Scotland has no shortage of long distance walks, but then it also has no shortage of people wanting to walk them. Some, like the West Highland Way, are trails that could be followed by anyone capable of repeatedly placing one foot in front of the other and demand nothing in terms of navigational skills: only simple endurance, a good waterproof and some midge repellent. Official long distance footpaths are justifiably popular and open up parts of the country to many who might otherwise never see them. But there are also many people who are looking for the "Path Less Trodden": routes that are more challenging; routes that are not waymarked; routes that might involve crossing remote and trackless country; and above all, routes that are different and open up new areas to the people wanting to explore them.
This is where "The Skye Trail" by Helen and Paul Webster comes in. As the authors say in their introduction, the idea of a walking trail across Skye was first aired in 1999, and has been looked at a number of times since. But we'd bet that the version of the trail set out in this beautifully presented, nicely illustrated and comprehensively researched little book is the one that is regarded as the definitive walk across Skye from now on. The first 40% of the book tells you all you really need to know about the history, natural history and culture of Skye. It also sets the trail in context, with information about planning, packing, navigation, access, accommodation and safety.
Then we are into the walk itself, with 7 stages totalling 80 miles from the northernmost tip of the island at Rubha Hunish to Broadford. En route it takes in magnificent coastal and mountain scenery, including the Trotternish Ridge and the supremely impressive Cuillin, complete with an optional section over the top of Bla Bheinn (Blaven) for the more adventurous. You might ask why a Skye Trail doesn't go from end to end, but the authors note that earlier attempts to include the southern part of the island resulted in too much road walking and bog hopping. This Skye Trail may not show you all of Skye, but it will certainly show you the very best of Skye!