Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye in Scotland

Around Skye in a Kayak


Alison French
Plockton | Lochalsh

Skye Sea Kayak

Alison has been out on the water around Skye’s beautiful and often hard to reach coastline, enjoying the island from her kayak with friends and clients.

She shares her thoughts about why kayaking is such a great mode of travel, how it can both a challenge and a delight and she describes some of the unique experiences available with a paddle and a brave heart.

It’s mid-May and the weather has been pretty spectacular. Spring is such a lovely time to visit Skye and with the temperatures creeping higher and higher, a day out on the water is hard to beat. Spring is also the time we experience the ‘March Royals’, some of the biggest tides of the year. In places, the tidal range can be almost 6 metres and on the lowest ebbs we can journey by sea kayak and get a wonderful watery view of the rich marine life living in these coastal waters.

kayak Mirror Sea

A sea kayak is simply one of the finest modes of transport to explore Skye’s dramatic, remote and inaccessible coastline. Although the island is famous for its stunning scenery dominated by the Cuillin mountains, sea kayakers are drawn to its wild coastline. The island is exposed to the full force of the weather that comes in from the Atlantic Ocean and tides squeeze through narrows and around impressive headlands, giving rise to interesting and challenging conditions. It’s the ultimate sea kayaking playground.

kayaks Elgol

I’ve paddled the entire coastline of Skye over the years and it’s hard to say which is my favourite stretch. I love the wildness and feeling of being really ‘out there’ when paddling around the northern-most point of Rubha Hunish on the Trotternish peninsular. When the conditions are just right and you’ve carefully worked out the tides and currents, the uninhabited islands of Fladda-Chùain can also be reached. Here, out in the Minch between Skye and the Outer Hebrides, you really are at the mercy of wind, waves and the occasional ocean-going tanker. You need to cross a major shipping lane, which isn’t for the faint hearted! With some careful planning and the ability to paddle through unavoidable tidal races (areas of rough water and standing waves) Comet Rock can also be reached.

Iron Beacon

Mariners are warned of this isolated rock protruding out into the Minch by an ancient Victorian wrought iron beacon. By sea kayak it really is possible to discover and explore places that are well off the beaten track, which is why I love it so much!