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Directions for the Glendale Walk

Updated Monday, 16th November 2009

Download the directions and map for the Glendale walk.

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Meanish Pier Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

These directions will guide you along the route of the Glendale audio walk. Why not print out this page and take it with you?

Although the podcast has a running time of 40 minutes, the walk itself is 5-6 miles long and is therefore likely to take several hours to complete, longer if you wish to explore the sites in further detail.

The route mainly follows single track roads, although there are hills, so the incline and distance may render the walk unsuitable for wheelchair users. Given the unpredictable nature of Skye's weather, waterproofs and good footwear is strongly advised, especially if you're planning to return along the shore of Loch Pooltiel.


The walk starts at Meanish pier – a reminder that, as well as the land, the sea was important for the crofters who lived here. Look out for the single storey building on the pier – this was a herring salting station and wool store.

Point 1: the pier at Meanish

Herring Salting Station at Meanish Pier Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

Herring Salting Station at Meanish Pier

Meanish Pier Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

Meanish Pier

From the pier, turn right and follow the road, which will then curve left as you walk uphill. You’ll find yourself walking through the township of Lower Milovaig.

Point 2: Lower Milovaig

Lower Milovaig Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

Lower Milovaig

Lower Milovaig Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

Lower Milovaig, alternative view

The township of Milovaig was home to some of the people most involved in the crofters’ protests. From here, continue along the road through Upper Milovaig. On your right as you go is a stretch of moorland; hill-grazing land which was to play a big role in the crofters' protests. When you reach the junction, turn right, and walk a little way along the road that heads west until you come to a layby, next to an electricity substation.

Point 3: Waterstein Farm boundary

Waterstein Farm boundary Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

Waterstein Farm boundary

If you look to the slopes on the right of the road, you can see the contours of a lazy bed field system, and above that, a wall. This was Waterstein Farm, which had once been grazing land for the nearby townships – land which the crofters now demanded back, breaking down the wall.

From Waterstein, retrace your steps a little way to the road junction – but when you get there, rather than going back into Milovaig, continue down to join the main road. Turn right, and after about 100 yards, pause briefly on the corner, and look out for a little house on your left with a new roof, sitting in the middle of a small plot of land.

Point 4: Cottar House

Cottar House Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

Cottar House

This was the home of the last cottar in Glendale. From here, head down the road towards the water, heading for the lodge at Hamara. Look out for Borrodale schoolhouse on your left as you descend. It’s currently closed – Glendale today doesn't have enough children – but it was important in the late 19th Century. The generation of crofters who were protesting were among the first to benefit from universal schooling, and the rise of literacy, combined with a very active Scottish press was key to drawing attention to the crofters' struggle.

Point 5: Hamara Lodge

Nestling between trees, at the end of a long drive, is Hamara Lodge. Today it’s used for holiday lets, but in January 1883, when Glendale was seen as descending into anarchy, and more than current policing on Skye could cope with, an attempt was made to station police officers here, and return law to the island.

Point 6: Glendale Free Church

Glendale Free Church Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC

Glendale Free Church

This is the most westerly church on Skye, and site of some significant moments. It was here that the Glendale martyrs – five protesting crofters whose trial provoked outrage, were arrested, and the Glendale hearing of the Napier Commission, the inquiry into crofting life, took place here. From here, head back towards Hamara – but when the road forks, take the road that leads down toward the lochside and the ruined watermill.

Point 7: Glendale Watermill

The walk finishes at this dilapidated, but picturesque watermill, at a point where a burn comes tumbling into the loch. If you left a car at Meanish, there are two ways to return: if the tide is low, you can walk along the beach to the pier. Alternatively, head back up past the school, and take the lower road back to your starting point.

Interactive map

Here's a Google Map with the points marked. Click on the points for more information.

History of Scotland: Walk 9 - Glendale, Skye

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