The Isle of Skye in Scotland is with its dramatic landscapes surrounded by water and easy approachability from the mainland, one of the most popular areas in the UK. To avoid the crowds at the iconic sites and to enjoy Skye’s extraordinary landscape, you can choose a lesser known, beautiful hike to the Macleod’s Maidens.
The Macleod’s Maidens hike is relatively unknown, so it is a great off-grid spot. This hike provides beautiful panoramic views out to the sea-stacks, cliffs and back towards the Cuillin Hills.
How to get there
From the B884 Glendale road turn onto the small road to Orbost at the first corner. Follow this road until you reach the small parking just before the Orbost House.
Coordinates to the car park: 57°23’45.29″N and 6°34’1.22″W. Google maps: 57.395914, -6.567006.
Distance: 17 km return walk to the sea-stacks, 27 km return walk to the Natural Arch with waterfall, 6-8 hours
From the car park walk along the track that leads to the shores of a bay, Loch Bharcasaig. Continue on this track past two houses and into the forest.
After a couple of kilometres, the track crosses a river and passes through a gate. Follow along until you reach a waymarker sign that indicates the path off to the right. The path first leads uphill, and then its descent and passes through another gate. This path can be boggy and muddy in places. Continue along the path and through a gate. The path soon becomes more indistinct, as it goes along low hills before you reach the coast. From the upper level of cliffs, you can see the sea-stacks known as Macleod’s Maidens. The largest stack is the Mother, and the two smaller stacks are the Daughters.
From here you can continue along the spectacular coast, to get a perspective view of the sea-stacks with the Cuillin Hills in the distance. For more views continue until you reach the Natural Arch with a waterfall over the cliff.
Return to the car park by retracing your steps to Orbost.
Macleod’s Maidens is an easy hike where you have a fantastic view of the ocean and cliffs. You also get a view over to the Outer Hebrides, as well as to the Cuillin Hills with its characteristic sharp peaks. To truly enjoy a view, it is best to hike on clear weather, otherwise the visibility is poor.