Skye Explorer Hiking Tour from Inverness

Three unique hiking opportunities at the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing and the Cuillin Mountains

Rated 5* on TripAdvisor TripAdvisor by more than 2200 happy customers #1 for tours from Inverness and Invergordon

Tour Highlights

  • Don’t just see Skye, really experience Skye!
  • Hike to the iconic pinnacle of the Old Man of Storr
  • Explore the unique landscapes of the Quiraing
  • Stroll through the pretty coastal town of Portree
  • Marvel at the rugged wilderness of the Cuillin Mountains
  • A truly exhilarating adventure with WOW’s expert guide
Prices£139 per person
Times7.45am - 8.45pm
Free CancellationUp to 72 hours (or 24 hours with flex ticket)
Group sizeMax 16 per group

Itinerary and Map+

Itinerary & Map


The adventure begins in Inverness

The adventure begins in Inverness
The tour starts at 7.45am on Union Street, in Inverness city centre, where you will board our well-appointed 16-seater mini-coach. (Check our FAQs tab above to find out what to wear and bring on this epic day).

We will depart from the Highlands’ capital city and will commence our journey westwards, along the shores of the famous Loch Ness. As you keep your eyes peeled for Nessie, your guide will enthrall you with the story of the Highlands’ most legendary beast.

After driving through the small village of Invermoriston, nestled on the northern banks of Loch Ness, the scenery becomes increasingly dramatic, with just the occasional ruined stone settlement punctuating the landscape. Your highly knowledgeable local guide will fill you in on the historic events which led to these Highland glens, which were once thriving places, becoming the untamed wilderness they are today.

Our journey lets you admire the Five Sisters of Kintail, one of the most famous massifs in the country, before we reach the wonderful west coast. From here we cross over the Skye Bridge to reach the fabulous Isle of Skye, and our much-anticipated first stop.

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Cuillin Mountains

Cuillin Mountains
Sligachan is our inaugural stop on the island, and your first opportunity to get out and revel in the world-class scenery you have travelled so far to experience.

In the background you will be treated to wonderful views of the Black Cuillin mountains, including the alpine-like peaks of Sgùrr nan Gillean and Bruach na Frithe. The Red Cuillins also loom large, particularly the iconic peaks of Glamaig and Marsco. The wilderness of Glen Sligachan nestles between them, flowing down to the shore at Loch Sligachan. Meanwhile, in the foreground, there is a picture postcard stone bridge which dates back to around 1810, and has adorned numerous postcards since! (When it’s cloudy it may be not possible to see the Black Cuillins, but the Red Cuillins generally stay cloud-free).

We will take a stroll to the old bridge, where the River Sligachan tumbles down towards the sea. We will then walk on to admire the impressive bronze memorial to Norman Collie and John Mackenzie, two pioneering climbers who made many first ascents of the mighty Cuillin peaks which dominate the landscape here.

There are many visitors to this roadside location, but most do not venture any further than these two noteworthy sights. On this tour, we aspire to show you the path-less-travelled, to enable you to experience Skye in all of its isolated glory. Consequently, you now have the opportunity to join your guide on a one mile round walk to really take in this wonderful location. You will be able to soak up the 360 degree panoramic views as you wander along the twisted rowan tree-adorned banks of the crystal clear streams, which cascade over volcanic rock.

Alternatively, for those who are keen to explore a little further afield, your guide will be happy to point you in the direction of some stunning crystal clear pools and waterfalls. If it’s a sunny day, you may even wish to go for a quick dip!

We will spend around one hour at Sligachan. At this point we are confident that you will leave feeling uplifted and excited about the scenery and hikes still to come!

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The lively town of Portree enjoys a superb natural setting, with its colourful harbour being surrounded by picturesque cliffs and hills.

Whilst the town is considered Skye’s capital and cultural hub, the compact nature of its centre and harbour area means that it can be easily explored on foot during our 45 minute visit.

For those who would like to take a walk, we’d recommend heading down to the harbour, where fishing boats still arrive to unload their catch of the day. The highlight here is the striking row of pastel-coloured houses which line the harbour-front and overlook the pretty bay (your guide will be happy to direct you to the best photo spot!).

Alternatively, you may wish to head uphill through the woods to The Apothecary Tower, an octagonal-shaped building which provides a great vantage point for views down over the town and its sheltered bay.

For those looking for a Skye souvenir you have your pick of craft shops, independent boutiques and galleries in Portree, all just a short walk from where you will be dropped off. 

If you pre-ordered lunch at the start of the tour then your guide will pick it up here, and will deliver it to you back on the mini-coach. If you have not taken this option then you will want to use your time in Portree to grab some lunch. There are plenty of options in the town centre; from a local deli serving seafood rolls and home-made cakes to a traditional fish and chip shop and two Skye bakeries, you will definitely find something to suit you.

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As we drive north the scenery becomes more dramatic and awe-inspiring; the result of volcanic activity millions of years ago.

 This other-worldly landscape is the main reason why most visitors are inspired to visit Skye, and we are pretty sure that it will not disappoint; simply breathtaking

Our next hike on Skye is certainly one of the absolute highlights on the island. The Quiraing is a series of landslips that have combined to form extraordinary scenery (you may recognise it from films such as Stardust, Prometheus, 47 Ronin and BFG, to name but a few!) . When mist swirls around the volcanic rock it creates an almost surreal experience and, on clear days, the views are amazing.

During our one hour stop here you are welcome to explore at your own pace, or join your guide on a short hike. This will take you up closer to the impressive mountain ridge of the Quiraing, where you can enjoy sweeping views over the Trotternish Peninsula. At this striking location you really don’t have to venture too far to find your very own slice of Skye wilderness.

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Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr
Hike to the base of this geological wonder, and prepare to be impressed..

Legend has it that the Old Man of Storr is a giant’s thumb rising out of the ground. When you see this jagged basalt rock, which is the highest point on the Trotternish Ridge, you may well be inclined to believe the legend, for what other explanation could there be for this mysterious rock?!

We will hike from the carpark up to the base of the Old Man of Storr. This hike is approximately 3 miles (5km) in total, with a fairly steep ascent of 1105ft (340m). It should take around 45 minutes to one hour to reach the top, and 30 – 40 minutes to get down. There is a good path all of the way, with stone steps at the top, and it is well-marked and easy-to-follow. From the base of the Old Man of Storr there are fantastic views of the surrounding rock pinnacles. On a clear day you will also be rewarded with the striking outlines of the Red and Black Cuillins, and views out over the Sound of Raasay to the isles of Raasay and Rona.

Please note that you will require a reasonable level of fitness and decent hiking shoes (please see our FAQs for further details)  to reach the top of this walk.

We will spend around two hours at The Old Man of Storr, which should be plenty of time for most people to complete this walk. Here at WOW Scotland, this is definitely one of our favourite things to do on Skye – it’s truly worth coming on this tour just for this hike alone!

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Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle
A comfort break with a monumental view to top off our day of splendid sights.

Eilean Donan Castle has held the title of Scotland’s most photographed castle for many years. However, after recently being named one of the world’s top 20 most Instagrammable castles to visit, its popularity will surely go up a notch further! A quick 10 minute stop here at an impressive viewpoint will ensure that you have an opportunity to snap that iconic shot. 

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The journey home

The journey home
Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey back to Inverness.

As our day draws to a close you will be able to relax on the journey home, knowing that you have truly experienced splendid Skye.

You might feel blissfully relaxed but your guide will still have plenty of stories and music up his sleeve to keep you entertained on the way back.

We will arrive back into Inverness city centre at around 9pm. At this point, we are pretty confident that you will leave the tour with memories to last a lifetime!!

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Tour FAQs

What time does the Skye Explorer Tour tour start and finish?+

This tour departs from 15 Union Street at 7.45am (0745). Please ensure that you are ready to board the bus at 7.35am (0735) as we will leave promptly at 7.45am and are unable to wait for any latecomers. The tour will return to Inverness city centre at approximately 8.45pm (2045). It is possible that we may return a bit later than this, although we always try to keep to our schedule as much as possible. We also offer a few other pick up locations. These will be available to select when booking, with a specific pick-up time and place provided in your email confirmation.

Where is the pick up point in Inverness?+

Our main departure point is at 15 Union Street, in Inverness city centre. Look out for the WOW-branded coach and you won’t miss us! When you book you will be given the option to book from a couple of other locations. Further details on these pick ups are provided in the next FAQ, and precise timing information will be provided in your booking confirmation email.

What should I wear/bring?+

You’ll be hiking on fairly rough, and sometimes muddy, paths. For that reason a sturdy pair of shoes is absolutely essential. We’d recommend a hiking trainer/sneaker or hiking boots.

You’ll also need a waterproof jacket, a warm layer (like a fleece or jumper) and waterproof over trousers are ideal if you have them (if a heavy squall comes over, you will definitely appreciate these!).

We’d recommend bringing some snacks and drinks so you’ll need a small rucksack to carry your extra layers, food and water.

You can read our blog here about what we recommend bringing/wearing for this tour.

One thing we don’t recommend wearing is jeans as these are very impractical for hiking. If they get wet they don’t dry out and they make movement very difficult indeed!

Midge repellent is not generally required, unless it is a very calm day (generally it is windy on Skye, and the midges cannot fly in these conditions!).  If it is very calm then there can be midges at Sligachan.  If you wish to protect against midges we’d recommend purchasing Smidge.

Can I join the tour anywhere else?+

Yes, if you book directly on our website we are delighted to be able to offer you the following alternative pick ups:

  • Tomnahurich Street (for Columba Hotel, Palace Hotel, Strathness House, Premier Inn Inverness Centre Huntly Street, Coo’s Guest House, Ardross Street B&Bs, Aye Stay B&B, Lairds Lodge and B&Bs on Glenurquhart Road, Ballifeary Road and Bruce Gardens) (7.50am)
  • Drumnadrochit (8.20am) 
  • Invermoriston (8.45am) 

Please just select your preferred location when booking and we will collect you there in the morning, and drop you off again in the evening. Timings above are approximate and are subject to change – more precise timings will be provided on your booking confirmation email.

What sort of vehicle do you use?+

For the Skye Explorer Tour we use our 16-seater executive mini-coach. This vehicle is well-appointed with comfortable leather seats, AC, USB charging points, panoramic windows and even a glass roof, for that extra special view.

How often are bathroom/toilet stops?+

There are five main stops where toilets/bathrooms can be accessed and a very approximate guide to the timings is shown below. However, please note that the timings could change significantly on the day, if we require to switch the itinerary due to the weather conditions.  That being said, comfort breaks are a key consideration on all tours.

  • 9.15am (Dornie)
  • 12pm – 12.45pm (Portree)
  • 3.20pm & 5pm (Old Man of Storr)
  • 6.30pm (Eilean Donan Castle)

Outside of these times it may be possible to make unscheduled bathroom stops – please just ask your driver guide to see what they can do for you, as the last thing we ever want is for our passengers is to be uncomfortable.

Where will we get lunch and dinner?+

We are delighted to be working with our friends at The Isle of Skye Baking Company in Portree to offer a delicious packed lunch option.  At the start of the tour you will be given access to a menu with QR code.  By scanning this QR code or visiting the website you can order and pay for a lunch, which your driver guide will collect in Portree, and deliver to you upon your return to the mini-coach there. 

We offer this service to enable you to save time, and focus on seeing the sights of Portree.  If you do not wish to take this option you are welcome to bring your own food with you, or pick something up during our 40 minutes in Portree, which will be at around midday.  We must stress that there is definitely not time for a sit-down lunch in Portree.

The Isle of Skye Baking Co. offers a variety of quiches (e.g. bacon & leek or panfried mushroom & roast aubergine), filled breads, scones (e.g. cheese or treacle), cakes (e.g. sticky toffee pudding cake, courgette & walnut cake) shortbread (various specialty flavours include lime & coconut and lemon & poppy) and oatcakes plus a limited selection of soft drinks.  They are all made on the premises and their exclusive WOW menu changes on a daily basis.  They also offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.  Prices vary, from around £4 for a filled bread, to £8.50 for a filled bread and sweet selection.  They also sell some lovely edible souvenirs, which you can add to your order!

We are delighted to support this wonderful local business who, like ourselves, pride themselves in providing excellent products and service to their customers.

The tour returns to Inverness city centre at around 8.15pm.  For dinner we would recommend booking a table in Inverness and we will send you a list of a few of our favourites a few days prior to the tour.

Will we be stopping for coffee/snacks along the way?+

There is only one opportunity to purchase food on this tour, and that is in Portree at around midday (see previous question). Consequently, we would strongly recommend that you bring some snacks and water/soft drinks with you to consume prior to our stop in Portree, in order to keep up your energy for the adventure (as we depart at 7.45am it might seem a long time since breakfast when you are doing your first hike at around 11am!).

How much walking is involved?+

As a rough guide, the distances and ascent of the hikes is as follows;

  • Sligachan/Cuillin Mountains – the optional walk is approximately 1.5 miles (2.4km) but you can walk as much or as little as you wish here
  • Old Man of Storr – the hike is approximately 3 miles (5km) in total, with a fairly steep ascent of 340m (1105ft)
  • Quiraing –  the optional hike is 0.5 miles (500m) with 60m (197ft) of ascent

In order to get the most out of this tour we would recommend that you have a moderate level of fitness, as we provide enough time at each of the hiking destinations for a moderately fit person to complete the walk. 

Of key importance is that you are properly equipped for the walking, with hiking shoes/boots being absolutely vital.  Please read our blog here on what we suggest to bring/wear for this tour.

What if the weather is bad?+

In Scotland we have a saying; “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes”! You can read our blog here on what we would suggest bringing/wearing for the tour.

On this tour in general we will do our best to tailor our itinerary to the weather conditions. Whilst it is not always possible to avoid the rain, we can adjust our timings to try and ensure that we visit the most exposed sights at the least rainy times.

We will not cancel this tour if the weather is forecast to be bad.

What is the difference between your standard and flex tickets?+

On all standard tickets for the Skye Explorer Hiking Tour you can cancel your tour and get a 100% refund up to 72 hours prior to the tour start time (with the exception of any seat upgrade fees, which are non refundable). For those who wish to have increased flexibility we also offer a flex ticket, which enables you to cancel your tour and get a 100% refund up to 24 hours prior to the start time (with the exception of any seat upgrade fees, which are non refundable).

How many people will be on the tour?+

We use a 16 seater mini-coach for the tour so numbers are limited to a maximum of 16. 

Can I reserve seats on the tour?+

On this Skye Explorer Tour it is not possible to reserve seats. We use a smaller vehicle than for our other tours (a 16-seater executive mini-coach) and, due to the configuration, there are more window seats and more legroom available for all guests. Consequently, we do not feel that charging for upgrades offers the same excellent value as it does for other tours, in our larger vehicles. Also, we aim to ensure that groups/couples can be seated together so, by not offering seat reservations, we have more flexibility to ensure that we can achieve this e.g. by seating solo travellers in single window seats.

Can children come on this tour?+

We would recommend this tour for children over the age of 10 only.  The main reason for this is that there are three hikes, which require a moderate level of fitness, and which need to be done in a set time period.  We don’t think that it is realistic for children under the age of 10 to manage and, crucially, enjoy these hikes fully.  That being said, we are very aware that there are plenty of active young (7 – 9 year old) kids out there who may be more than capable of completing these hikes.  If you are unsure of whether this tour will be suitable for your child/teenager, please just get in touch with us to discuss further and we will be happy to help.

Unfortunately, due to the duration of the tour, time spent hiking and time on the coach, we do not feel that this tour is appropriate for children under the age of six, so the tour is not open to this age group. This is for the comfort of other passengers and also to ensure that the driver guide can focus on doing their jobs without any distractions. UK law states that each passenger must have their own seat and use their seatbelt at all times. Consequently, it is not possible to take a child on your lap. From experience we know that, very occasionally, parents try to bring children on without purchasing a seat. However, we would like to make it clear that this is not allowed and there will be no refund if you are refused entry to the tour for taking children under 6 or those whom you haven’t booked.

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Gordon Pearson

Founder & Tour Guide

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Gordon founded WOW Scotland in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. He is passionate about showcasing his homeland, and is continually striving to create the best possible experiences for every guest.

Robert Carr

Tour Guide

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Prior to being a tour guide, Rob ran successful food and tourism businesses in Edinburgh and Perthshire. He has now been in the Highlands for 16 years, where he loves to indulge in his joint passions of golf and hiking.

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