Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye in Scotland


Achnacloich, Tarskavaig, Tokavaig & Ord

Glancing at a map of Sleat it is plain that the main road runs down the East coast of the peninsula but a brave loop of b-road makes the journey over the hills, bringing infrastructure to the West coast. The villages of Achnacloich (Gaelic for field of stones and often called ‘Stonefeild’), Tarskavaig (Gaelic for ‘The bay of Cod fish’ after bygone days of plenty) Tokavaig (another Gaelic bay, either of the swell or of the whale) and Ord (Gaelic meaning ‘rounded hill’) were the lucky ones. The very fertile Dalviel (Gaelic ‘Dail a’ Bhile’ meaning ‘dale of the copse’) had no road and was abandoned when the families left so the children could go to school.

Tarskavaig is the largest of these villages and it has the added attraction of housing a community run café in the hall. The cakes are un-missable, as is the music when it’s on. All views to the west will show lovely sunsets but in Ord and Tarskavaig the experience is experience magnificent, for here the sun slides down in flaming glory behind the dark silhouette of the Cuillins. The views from Tokavaig can trump even that, however, offering the ruined 14th century Dunscaith castle in the foreground. Legend has it that this castle was the school for heroes where Cuchulainn himself was taught to fight by the witch Scathach. While admiring the scenery it is wise to pull into a passing place as driving the narrow windy road may command all of your attention.

Ord has a lot of holiday accommodation for such a small place. It is peaceful and quiet with a coral beach and even a tiny tidal island. Wild swimming is popular here on hot days when the tide has been out and the sand has warmed up. The road climbs out of Ord through delightful woodland and returns to the main road on the East coast.