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Bicycle Ride recommended route

Uig to Portree

Bicycle Ride · Scotland
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Map / Uig to Portree
m 200 150 100 50 -50 50 40 30 20 10 km
A beautiful cycle north from Uig around the most northernly tip of the Trotternish Peninsula with views of the Herbrides until you turn south to pedal towards Portree, passing the iconic Old Man of Storr.  
moderate
Distance 54.6 km
5:00 h
617 m
606 m
Starting at the sheltered coastal village of Uig, depending on your accommodation, you will start the day with a climb out of the bay - short but punchy - as you make your way up the switchback road with rewarding views overlooking the bay from the top. From Uig follow the road around the nortern tip of the Trotternish Peninsula - a remote and wild landscape with views to the Outer Hebrides on your left and steep cliffs to your right. As you turn south the splendor of the Trotternish Ridge is revealed, gaze up at the unusual rock formations of the Quiraing and pedal past the iconic Old Man of Storr pinnacle before rolling into Portree.

Author’s recommendation

If you have the legs for it, it's possble to take a detour of 8 km, with an additional 200m of ascent, to the Quiraing (25 km into the route) - although a tough climb to the summit car park on a clear day you will be rewarded with great views of the majestic rock formations and across the sea to the mainland. 
Profile picture of Grace Brammer
Author
Grace Brammer
Update: September 14, 2020
Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
194 m
Lowest point
5 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

Beware of traffic particular when entering and leaving towns where traffic flow tends to be the highest. Remember to stay on the left hand side of the road. Be mindful of other road users. Obey local road signs and look out for any change in road conditions.

If you detour to the Quiraing take great care on the descent to control your speed, especially in wet conditions. 

Before starting your ride it's always worth inspecting your bike for damage. Check for damage to the frame, components and wheels. Ensure that there are no loose cables, tyres are properly inflated and the brakes are working. Bear in mind the brakes may work the opposite way to which you are used to.

If you are hiring a bike it is worthwhile taking a quick test ride when you collect your bike to familiarise yourself with the gears, brakes and to check your bike is setup correctly for you.

Always wear a helmet when cycling and if you have any concerns over the condition of your rental bike please call the office or your bike hire shop using the number provided in your information pack.

 

Tips and hints

Points of Interest

Skye Museum of Island Life & Flora MacDonald Monument
Located just off the road on the Trotternish peninsula, between Uig and Staffin, these traditional crofter's cottages give you the chance to step back in time and experience life on Skye 100 years ago. A little further up the road in the cemetery is the grave and monument dedicated to Flora MacDonald who helped smuggle 'Bonnie' Prince Charlie to safety.
http://www.skyemuseum.co.uk/

The Quiraing
The Quiraing is the name given to the rock formations which are the result of a 19 mile-long landslide, thought to be the UK's longest. The landslide was caused by the weight of dense basalt layers on top of softer sedimentary layers causing them to collapse. Located towards the northern end of the Trotternish peninsula and has created a landscape dominated by stunning ridges, cliffs and rocky pinnacles.

Kilt Rock
At 30 km into the route you'll pass a picturesque observation point with views onto Kilt Rock. A waterfall flows over the sea cliffs here directly into the sea. The columns of basalt that make up the cliff give it a pleated appearance, hence the name, Kilt Rock.   
The Old Man of Storr
At approximatey 45 km into your ride you'll pass the iconic Old Man of Storr - a jagged rock pinnacle towards the southern end of the Trotternish Ridge overlooking the Sound of Raasay. Take care on the road around here as the car park can be busy during the summer months with tourists parking to walk up to the base.
 

Food & Drink

You can pick up a picnic for today's ride in Uig before leaving, although there are only a couple of little shops that have limited opening times and are closed on Sundays. You may prefer to ask your accommodation for a packed lunch when you check in. Alternatively, there are a couple of cafés along the route before and around Staffin. After Staffin options to stop for food or drink along the route are limited until reaching Portree so make sure to bring plenty of food and water for the day's ride. 

The Flodigarry Hotel serve soup from their Skye Soul Soup & Broth Bar, the Kilmartin River Cafe serves tea, coffee & cake and lunches, Staffin Stores (closed Sunday) is a small grocers where you can pick up picnic items, and there's also the Skye Blue Gallery & Cafe just before you reach Kilt Rock, along with a few others. Opening times are often limited and most small establishments close on a Sunday so make sure to check beforehand. Upon your arrival in Portree you will find numerous cafés, bars and restaurants to suit your requirements.

 

 

 

Start

Calmac ferry terminal, Uig (5 m)
Coordinates:
OS Grid
NG 38526 63652
DD
57.586935, -6.376666
DMS
57°35'13.0"N 6°22'36.0"W
UTM
29V 656821 6385755
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Destination

Somerled Square, Portree

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km - Your start point this morning will be determined by the location of your accommodation - if your accommodation is located over the bay don't cycle down into it, as you'll only have to ascend out of it again.  If your accommodation is down in the village centre begin from the Calmac ferry terminal with the terminal building and petrol station on your left to continue STRAIGHT ON up the A87 away from the pier and harbour.

1.20 km - At the junction beside the police station TURN LEFT to continue ascending on the A855 signposted for Kilmuir and Staffin. Take care of traffic on the A87, as this is the main road around the top of the island although it should be quiet. 

3.05 km - BEAR LEFT on the road ignoring the right-hand split signed for Staffin via Quiraing. Continue STRAIGHT ON the A855 road to follow it around the Trotternish Peninsula to pass Staffin.

25.05 km - Continue STRAIGHT ON the road towards Staffin. Here you have the option to TURN RIGHT to ascend a further 200m to the Quiraing car park (a linear out and back 8 km detour).

If you opt to take the detour take care of the tourist traffic at the car park and make sure to control the fast descent, especially on wet road conditions. 

27.15 km - As you pass through Staffin (shops and café on your right), continue STRAIGHT ON the A855 heading south towards Portree for approx. 35 km.

51.85 km - Where the road splits BEAR RIGHT to cross the small bridge and continue STRAIGHT ON the A855. Begin your desent into bustling Portree - take care here as the traffic level increases on your way into the town.

54.30 km - As the road curves right (with the steps down to the harbour on your left and the Visiotr Centre & car park ahead BEAR RIGHT where the road forks to stay on the main road.

54.50 km - Outside the yellow Indepedent Hostel TURN RIGHT off the main road to arrive in Somerled Square in the centre of Portree. This is  and the finish point of today's ride - pedal into the square, taking care of buses - and pop into a cafe to enjoyna well-earned coffee and perhaps a slice of homebaking.

 

 

Note


all notes on protected areas

Coordinates

OS Grid
NG 38526 63652
DD
57.586935, -6.376666
DMS
57°35'13.0"N 6°22'36.0"W
UTM
29V 656821 6385755
w3w 
///winners.items.spouting
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

Always be prepared to cycle through a change of weather conditions and check the local weather forecast before leaving. Remember to bring a waterproof jacket and a warm layer particularly as conditions in Scotland are never guaranteed! Gloves (fingerless mitts in summer) are popular to provide some extra warmth and handlebar padding when riding, and don't forget a battery pack to provide an emergency charge to any navigation equipment you may be using.

Basic Equipment for Bike Riding

  • Cycling helmet
  • Cycling gloves
  • Sturdy, comfortable and preferably waterproof footwear
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket)
  • Sunglasses
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass

Technical Equipment for Bike Riding

  • Air pump or CO2 pump including cartridges
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Replacement inner tube
  • Tire levers
  • Chain tool
  • Hex keys
  • Phone / device holder as required  
  • Bike lock as required
  • Where applicable, the bike must meet requirements for road use by having a bell, front and rear lamps and spoke reflectors
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

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Photos from others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
54.6 km
Duration
5:00 h
Ascent
617 m
Descent
606 m
Scenic

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