The first part of the hike is quite simple. The trail follows the bottom of the cliffs and leads through grassy slopes. A few water streams and small waterfalls make the hike more fun, because you have to cross them. Like the Fairy Pools, where we hiked two days earlier, it has rained so much that the water flows down with a lot of power, but it’s very doable for an experienced hiker or a fit person. We continue on a light climbing and descending trail through a beautiful green area. Soon we reach the peculiar rock formations, the Pinnacles, which we saw from afar, and we imagine ourselves in a enchanting world. The area is greener than green and is interrupted by dark cliffs and meter-high rocks on the left and wide views over the coast on the right. Due to the gloomy weather, the landscape looks even more dramatic than it already is. After this point follows a steep short climb over loose stones, after which the trail follows the bottom of the cliffs for some time. The trail continues its way through several small valleys, filled with green fields, grassy slopes and lots of stones and rocks. This area looks like it’s coming straight out of a fairytale. And the weather can’t really decide between rain, clouds or fog. I’ve never seen such changeable weather before. Almost an hour after starting the hike, the trail becomes very muddy. Due to the heavy rainfall over the past days, the trails have become mud trails and the grass is very wet or even flooded. But the best about hiking in changeable weather is that we don’t encounter any other hikers. This beautiful rugged nature is only for us.
Then follows a short climb over a rocky trail and a fence that can be crossed using a stile. From here we follow the edge of the cliffs, we are now walking on top of them. The view is fantastic. A chain of rocky cliffs and the coast and the village of Staffa in the distance. The autumn colors are magnificent. Green, brown and red tones fill the landscape. But at this point, the hike gets more challenging. As we follow the edge of the cliffs, I make a few more pictures, but suddenly a huge fog bank comes our way. We can see the impressive, large fog bank rolling down the neighboring mountain and within a few seconds we are enclosed by a thick layer of fog. No more sight and to make it even more challenging the wind starts to blow very hard. This isn’t comforting at all. Fortunately, we have a short description of the hike on my phone.
We keep on following the edge of the cliffs, where the trail becomes increasingly challenging, through wet grassy slopes, mud trails and some kind of mud and grass staircase structure. Higher and higher to the top of the mountain, at 543 meters altitude. Once the peak is reached, we still don’t see anything. Too bad, because the view of the Table, a plateau surrounded by cliffs and rock formations, should be breathtaking. We follow the cliffs and make our way down. Muddy and flooded meadows keep us company. At some point, we don’t know anymore where to go despite having a trail description. Our orientation ability is gone in this dense fog. As we descend, we suddenly see a sheep on top of a rocky wall. Apparently they do not suffer so much from orientation problems or fear. It seems like there is a trail between these rocks. We should go this way, says my friend, but I answer that we will die if we follow his idea. It seems more like an opening between rocks, leading to a deep ravine between the imposing rock formations and cliffs where we walked earlier. No, we follow the flooded muddy fields, as described, all the way down until we reach a cattle fence. I must honestly say that I’m relieved, because this means we’re not lost. The route is actually quite simple, but because we didn’t see anything, we sometimes started to doubt if we were still on the trail.
Soon we leave the dark world in which we found ourselves and later we see the parking lot. But we are not there yet, because we have to descend further and the trail is everything but inviting. So we are very satisfied when we eventually reach the car after hiking through wet, muddy, sometimes steep fields for hours (so it felt). What would I have done without my waterproof Lowas? They also enjoy a well deserved view of one of the most breathtaking Scottish landscapes. And meanwhile we are being treated to a few short but powerful rays of sunshine.
Hiking tips: The first part of the trail is drier than the second part, which gets easier muddy or flooded by rainfall. If weather conditions have not been or are not favorable, then walk halfway the trail and return via the same trail instead of finishing the circle. The second part of the hike is situated at much higher altitude, and you can expect some surprises, as we did. Moreover, it can be dangerous because the trail follows the edge of the high cliffs. Do wear waterproof hiking shoes and a raincoat because Scottish weather is unpredictable.
Difficulty: Medium, but this partly depends on the weather and the condition of the trail.
Duration: About 2 hours, without stops.
Length: 6.8 km.
Starting point: Opposite the parking lot on the road from Staffa to Uig or vice versa. You can’t miss it because everyone is taking photos here.
Signposting: Although some parts of the hike speak for themselves, there is no signposting. We used the handy description of isleofskye.com. Actually, this means that you walk anti-clockwise and always stay on the left side.