Southside Cycling on Skye
Easter Holidays can mean only one thing for the Keegan’s – Visiting the Isle of Skye and staying at Allt a Choire in Broadford. This time around we decided to bring our k9 companion – Bo Kenmuir, who was granted holiday approval from his owners Neil & Grace. Additionally, I brought my bike to tour some of the scenic Isle of Skye routes. Having taken part in the 95 mile Isle of Skye cycle sportive last May in the North of the island, I was keen to explore the southern tip over the Easter holidays.
Where better to start than trekking from my base in Old Corry, Broadford. Under the guidance of Andy Kay, I was advised to head south to Armadale on the Sleat peninsula with a few twists and turns through the forests. A route estimate of roughly 45 miles needs a well maintained, durable bike as some of the extreme hill climbs are off the scale with some of the toughest between 14% – 20% (I seen a 25% climb at Elgol, but not tackled this one yet). I ride a 7 year old Specialized Hardtail Rockhopper with Schwalbe hybrid tyres. The bike had a recent winter service at Sprockets in Kilmarnock, replacing all cables, chainrings and chain. For this trip the forks were 90% locked out.
The cycle from Allt a Choire down to Broadford through Harrapool onto the A851 to Armadale is mainly flat with a moderate climb out from Broadford. En route you will pass the magnificent Kinloch Lodge Hotel & Restaurant which runs cookery classes and also has a Michelin Star accolade. A few miles after Kinloch Lodge you will see signage for Ord which is a right turn off the A851 and 5 miles through the forest. When you arrive at Ord you can look out over Loch Eishort to the Strathaird peninsula and also slightly south you can view the snow covered Cuillins on Rum. Heading south down the coast you will experience the 20% graded climb out of Ord, so a well maintained bike that can access all your gearing without fear of slippage (especially the low ones!) is essential. The next village you will arrive at will be Tokavaig, with more descents and steep climbs out until you arrive at Tarskavaig where you experience a clearer view of Rum. Journey onto Achnacloich and you are climbing from sea level to almost 1000 feet past Loch Dhghaill for 3 miles east, back toward the A851 just before Kilbeg. Once you join the main road you are turning left, heading North back toward Broadford and then to Allt A Choire. Completed in under 4 hours with 3500 feet in climbs, this is a tasty road & trail run that is best suited to hard tails.
If you like remote cycling with some of the most spectacular landscape views in the world, then get yourself up to Skye for some touring.