- Kinloch Forest Latitude: 57.177953 Longitude: -5.802133
This is in Kinloch forest, following Forestry Commission waymarked trails out to Leitir Fura, an abandoned farming township on the coast. The trail starts from Kinloch forest car park, just north of Isleornsay (Eilean Iarmain)
There are information boards about the human and natural history of the area at various stages along the trail, but it is really the scenery that is the star here. Follow the signs out of the car park and onto the forest road, which undulates gently up and down along the side of the loch.
After a couple of kilometres you’ll see a large sign pointing left off the main forest track for the Drovers Road and an information sign just past it. It is the line of this old droving path that you’ll be following to Leitir Fura, and the path starts to steadily climb, contouring around the base of Beinn Bhreac above.
After another kilometre of gentle climbing, passing several handsomely placed benches, there is a signpost indicating a shortcut which takes you back down to the forest road to give a loop of around 5km.
The path starts to descend with some sharp corners and, bursting with wintry zeal, I took these at full tilt to arrive suddenly at the ruins of Leitir Fura. Unlike many townships on Skye, this settlement wasn’t forcibly cleared, but became abandoned as the inhabitants moved away for easier lives away from the harsh subsistence living endured in this rocky, exposed spot. This fact doesn’t make the ruined remains any less interesting.
The drovers’ path that Leitir Fura sits on continues around the coast to Kylerhea, much rougher and unmarked, but it looked like it would be worth further exploration.
Continue down the path and turn right to re-join the main forest road. Below you on the shoreline are the remains of several slips from which the inhabitants launched boats to fish and, so tales tell, to intercept boats in the sound carrying rum and whisky.
The track contours round the hill, back towards the car park, and towards the sheltered bay of Isle Ornsay. The grounds and buildings of Kinloch Lodge are mainly hidden below but you can catch glimpses between the trees of whitewashed houses and the manicured gardens of the hotel below.
Back at the car park.
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