52 Portree – Armadale Pier52 Portree - Broadford - Armadale Pier
The 52 is a scenic bus journey through the Isle of Skye landscape with views of mountains, bays, and lochs, passing through Portree, Sligachan, Broadford, Skulamus, and the Sleat Peninsula.
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4 places to visitView journey Attractions
1 hour 15 minutes
1 service, Mondays to Fridays only (two during school term times)
Portree SquareHow to get here
Centuries ago, Armadale was best known for its wild boar hunting – a pastime that attracted royals staying at Linlithgow Palace and gave the town its original name, Barbauchlaw.
What an adventure the 52 is – a journey that plunges folk in the wild, rugged and stunning Isle of Skye landscape! Starting in the beautiful village of Portree on the east side of Skye, overlooking a sheltered bay and as the capital of the Island, it’s surrounded by hills! As the bus departs, there’s the mighty sight of Ben Tianaviag to the south and Suidh Fhinn or Fingal’s Seat to the west, with Ben Chrachaig behind to the north. Across the bay to the easy, is the Island of Raasay with its distinctive conical hill, Dun Caan.
Portree is a remarkable fishing village, around 200 years old and has churches, cafes, restaurants and a cinema and a great base for a staycation. The bus leaves Portree and in 15 minutes is in Sligachan, where the Black Cullin meets the western seaboard – there’s the chance for a great view of the Red and Black Cullin with Glen Sligachan between them. There’s an enchanting stone-built bridge under which the River Sligachan flows and Squrr-Nan-Gillean looms menacing.
The bus, makes its way to Broadford across rugged moorland scenery and the magnificent Red Cullins mountains with views over the bay towards Applecross mountains on the mainland. The journey runs through wildlife beauty, landscape resided by otters, seals, sometimes orca whales, whooper swan, brent gross and other marine and bird life. It’s a haven for walkers and the village meanders for 1 ½ miles with houses either side of the lovely Broadford River.
Onto Skulamus, where the road heads south west across wild, open moorland, following the course of an old single-track road, passing distinctive bridges with stone parapets topped with stone pyramids overt the abutments. The road drops down to the beautiful Loch na Dal and the scenery soon changes from the bleak open moorland to a much greener, more welcoming terrain – the Sleat Peninsula being known as the Garden of Skye.
The road undulates along the shore, through the tiny village of Duisdale, crossing to Teanque and rejoining the coast of the Sound of Sleat before traversing the villages of Ferindonald, Kilmore and Kilbeg. Then, it’s a lovely entrance to Armadale, passing rocks on the shore, alongside flat and fertile farming land and with Armadale Castle in sight, dropping down to Armadale Pier. The hills are less foreboding and more undulating and the views are over the Sound of Sleat to Morar and Mallaig, where there are ferry connections to enable this entrancing adventure to continue further.
A Fab Day Out!
The bus runs on Mondays to Fridays only – during school terms there is a morning and mid-afternoon service but at other times, just a morning journey. Therefore, we advise either enjoying the fun at the beginning and end of the route or maybe making an overnight stay on your journey, at Broadford, for instance.
For starters, Portree is a wonderful base for your trip. The natural harbour is the epicentre of this lovely small town, which is surrounded by high ground and cliffs and with invigorating views of fishing boards and pleasure crafts. There’s paddling, pony trekking, boat cruises, a swimming pool and great shopping in Portree as well as coach tours around the Isle of Skye. The award-winning Aros Centre also runs theatre, concerts and film shows and for the more adventurous the spectacular landscape at Trotternish Ridge to the north is well worth a visit with its incredible rock formations, including the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Roack and Quaraing.
Then, it’s on the bus and maybe an afternoon and overnight stopover in Broadford. The Market Square is a great place to visit for unique and fascinating gifts, books, glass products, stones and fossils, candles and much more, whilst there are several lovely restaurants. No trip to Broadford would be complete without one of the many short (and longer!) walks, including a stroll down the bay with mountainous views of the craggy and rugged but serene landscapes penetrated by wonderfully diverse wildlife. The soft rocks of the bay are home to a huge range of Jurassic fossils and there is a Ranger service organise activities during the summer. The beach at Ashaig is great for picnics, if the tide is right!
Back on the bus, probably the next day, and it’s to Armadale, with its links to Mallaig. Amadale is a gem of a town with fab shops at the end of the Pier selling fishing tackle and leather work – fishing being at the heart of life in this invigorating location. Up the hill and there are independent fare trade shops, including abundant culture, with music workshops, tales of fairies and herbalism, as well as different camping opportunities.
A short walk, meanwhile, from the Pier is Armadale Castle, Gardens and Museum of the Isles. Visitors can explore the spectacular ruins of the castle and historic and romantic gardens as well as discover the fascinating local history in the museum. There’s also some great restaurants in Armadale as well, serving fresh local fish!
Gateway to 52
From Inverness on Stagecoach’s 917 service
How to get here...
Visit the National Rail Enquiries website to discover train routes that will lead you to this magnificent scenic adventure.Visit National Rail