One of the best places to ride in the UK.
Skye is one of the best places to ride in the UK, so get up to Scotland and sample our route from the July 2013 issue.
The Boreraig loop makes for a great little introduction to Skye riding — the scenery is stunning, the history is awe inspiring and the singletrack is fun, all without being too technically challenging or too tough on the legs.
Dropping down to the abandoned village of Boreraig, which disappeared after the Highland Clearances, is an experience to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, not least because the flat-out descent is pretty hairy at speed. It starts with some tight singletrack at the pass where you need to be careful not to clip a pedal and tumble into the stream to your left, before opening out and shooting you into Boreraig. We guarantee you’ll spend some time walking about the ruins and imagining yourself living here — plenty of the houses still have walls and chimneys 150 years after the crofters were forcibly evicted.
The ride and the drama continues, as you climb up onto the cliffs that look down on the village, before taking the smooth singletrack back to the beach.
Way to go
START (OS32/NG582193) Beach: From the beach turn around and head along the road you’ve driven in on. Turn R when you’re back onto the public road and ride past Loch Cill Chrioisd. Ignore the little trail up to the R — it’s very boggy.
(NG619208) Loch Cill Chriosd. Distance so far: 4.6km: Turn R after the church and climb steeply on doubletrack. Keep climbing as the track gets rougher and steeper and turns to singletrack. Reach the top under a steep escarpment and descend to the sea and the abandoned village of Boreraig.
(NG621164) Boreraig. Distance so far: 10.9km: Take some time to potter round Boreraig, which was brutally evacuated under the Highland clearances. Head W and cross the stream anywhere in the village by hopping across the stones. Work your way along the coast path as it climbs and falls. Hike-a-bike is necessary, although in dry weather plenty of it is rideable.
(NG599157) Cliff top. Distance so far: 14.6km: It’s all fast singletrack home from here, finishing on doubletrack down to the beach.
If you’re driving up from the south, your best option is to take the ferry from Mallaig on the mainland, otherwise it’s a long, circuitous route round to the Skye bridge. On the island, turn off the A87 at Harrapool, then turn off the road just before Kilbride. Just keep driving until you hit the beach, and don’t be put off by the gates you have to open.
Best time to go
This is a pretty short and gentle route by Skye’s standards, so it’s good any time of year. There’ll be more hike-a-bike in the final cliff section when it’s wet though. Take loads of warm clothes too, because it’s windy and exposed.
There’s nothing close, so stock up as you pass through Kyle of Lochalsh by the bridge.
Memory Map V5 OS Landranger (1:50,000)
OS Explorer Map (1:25,000) 412 Skye — Sleat
OS Landranger Series (1:50,000) 032 South Skye and Cuillin Hills