Walking safely on the Isle of Skye.
'Sometimes it rains'
It is important to bear safety issues in mind when walking on Skye, there have been some tragic deaths in the Cuillin Hills, on the Trotternish Ridge and elsewhere on the island. The weather can change very rapidly, a beautiful sunny day can suddenly deteriorate into a wild storm and the weather forecasters struggle to predict the weather with accuracy. You will often experience glorious sunshine all day in one area of Skye while five miles down the road it will be pouring with rain. Once whilst walking through the Quiraing on the north end of Skye we experienced high winds, sunshine, lashing rain and mist, all within the space of three hours. Bear these unpredictable conditions in mind and always set out with appropriate equipment, if you are planning a long excursion take plenty of food and water as well as warm clothes and waterproofs. Good, sturdy boots are a necessity, trainers are not good enough on a long walk. Jeans are also not a good choice for walking in. If it gets wet, denim becomes very cold, heavy and uncomfortable and if the rain stops it doesn't dry out quickly. This will sap your bodily warmth and you will expend valuable energy trying to heat up. If you are heading into the wilds take a map and compass and the knowledge to use them!
Always tell someone where you are going, that way if you don't reappear someone will come looking for you.
If the sun comes out in Scotland it may not feel that hot but you can still get sunburnt with surprising speed, smother on a good high factor cream and don't under estimate the power of the wind to burn you.
Another factor to consider is the prevalence of livestock virtually all over the island. Sheep can startle easily and tend to enjoy grazing in suicidal areas like the tops of cliffs. Try to give them a wide berth in such places. If you are taking a dog keep it on a lead and stay away from sheep altogether during the spring (lambing season.) Bear in mind that although your dog may be good around sheep (i.e. not interested in them at all) the sheep don't know that. To them any dog is a potential threat and to be run away from as fast as possible!
Courtesy of Ella Maughan