You can’t help but be swept off your feet by the Isle of Skye’s extraordinary landscapes. What better way to soak up some of Skye’s most awe-inspiring scenery than by boat? Misty Isle Boat Trips is a family run business offering boat trips from the beautiful village of Elgol to Loch Coruisk (where you can bask in what has been described as ‘the best viewpoint in Scotland‘). Seumas Mackinnon, the experienced skipper of the Misty Isle, has been running boat tours from Elgol for 45 years – the perfect person to ask about visiting this spectacular corner of the island.
What makes Loch Coruisk such a special place to visit?
The loch is just a very special place. I think the feeling of peace and tranquility that comes over you as you leave the boat surrounded by the majestic Cuillins is something that is very hard to describe and is best experienced first hand. The best description of the loch in my opinion was written by the early travel writer John MacCulloch:
“This singular basin affords an anchorage, the most extraordinary perhaps in the whole world… Then on to Loch Coruisk… It was a lovely day when I first found this place; which, excepting the shepherds of Strathaird, mortal foot had scarce ever trod. I had no reason to be disappointed with Loch Scavaig… but a valley burst on my view which, in a moment, obliterated Loch Scavaig, together with all the valleys that had ever left their tracks on my brain.”
You offer a range of sailings, what can people expect from your 3 hour trip?
The three hour standard trip, which is by far the most popular, takes you along the coast towards the Black Cuillins with the small isles of Rum Eigg and Canna on your left. You will see the ‘Bad Step’, which the more adventurous have to tackle (should they decide to walk back to Elgol), before stopping a while in the company of the seals and in the right season their pups before reaching the landing stage for the loch. The walk to the loch is fairly easy and most folk can manage it but the boat Misty Isle and her crew stay alongside at the steps in case anyone wishes to head back early or indeed stay aboard. The skipper and crew will make hot or cold drinks and serve up some biscuits for the return journey. The whole experience lasts around three hours and the cost is only £20pp for an adult. Concessions apply and family tickets are available.
Are there any moments from past boat trips that really stand out in your mind?
Probably the trip that stands out most was the first wedding at the loch. The bride and bridesmaids wore lovely white dresses and gold wellies. The weather on the previous days was really wet and miserable but on that day the sun shone brightly. After the couple were married at the loch we left loch na Cuilce and were joined by two huge pods of common dolphins who escorted the boat back to Elgol like a very playful guard of honour. We have had so many wonderful experiences that it would take too long to write them all down. Perhaps when we retire we will write a book about it all.
Do you have a favourite season to take visitors to Loch Coruisk?
Our main season runs from April to October but last year we started running a service throughout the winter. The mountains look really fantastic covered in snow and more and more people are coming to Skye for winter breaks.
Your boat trips start from Elgol – do you have any tips for visitors to the village?
The village has a lot to offer. We have Charlie’s cave where one of my Mackinnon ancestors was involved in helping Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape back to France and on to Italy. More impressive is the Spar Cave which has been visited since Victorian times. Here you can see stalagmites and stalactites but take a torch as the cave is pitch dark and there is a lake in the middle of it. There are three places to eat: Coruisk House which serves light lunches and dinner; Cuillin View Coffee Shop which serves speciality teas and coffees, scones and light snacks; and Elgol Shop where you will find home made soup, sandwiches, home baking and lots more.
There is also a small play park and a very popular, very small sandy beach with what must be the best view from any beach anywhere in the world.