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Why I Keep Going Back to the West Coast of Scotland

What happens when 'The misty Isle' is drenched in winter sun? We took a trip to the Isle of Skye to find out.

By: Richard Smith + Save to a List

The weather plays a big part on spending time in Scotland. Whether it's the infamous Scottish winters, howling winds and driving rain. Or the midgies in the summer and indeed more rain. If you get a period of good weather on the west coast of Scotland you drop everything and go. This trip was no exception. We packed the van and set off, the sunny Isle of Skye being our destination.

The journey to Skye is worth it for the drive alone. We drove up through the pass of Glencoe, below the mighty Ben Nevis, Glen Garry, Glen Sheil until finally the bridge was in sight. As we arrived and looked for a place to park up the day was coming to an end. The light gets hazy and the sky glows soft warm hues. It reminds me of being a kid in summer and heading into the mountains for the first time. No matter how many times I head for the mountains, it always feels like going home.

We hunkered down in the van preparing ourselves for an early morning and an attempt to get up onto the Cuillin ridge, our summit being the Munro Bruach na Frithe. That next morning we set off from Sligachen and headed up the glen towards the ridge. In the winter sun we climbed higher and higher until we reached the first view of the day. The impressive Am Bastier. Known locally as 'The Exucutioner' it is a breath taking crag with a sharp fang like rock protruding from its side.

We moved carefully across the snow for our first real view of the full ridge. The sun high in the sky and the tops in their winter coat, it was spectacular. We scrambled up onto the summit of our Munro. After getting some photos and taking in the breath taking views all around us we dropped back down arriving back at the van just as we lost the light.

The next day we took the road heading towards Elgol, the sun warming in the sky. We parked up across the loch underneath Blaven, Its crooked ridgeline outlined in the sky. We lay a blanket on the floor and cooked our tea and enjoyed a beer in the setting sun. That night we slept warm in our sleeping bags with the van doors open listening to the water from the loch and catching glimpses of the northern lights flickering above the clouds.

The next morning we packed up our kit and drove south heading home. As we twisted and turned along the single track road they were burning the heather in the fields. The smoke created a haze over the island and just as enigmatic as it was when we arrived, it stayed as we left.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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