Willie’s sits at the northernmost tip of the Trotternish peninsula which extends north from Portree. The town of Staffin (7 miles) is the main settlement on the east side of the peninsula, overlooking Staffin Island and the beautiful swathes of volcanic sand, speckled with sea urchin and other shells, in Staffin Bay. Staffin is snuggled into the lee of the fascinating Trotternish ridge and offers a number of shops and other services. The Columba 1400 centre, strikingly designed, is a community centre offering food, internet access and a range of other facilities.
Just south is the Old Man of Storr, an iconic landmark and viewpoint and a fantastic destination for a stiff walk up through the forest and then on up to this awe-inspiring feature.
Coming back towards Willie Mcleod’s House, you will find the Flodigarry Country House Hotel, beautifully positioned opposite the Torridon hills on the Mainland and offering good food, drink and accommodation. Flora Macdonald’s Cottage, where she lived with her family for some years, is in the grounds.
Rising abruptly West is the rugged, dramatic, unique and downright weird Quirang, The Quiraing – the largest mass movement landslide in Britain –is on the eastern face of Meall na Suiranach, the northernmost summit of the Trotternish Ridge, the whole of which was formed by a great series of landslips. We walk up into the Quiraing from Willie’s, or drive a short way up to the Uig road to get a headstart for wandering and scrambling in this mystical landscape. The Needle is a jagged 120-foot (37 m) high landmark pinnacle. Northwest is The Table, a flat grassy area slipped down from the summit plateau, with vistas of the Torridon Hills and the mountains of Wester Ross. Southwest is the Prison, a pyramid of rock visited by an easy scramble. The Prison resembles a medieval keep from a certain angle. Watch out for eagles!
West from Willie’s a short way is Duntulm Castle. The castle – supposedly haunted by at least two tragic ghosts – was probably founded in the Iron Age, and it’s ruins now perch romantically above the Minch, with a magnificent view over to Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The sunsets over the Outer Isles must be experienced to be believed.
A little further down the peninsula is the Skye Museum of Island Life, a fascinating attraction, near to Kilmuir graveyard, where Flora Macdonald is buried, shrouded in a sheet in which Bonnie Prince Charlie had slept.
Before the town of Uig, with it’s shops and ferries to the Outer islands, is Whitewave, an activity centre offering much to visitors, including kayaking, sea kayaking, canoeing, hillwalking, climbing and archery.