This walk is so worth doing on a bright sunny day, the views are magnificent from the table. However, remember – you need good walking boots, a walking pole or two depending on your steadiness on uneven ground, a clear, easy to read walkers map such as Harvey’s 1:25 Superwalker, a whistle (in case you fall and hurt yourself or the clouds/mist suddenly races in and you can no longer see), waterproofs, spare water and food and a compass. The trick with this walk is to take your time and the rewards can be great!
This is my experience with my late husband back in 2015. One of many beautiful memories of fabulous walks together.
A rare dry morning had us sticking to our plan to walk up to The Table, part of the Quiraing. Food and coffee packed (not forgetting doggie lunch as well) we set off for our adventure late morning – we were having a lazy weekend off so no early starts for us today.
Stuart had walked/scrambled up to The Table before so he knew the way. I, on the other hand had barely done any walking around that area so knew not what I was getting myself into. “You can easily do it” my husband confidently stated. “If you can get up Coire Lagan then this will be a doddle”. “Ok” says I, lets do this then.
We had walked part of the route back in the winter as a ‘post Sunday lunch stroll’ with friends. We’d hiked to the stile and back – walk in the park!! 🙂
We started on the west side of the Quiraing, where we could actually park the car and not be trampled on by eager tourists clicking away with their cameras in their unsuitable clothes and footwear. It’s an easy and enjoyable walk as far as the stile. Getting over that is a bit of a mission as it needs repairing but there’s a dog gate for our four legged companions so actually it was only me that found it a bit of a mission as my legs aren’t as long as Stuarts (its a bit of a big step up).
Follow the path, the well trodden path that is the message that needs to remembered as there are lots and lots of ‘sheep paths’, most of them leading to either dead ends, cliff edges or steep scree. Following the wrong path could be disastrous.
The views around here are undeniably stunning! Huge pinnacles of rock jut up into the sky making the terrain seem otherworldly. On the day we were there, Magpie Moths were everywhere – hundreds of them it was quite an amazing event.
At some point Stuart told me to turn right at the cairn, the path turns there. Seems like a good instruction, says my brain, believing its going to be obvious which way I will need to go) but somehow I miss the cairn (well its small and to the naked, untrained, naive eye its simply a small pile of stones) Yes I know a pile of stones is a cairn, but small was the operative word. When called to a stop I was dumbfounded, speechless – difficult to understand I know – but regrettably a fact. UP! We were going up! Up what looked to be very steep (it was) and quite slippery (it was) and definitely, not easy (it wasn’t). Deep breath!!!!! and up we went, slowly picking our way up footholds, inexorably making our way to the cliffs above.
I have to say that I do prefer scrambling up rocks. You know with rock to use as levers so you can pull yourself up even if the rocks suitable for your feet are a tad spaced out. But this was another thing entirely. Grabbing tufts of grass and heather proved to be the only way to heave myself around some bits but – I made it.
Needless to say Lila made it much faster than I did and spent a good deal of her time waiting for us to catch up. Tali was quite happy to take her time – I like to think she was concerned about me and wanted to make sure I was safe! 🙂
The path twists and turns and eventually we made it up onto The Table from the back – not obvious when you have no map. We saw walkers doing all sorts of crazy inadvisable things that I won’t describe, that could have ended up in disaster – but such is youth – so full of confidence and sadly sometimes so lacking is common sense.
The views at the top are amazing, sadly for us it had turned cloudy, so the views weren’t quite so great but never the less we were there and I was quite proud of what I had achieved.
So lots of “I made it” pics later we descended the way we had come. You know, when you look back at the path you have travelled it can be a bit mind boggling especially when you realise you have to retrace your steps. But it was well worth it and we had a great day.
P.S A word of warning though! When the clouds begin to come in – sometimes its more dramatic than others – don’t stay put or if you’re on the way up don’t continue. The Quiraing like all of the Trotternish Ridge can be a deadly place when the clouds flow over the summits of the cliffs and blot everything out. Without a good map, compass and torch you could find yourself stuck or even worse DEAD as the cliffs in places are hundreds of feet high. Be sensible, be safe!!