An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

57.335693, -6.464605
Distance: 6.9 km
Difficulty: Easy
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 9 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: Near Isle of Skye
  • Size: 18 hectares
  • Terrain: Access to Ullinish Point can be boggy; most of the island route is on grassy cliffs
  • Access: Tidal beach
  • Height gain: 224 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer 410
  • Starting point: Car park along the lane leading south from the Ullinish loop road. Lat/Long 57.348267, -6.452557. GR NG 32252 37411
  • Accommodation/food:

    There are no facilities on the island and the Ulinish Hotel bar is not currently open to non-residents. The closest shop and café is the Bog Myrtle at Struan with further shops and restaurants in Dunvegan.

  • Island Summary:

    The island of Oronsay’s name is derived from the Scottish gaelic word ‘orasaigh’ which means island of low tide. There are several Oronsays in Scotland but this one is spectacularly located in Loch Bracadale on the west coast of the Isle of Skye. An uninhabited wedge-shaped island its small size belies an adventure-packed walk and the impressive wildlife that can be encountered. A small salmon farm in the loch tempts otters and dolphins for a tasty morsel and the golden eagles from Talisker Bay and Glenbrittle are often seen soaring overhead.

  • Look out for:
    • Explore the cave and tunnel on the south shore
    • Wild camping on the flat grassy area on the east side of the island
    • Spectacular views of the Outer Hebrides, north Skye and Cuillins
    • Chance to see golden eagles, otters, dolphins, gannets and more
  • Route description:

    The walk follows a clearly marked path to Ullinish Point and onto a pebbly causeway. Once on the island the easy free-range route uses the grassy cliff edges and provides plenty of opportunities to explore the impressive sea caves and gullies or to rummage around in the underwater world of several large rock-pools. For the energetic, the short sharp climb to the western tip is rewarded with a stunning panorama of the precipitous Talisker headland, the peaks of the Black Cuillin and the Old Man of Stor towards the north end of Skye.

  • Getting there:

    By car leave the Sligachan to Dunvegan road (A863) following signs to Ullinish. At the bottom of this loop road there is a lane leading towards the island with the footpath marker clearly visible. The car park is at the end of the lane. Bus 6100 from Portree to Dunvegan calls at the Ullinish House Hotel.

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