskivaig in the sunshine. The road is quite hilly but stays within sight of the coastline most of the time and so there are beautiful views to the various bays and across Loch Harport.

Fiskivaig Hill1

At one point on the road, various flowers had escaped from the surrounding gardens and were growing wild, making for stunning roadside verges around Sabhail.

Fiskavaig - escaped flowers

The road headed inland briefly to a sharp bend where my track (signposted) set off south across the moorland past a sheep barn and small caravan.

As we’ve had a dry late-summer, the track was nice and dry throughout its length – I have read reports of it being boggy though.

Talisker Bay Track

It was flat and easy to follow and very soon the familiar landmark of Preshal Mor hove into view. This is a stupendous small peak which is well-guarded by crags most of the way round – last time Richard and I walked to Talisker Bay along the road from Carbost, we were well impressed by it. If anyone has walked Preshal Mor and Beag, I’d be interested to hear about it.

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Photo by Richard Wood from previous visit

As the path drew nearer to the Huisgill Burn, shortly before the zig-zag descent to Gleann Oraid, I saw a ruined croft overgrown with heather which made a nice, if rather sad, foreground to the hills behind.

Old Sheiling & Limestone Crags

Old Sheiling, Purple Heather

Shortly after, the burn descends the large waterfall of the Eas Mor (literally means ‘big waterfall’) in a narrow gorge. Last time Richard and I saw this from Gleann Oraid back in May, it was full of water and spectacular. Now it was a shadow of its former self with only a trickle coming down. It’s hard to see the waterfall from the path unfortunately…

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Richard’s photo from last visit – zoom from across Glen Oraid

Descending to Talisker Bay on Moorland Track
My photo of start of zig-zag descent to Talisker

After crossing the glen at the bottom of the zig-zag, I arrived on the road which comes over from Carbost which we walked last time. The estate house here keeps peacocks and they are usually ranging around the parking area at the junction. Last time we were here, a stupid family were letting their labrador chase them around 😐

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(Richard’s photo)

A path sets off through the trees here past the big house. We were amused on our last visit to see that one of their estate worker’s vans had a beautifully marked plywood back window! 😉 Goodness knows what the police around our way would make of that!

At the end of the track I was delighted to see that, this time, the tide was out. That meant that, not only was the sandy part of the beach visible and walkable, but the sea stacks were also reachable.

Talisker Bay Sands

Talisker Bay - River Mouth

On the way out to the stacks, I clambered over the slippery boulders all the way – this took quite some time and effort. I noticed that there was a rocky platform running just under the cliffs most of the way however – I decided to use that on my return.

Talisker Bay Sea Stacks Closeup from Rocks

There are two sea stacks – both mounted on the same rock platform. It wasn’t possible for the likes of myself to climb either of the stacks but there was a nice high ridge running along from the small one which was easily surmounted.

Talisker Bay Seastacks & Platform

Talisker Bay Sea Stacks From Platform1

Talisker Bay Little Stack (portrait)

The views back to the cliffs of the headland were spectacular…

Talisker Bay - Little Stack & Headland

Talisker Bay - Little Stack & Headland1

I’d made sure the tide was on its way out before visiting the sea stacks as I wasn’t sure how long it would take and I kept an eye on the water. I noticed a little cave in the headland cliffs – it looked like it had started off as a natural sea-cave but the entrance looks to have been squared off. After a quick look at the cave, I headed off to see what the rock shelf heading back to the beach was like.

Talisker Bay Enlarged Sea Cave

The rock shelf was a great way back to the bay and much quicker than the boulders had been. I was soon back on the beach and found I wasn’t the only photographer – there was a guy with some serious looking lenses taking photos too. I only had my digital point-and-shoot unfortunately as I hadn’t taken my proper camera to Skye as I was supposed to be in the Cuillin.

Talisker Bay - Beach Stones

Talisker Bay-Stacks & Beach Stones

Talisker Bay Sand Island

Talisker Bay Stacks & Headland Across Waves

Talisker Bay Sparkling Sea

Just over the shingle banking which the river into the bay has formed, there was a huge and rusty boiler – not sure what it was off. I didn’t take a photo as, although interesting, it wasn’t really particularly photogenic (I’m used to not wasting film shots!)

After crossing the river I reached the far side of the beach. I’d decided to walk back along this side of the valley as I have to admit to finding the normal track down to the beach a bit boring and I’d already done it three times. There was a steep clamber up a grassy banking and I then had to stride over the fence at a spot where the barbed wire had been folded down under the top wire so this would be a tricky route for anyone with shorter legs unfortunately.

Preshal Mor & Old Wall (portrait)
Preshal Mor from valley path back

The route back along the grassy valley side had a couple of small paths – one in the valley bottom and the other slightly up the side. I took the higher path. The path doesn’t get used much as there were loads of rabbits and they scattered in horror at the intrusion to their normal peace – that made me feel a bit guilty. One of them thought it was far enough away to pose for a photo though 🙂

Wild Bunny!

My path rejoined the moorland track about halfway up the zig-zags and I headed off back up them.

Talisker Glen from moorland track
Glen Oraid

In addition to the ruined shieling I’d seen on the way out, I found another one, completely filled with ferns and heather, about halfway back to the road.

Inside Old Sheiling

I soon reached the road and headed back to Portnalong – the walk had taken up a few hours but it was still early afternoon. Not having anything else to do, I headed off to the Sligachan to write up my blog posts.

If anyone is thinking of visiting Talisker Bay, this route is a pretty good one – far better than the one from Carbost through Glen Oraid. Of course, it is possible to drive to Talisker and just walk the last few hundred yards to the beach but I think I’d only do that if pushed for time myself.

Three of Richard’s photos from our walk to Talisker in May from Carbost on a less nice day…

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Glen Oraid

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The bay with the tide in but more water in the waterfall

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What I called the ‘Limestone Gatehouse’ on the cliffs before the sea stacks

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18 responses

21 06 2015
The Basteir Tooth | The Adventures of a Mountain Coward

[…] I couldn’t face slithering around on the two peaks of Sgurr a’ Ghreadaidh and the knife-edged tent-ridge between them so I’m afraid I cancelled. … it turned out to be a wonderfully sunny day. Never mind, I walked from my B&B at Portnalong to Talisker Bay and got some great photos […]

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25 12 2014
Simon Howlett

A lovely series of photos from this walk. Looks a great route, will try it next time I visit Skye. Last time I was there one of the peacocks could see its reflection in a parked car which it then attacked. Nice to get a closer view of the sea stacks.

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26 12 2014
mountaincoward

That’s hilarious about the peacock! When we had a kitten once, we put a mirror down for it to look in to see if it would recognise either itself or the presence of ‘a cat’. It didn’t recognise itself but did see ‘another cat’ in the mirror and slapped it with its paw. We were in hysterics. When that didn’t work, it went around the back of the mirror so must have thought it was looking through a window at another cat.

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4 12 2014
3 Trips Thursday #16 - walkwithtookie

[…] Sometimes having to change your plans is not all bad as the Mountain Coward finds out on the Isle Skye. Fiskivaig to Taliskerbay. […]

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6 11 2014
bob

There are some great little explored corners of Skye. Did the Preshal Mor, Preshal Beag coastal cliff path route years ago and it was a remote and interesting trip. Nice photographs. Only met one person in nine hours and he was a geologist studying rocks at the base of a 500 foot cliff.

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6 11 2014
mountaincoward

Did you write about it? Got any photos? (eh? eh? nudge? nudge? 😉 )

Did you actually go up the 2 hills?

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4 11 2014
fedup

Hopefully this new super-duper computer the Met-Office have bought will improve the forecasts – although when there is scenery like this it is no great hardship 😉 Great pictures & report of a fantastic place 🙂

When we where there you could buy peacock feathers by putting 50p in a little honesty jar.
Cheers

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6 11 2014
mountaincoward

I’d be surprised if they stopped the peacock feather thing but didn’t see a jar… perhaps it’s seasonal? their moulting season would make sense (whenever that is)

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4 11 2014
McEff

Very pleasant part of the world, that. Skye is one of those places you could visit year after year and never run out of new corners to see. Wonderful scenery and great pictures.
Cheers, Alen

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4 11 2014
mountaincoward

I agree – there is a lot to see on Skye. I’m looking forward to seeing much more of this kind of thing when I’ve finally got those ‘tops’ out of the way and can relax more.

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3 11 2014
underswansea

It is an incredible landscape that you explore. Wonderful photos and post!

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3 11 2014
mountaincoward

Thanks – our landscape is very green but usually very soggy 😉

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3 11 2014
chrissiedixie

Well, what a nice, relaxing post to read for a change, Carol! Instead of feeling all worn out afterwards, I feel all chilled this time 😀

Liked by 1 person

3 11 2014
mountaincoward

I did too after that walk. I found that, this year, I’ve pretty much had to have a chilling day after a couple of the scarier ones before I can function again!

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3 11 2014
Paul Shorrock

Nice one Carol – I’ll file that one away for future visits.

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3 11 2014
mountaincoward

It’s a lovely beach but make sure the tide is out (it’s a bit boring otherwise – just loads of boulders). If you’re really short of time you can drive more or less to the beach but I’d definitely recommend this way instead.

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3 11 2014
Mark

Nice and not so shabby a day for it. I didn’t know about this part of Skye. I’ll look it up should I be in the area. A good one to bare in mind for an off day.

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3 11 2014
mountaincoward

It was a lovely day but I was just a bit upset as I headed back towards Portnalong and the Cuillin came into view basking in sunshine. I wish the forecast had been more accurate.

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