Sleat drive on Isle of Skye / Scotland

Aug 30th, 2009, 04:34 PM
  #1  
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Sleat drive on Isle of Skye / Scotland

Hello all! I've seen mention of a beautiful Sleat drive the Isle of Skye, but I have the worst luck finding anything with the search option on this forum. If I drive this route that I mapped out on Google, am I on the right drive?

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...9&ie=UTF8&z=11

Or is it a different route? If someone either has an answer or can help point me to the right threads, I would be very grateful! Thanks!
suspire is offline  
Aug 30th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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Yep - that's the one.
janisj is offline  
Aug 30th, 2009, 06:15 PM
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Fantastic! Thanks, Janis!!
suspire is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 04:07 AM
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Be prepared to have the white-knuckled driver see the scenery via the after-drive video. The single track road is a challenge in places.
kelticshaman is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 09:28 AM
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oh pshaw! White knuckle? Single track roads (and this one in particular) are not difficult. Just slow.

Once you get the hang of it - noting the little diamond-shaped signs at the passing places up ahead, realizing the passing places are "wide spots in the road" where you pull over on your side of the road even if the turn out is on the other side - you'll find they are not difficult at all. Besides - any traffic you encounter is likely going almost as slow as you are

Important to remember that you never park in the passing places - even IF the view is to die for . . . .
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Aug 31st, 2009, 01:03 PM
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Excellent tips. I have read that people use the passing places as parking places and will not do that intentionally! Are parking places well marked so that I'll know the difference?

"Pull over on your side of the road even if the turnout is on the other side" - do you mean, pull over to the left and let the other person use the turn out to drive around me?

I'll admit, I'm nervous about the driving but it does seem the best way to get around Scotland - I was trying to do it with public transportation and decided I was going to end up with all my hair pulled out - Scotland just does not lend itself well to travel by public transportation, as far as I can tell! Well, I'm sure we could do it but would spend a good deal more time getting from place A to place C with a layover in place B. That's how I did it in Ireland and I felt like I spent all my time getting to and from buses and waiting for buses and riding on buses and passing by things I would love to have stopped for but couldn't because I was on a bus .... It seemed driving in Scotland was the best choice. We'll definitely be planning to take our time as needed.
suspire is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 09:52 PM
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sort of hard to explain w/o seeing it (I have some terrific shots of ewes/lambs laying down in passing places -- but I don't have them on line anywhere. (obviously the sheep don't follow the highway code )

Anyway, if you are tooling down a single track and see a car approaching - and you are at or almost to a passing place (they will have the diamond shaped signposts), don't worry if the 'passing place' is on your side of the road or the other driver's side. Passing places tend to alternate from one side to the other but not always. Just pull to the left and slow down or stop - the other driver will then have room to get around you.

If a car coming towards you flashes its headlights - that is the signal that they are in a passing place and are stopping there to let you through first.

as for where to stop to take photos - you can really stop anywhere (except in a designated passing place) as long as there is room for a car to get around you. The more of your car you can get off the road surface, the better.
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Sep 1st, 2009, 07:41 AM
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Thank you! This is really helpful. Must hammer this into my head ... diamond signpost = passing place. Diamond signpost = passing place. Diamond signpost = passing place! Flashing lights = I go through first. Okay! Wish me luck!! Thanks much!
suspire is offline  
Sep 1st, 2009, 07:53 AM
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Except many of the passing places on the Sleat single-track are missing the diamond signpost. Also, if the passing place is on your right DO NOT pull into it. There is a great place to pull off the road, take pictures, and hike a little at Dun Scaith. Explore the castle, explore the beach, and view some beautiful scenery. Do keep an eye out for local wags and travelers.
kelticshaman is offline  
Sep 1st, 2009, 09:41 AM
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" Also, if the passing place is on your right DO NOT pull into it"

Yes - that's what I said. No matter which side the passing place is - stay to the left . . . .

If a pp sign is missing - and there will be some - you can still usually tell it is there. Don't worry, you'll quickly get the hang of it. The very idea may seem scary but when you are actually there you'll get it.

Besides - by the time you get to any single tracks, you will have already driven on some narrow roads through villages where you have to give way to let others through (and the headlight flashing means the same). You will be an old hand at narrow places by then. Single tracks are usually easier than negotiating through a busy village w/ cars parked on both sides and pedestrians/zebra crossings to deal w/.
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Sep 1st, 2009, 10:25 AM
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Yes, I've printed off a booklet of traffic symbols, to read on the plane and, I hope, get myself familiar with all these unfamiliar signs!

I am going to channel your confidence in me, Janis! LOL! I am not so confident - yet!

Thank you both!
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Sep 1st, 2009, 11:55 AM
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I did that loop on my trip to Scotland in 2007. There are places to park at Tarskavaig, Tokavaig, and Ord, if I recall correctly, but other than that, mostly just passing places. If you just have to have a picture at one of those passing places, rather than waiting for a proper place to pull off the road, and there's no one around, I think it would be OK to jump out of your car no longer than it took to take a picture, but don't even think of walking around or taking more than a few seconds. The best views are at the aforementioned Tarskavaig, etc. (not sure you can even call them villages), so, hopefully, finding a place to stop is not an issue for you.

Visibility on that road is such that you can't see too far--the road follows the contours of the land so there are few straight streches and no level stretches. A beautiful drive, and not the most taxing single lane road by any stretch. Well worth the detour. We did it on a Sunday afternoon and there wasn't a whole lot of traffic.

I posted a trip report that has a link to my photos from the trip. Click on my username if you're interested.
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Sep 2nd, 2009, 12:36 AM
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Please remember that you should pull into a passing place or stop opposite one if there's someone behind you needing to pass. Locals won't be quite as gobsmacked by the scenery as you are

Passing Place signs are not always diamonds.

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...ack/index.html

Feel free to use field gates and any other solid piece of verge in the same way; but please stay out of the dirches

Stop sweating it, guys. It's not rocket science. Although according to one visitor from Boston, the big deal was that she couldn't believe people waited politely for each other instead of barging through.

And, in fact, you've all forgotten the most important piece of advice.

Wave. Thank the guys who pulled in for you with a wave. Everyone does it. In fact, on Islay, everyone waves at everyone even where the roads are two lanes.
sheila is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 07:23 AM
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Well, there was a guy who, to thank us, lifted one finger from the steering wheel. But that may have been in England. I put it down to British understatement.

I did notice the locals drive much faster than we sight-seeing tourists do. But you don't need to worry so much about driving the one-lane roads. It's just not as bad as it sounds. The only place I was really uncomfortable was approaching Plockton from the north. The road was very curvy, it was thickly treed so you couldn't see ahead, and the locals whipped around those curves in a hurry.
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Sep 2nd, 2009, 09:55 AM
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Mimar: "Well, there was a guy who, to thank us, lifted one finger from the steering wheel. But that may have been in England. I put it down to British understatement"

It would have been a two finger salute you'd have to worry about

One finger probably was just a lazy-ish wave . . . .
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Sep 2nd, 2009, 01:29 PM
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<>

We do that in Texas as well. I think it's more of a rural thing.
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Sep 3rd, 2009, 11:11 AM
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Then, of course, are the other tourists you'll encounter on a tourist road. They are as unfamiliar as you and when they don't understand the rules or are too frightened to act properly you might end up (as we did) having to back up a hundred yards or so to the last passing place. The oncoming car was no more than a car's length past his passing place. The good news is you will not need more than a day or two to get over the narrow double track roads where the lorry (truck) and caravan (trailer towing) mirrors seem like they are coming through your windshield. Ask someone local to tell you about roundabout driving. When you are on a 3 lane feed going into a roundabout with multiple exits you will have to select the proper lane going in and cross lanes coming out. I found it best to close your eyes, honk and just go. No accidents and I'll never see those angry people again anyway.
kelticshaman is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 11:28 AM
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"I found it best to close your eyes, honk and just go."

OMG!

Suspire: Just relax -- everyone else on the thread has survived single tracks, and roundabouts (marvelous invention - I wish we had them where I live). Panicky horn honking is NOT the way to go . . . .
janisj is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 06:40 PM
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I'll try not to take too much offense at the term 'local wag' Kelticshamen.

And yes, Sheila's advice on letting people past is very important... I once had a friend cut himself badly at work whilst working in a remote part of Skye. His workmates put him in the van and drove towards the nearest hospital as fast as they could only to find themselves stuck behind a tourist traveling along at 20mph on a single track road. Despite flashing their lights, hooting their horn etc, driving right up behind this tourist, they were stuck behind him for a considerable length of time. He just wouldn't let them past. Whenever my friend explains the story behind the large scar on his left arm, he still gets filled with rage at the though of that idiot not letting them past.

Also, single track roads aren't really that hard to figure out. Watch for traffic coming from the opposite direction and whoever is nearest a passing place stops to let the other car past. It's not rocket science.
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Oct 31st, 2009, 08:47 AM
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Hello all! Just wanted to post a follow up. We ended up not having time for the Sleat drive (an excuse to go back!), but we did drive for about 10 days, and after the first couple days I felt confident and loved it! Even managed to drive the "road" - a term I use loosely! - from Applecross to Tornapress. Had to peel my hands from the steering wheel after that, but what a rush of accomplishment! Reaching the summit was a high in more ways than one! I mastered the single track roads, including the obligatory wave, and even learned to love the roundabouts. Thanks for all the advice!! No more fear of driving on the left = now I feel like I can drive anywhere! Well, not Rome. LOL!
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