Enjoying an Elgol Boat trip is one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye Scotland!
The magnificent Cuillin Mountains, the wildlife, the wild lochs… it is picture perfect!
Below is my guide to help you plan your Loch Coruisk boat trip and walk with map, tips, video and photos.
Before my tips + photos, here are my favorites for Scotland:
My favorite platform to rent a car in Scotland: DiscoverCars
The unmissable boat tour: Seal spotting on Loch Linnhe from Fort William
My favorite excursion from Edinburgh: Glenfinnan and Glencoe
Why book an Elgol boat trip to Loch Coruisk?
Loch Coruisk is a freshwater loch very between the Cuillin Mountains and the sea.
There are no road leading to it. You can only access it by boat or hiking, which means it is wild and magnificent!
In my opinion, it is definitively one of the top things to do on Skye Island and one of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland.
Just have a look:
Loch Coruisk Facts
- Loch Coruisk is a freshwater loch
- It is almost 2 miles long (3.2 km)
- Its maximum width is 400 yards (366m)
- It has been an inspiration for many Scottish painters such as J. M. W. Turner, Sidney Richard Percy and Alexander Francis Lydon.
- And it also inspired writers – Sir Walter Scott visited the loch in 1814, and he wrote “Rarely human eye has known – A scene so stern as that dread lake – With its dark ledge of barren stone…”
- The Black Cuillin mountains create a circus around the northern end of the loch. They are often in the clouds. But it is always magnificent
Below is a short video of my boat trip from Elgol to Loch Coruisk and the Cuillin Mountains: the boat, the seals, the walk… – get a virtual tour!
What does Loch Coruisk mean?
The name means Cauldron of Waters.
And when you look at the circus of mountains around the loch, you understand why!
Many photos of the drive, the boat trip, the walk and the loch coming in this article after the planning info!
PLANNING TIPS & Map – Elgol and Loch Coruisk, Skye
How to get to Elgol on the Isle of Skye – Map
- Located on the South West Coast of the Isle of Skye
- Road B8083 (crossing with A87 at Broadford)
- There are buses from Portree to Broadford and Broadford to Elgol but not many a day and it takes a long time. I recommend having a car.
- Portree to Elgol = 35 min drive
- Broadford to Elgol = 30 min drive
- Plan more time during high season and mid-day hours. It is a single lane road, so the more traffic, the longer the wait on passing places.
- Below is a map to help you locate the Elgol and Loch Coruisk:
This location, with its GPS coordinates is included on both my Travel Guide eBooks that help you plan your Scotland road trip:
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How to get to Loch Coruisk
- By boat from Elgol – The 2 main companies offering boat trips to Loch Coruisk: Bella Jane and Misty Isle – I saw another boat but do not remember the name. I selected Bella Jane.
- Hiking – There is a famous hike between Elgol and Sligachan. So, you can walk from Loch Coruisk to Siglachan for 8 miles (3 to 5 hours). You can also hike along the coast from Elgol (3 to 5 hours), but a section called the Loch Coruisk Bad Step or Elgol Bad Step is very treacherous (check the track for the whole walk)
- To get to the carpark at Elgol, the road is very steep. if you need to go to the bathroom, don’t go all the way down, the white building near the secondary carpark is the only public toilet (and as I mentioned it is very steep)
- During peak season you might still have to park on the secondary carpark.
- Plan good walking shoes for Loch Coruisk. There is absolutely no path, and the ground can be wet, muddy and slippery
- Wear layers. The wind is cold in Scotland.
- Even if you are not planning a boat trip, the drive to Elgol Skye is great and once there you can walk around for great views of the Black Cuillin mountains.
- Other Elgol Boat Trips are available to see the wildlife around the neighboring islands of Eigg, Rum and Canna.
Where to stay on the Isle of Skye?
- Portree is the main town and the most practical place to explore the island – Check out the best rated accommodations in Portree
- However the closest town is Elgol – Check out the best rated accommodations in Elgol
- Find out more tips on my Isle of Skye article
Drive from Portree to Elgol Skye – Road B8083
I had booked an early Elgol Boat Trip to Loch Coruisk so the drive was enjoyable with almost nobody on the road yet.
Once you turn on B8083, it is a single lane road.
Passing places are numerous and visibility is good.
But be careful because animals roam freely and babies tend to run in front of the car.
Need to rent a car in Scotland?
- Compare prices on my favorite platform: Discovercars.com – one of the best rated comparison sites!
- Prefer a compact car for the single-lane roads
- Consider their full coverage option – it for peace of mind!
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
As you approach Elgol Skye, the island of Rum appears in the background:
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Elgol Boat Trips – Options
In Elgol, you can see the main 2 shops to book an Elgol Boat Tour : Bella Jane and Misty Isle.
You really cannot miss them near the carpark, at the end of the only road… However, book in advance because they fill up quickly!
Both companies have really good reviews on the Internet. And their offerings are very similar.
I chose Bella Jane purely because of the online booking option and the picture of the boat.
Part of it had a roof so I thought that if it rained, I would at least be a little protected (this is Scotland after all).
Both companies give you flexibility to stay as long as you want at Loch Coruisk:
- Your Elgol Boat trip can be just that: a boat trip, you stay on the boat, admire the Cuillin Mountains and observe the seals
- Or you can stop at Loch Coruisk and come back with the next boat (normally 1h45 later)
- Or you can come back with another boat later and hike for a longer time
- Or you can buy a one way trip and hike your way back
A few things to know
- Depending on the booking they have received, they may change your departure time up to 30min later which is annoying.
- Some of the crossings are not with the main boat but with a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat). It is a lot less comfortable. It is said at booking that they may use these other boats. You can’t control which one you get (unless you are part of a large group…)
- Pilots are normally locals with experience. I felt quite safe.
Book your Loch Coruisk Boat Trip
Loch Coruisk Boat Trip – Crossing
On a clear day, as you leave Elgol by boat and approach the Cuillin Mountains, the view is exquisite.
The Cuillin Mountains is a range of rocky mountains.
On this side of the Isle of Skye they are known as the Black Cuillin. They are called black because they are mainly composed of the black rock gabbro.
The highest point is Sgurr Alasdair which culminates at 992m (3255ft).
As you approach the entrance to the arrival Loch:
For the return of my Elgol Boat Trip, I was on the Bella Jane Boat itself and the views of the Cuillin Mountains were as magnificent:
The ‘pier’ is located in a cove protected by a small island. At low tide rocks appear above water, making it a natural place for seals to nap and digest.
Compared to other colonies I have seen in Namibia or New Zealand, this one is very small but very diverse.
The seals had different colors and sometimes even spots.
Loch Coruisk Walk from the pier
The boat drops you at the unique pier in the cove of Loch na Cuilce, just behind the island Eilean Glas.
To reach the loch you have to cross the arm of land along the Scavaig River that joins Loch Coruisk and the sea (at Loch na Cuilce).
Right now, let me show you the walk from the pier to Loch Coruisk:
And looking back towards the pier and Loch na Cuilce:
And here is the small pier and my return boat arriving:
Loch Coruisk in photos
I was limited in time with only 1h30 before my return boat.
So I walked only on one side of the Loch (not crossing the river), the South Shore.
Apparently it was the best choice, because the views are supposed to be better on this side.
And I can attest that they were grandiose!
My photos are nice but can’t really render the breathtaking landscapes.
Complete walk around Loch Coruisk
If you want to walk all around the loch, plant 3 to 4h. This Loch Coruisk Walk difficulty is medium.
Be careful, it involves crossing a river which can be dangerous during and after heavy rain.
Loch Coruisk Hike & the Bad Step
You can also hike to Loch Coruisk all the way from Elgol or from Kilmarie.
It is called the Loch Coruisk Hike via the Bad Step.
It is really easier to start in Kilmarie. There is a the Camasunary carpark to easily stop.
This walk is an 11-mile (17.7km) round trip. Plan at least 6 hours.
- You first walk over a hill pass
- You reach the bay and beach of Camasunary. It offers nice view of the hills on the islands of Rum and Eigg.
- Then you walk along the shore. The path gets more difficult with curves and hills
- And you arrive at the Bad Step across the islet of Loch Nan Leachd – it is a rock slab that drops straight into the sea. It is a difficult and dangerous passage, I recommend you do research about it before so as to choose the best path.
- After than it is easy again and you reach the loch in 15 minutes
And if you feel like even more hiking, you can come back to the bay and head to Sligachan on the West coast. It will offer magnificent views of the Black Cuillins.
Want to see more? Here are other amazing things to do on the Isle of Skye:
- The Old Man of Storr icon – read article
- Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls – read article
- The Quiraing viewpoint – read article
- The Magical Fairy Glen – read article
- The sparkling Fairy Pools hike – read article
- Or enjoy my complete article about the best things to do on the Isle of Skye
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