Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye in Scotland

Rubh an Dunain

Rubh-an-Dunain Walk

A long walk from Glen Brittle along a coastal path to the headland where you can explore the ruins of an Iron Age Fort, Viking Canal and a Cairn.
Take a packed lunch as this walk will take most of the day. The route follows a solid gravel track, but does involve some river crossings which can be tricky if the rivers levels are high.

Rubh an Dunain Fort Rubh an Dunain Canal Viiking Canal Rubh an Dunain Walk Coastline Rubh an Dunain Ruins Rubh an Dunain Loch Loch na h-Airde Rubh an Dunain Dun

The Glenbrittle carpark is 24miles from Portree and takes around 45min to drive.
There is parking for about 20 cars at the end of the Glen Brittle road, but if you arrive late in the day you may struggle to get parked. The carpark is also used by visitors to the beach and walkers venturing up in to the Cuillin on famous routes such as Corrie Lagan.

The Iron Age Fort is 6.4km from the carpark and takes around 1hr 35min at an average pace without stopping. The return follows the same route so the complete walk measures 12.8km taking 3hrs 10min. If you allow time to explore,  then allow 4hrs in total. The walk is graded as Difficult due to river crossings and the boggy moorland section.

Stage 1

From the carpark walk along the driveway for the Glenbrittle Campsite. At the foot of the hill ahead you will see the campsite toilet/shower block. As you near the building you will notice a narrow footpath that takes you around the left-hand side of the building. Head uphill to a gate, through it and up the stony path. At the top is a wooden post where you turn right. You are now on an old gravel road that heads southwest to the headland.

Stage 2

The gravel track follows the coastline and offers great view out across the Minch to the Outer Isles of South Uist and Barra.
There are some small river crossings along the route and most have steppingstones. At the largest river crossing at 1.8km, leave the track and follow the river downstream for 80m to find a bridge which is a metal walkway from a fish farm. Cross the bridge and then re-join the track.
At 4km the track turns inland, you will then see a stone wall ahead.

Stage 3

At 4.3km the track ends and become a grassy/muddy trail which you follow through a gap in the stone wall.
From here on the track become a little vague and very muddy in places. Follow the trail, keep the wall on your left for around 400m and then turn back southwest and up the small hill.
At the top of the hill the route flattens out and becomes very wet as you cross a moorland section. You will need to pick your route carefully to keep your feet dry. Navigate to the highest ground ahead where the path become drier and where you have the first glimpse of the loch. Follow the grassy path downhill until you reach the ruined houses at 5.3km.
These ruins are the abandoned croft houses of the MacAskill clan.

Stage 4

Pass the ruined houses and follow the grassy path downhill. At times the path is a bit vague, but the general direction to the loch is clear.
You reach the shore of the loch at 6.1km. As you face the loch, turn left to follow the shore for about 200m where you will find the Viking Canal. Above, on a small hilltop you will see the remains of the Iron Age Dun (fort).


Between the Fort and the Canal there is much to explore. There is little published detail and it is unclear if the Fort and the Canal were both active at the same time.
Much of the Fort has fallen into the sea, leaving just a wall on one side. The Viking canal is a still there and it is understood that Viking longships were pulled though the canal and moored in the calm waters of the loch. Boat timbers found in the reeds at the edge of the loch can now been seen in Inverness Museum and have been dated to 1100 AD.
At the other side of the loch from the Fort there is a Cairn. There is little known about this Cairn or what it's purpose was. It is speculated that it may been a burial chamber.
Further along the shore from the Cairn this is a very large geological dyke that runs up the hill for around 400m.

Stage 5

The return walk.
From the loch side go back for the ruined houses, the stone wall and then follow the same path back to the Glenbrittle carpark.
It is possible do a loop of the headland, but the alternate route back can be very boggy and tricky to navigate.

Walk Summary

Length Long Walk
Difficulty Difficult Walk
Total Distance 12.8km
Average Time 3hrs 10min

Location Map

Rubh an Dunain Location

Route Map

Walk Slideshow

Rubh An Dunain | Walk Slideshow