Map: OS Landranger 32
Distance: 16 miles (27km)
Time: 3 hours
Terrain: very hilly; single track road, A-road section
The meaning of the name of this Skye peninsula, pronounced "slate", causes confusion. Sleat is derived from the Norse word "slettr" for smooth, but try this scenic rollercoaster route and you'll find more than 800 metres of ascent in a little more than 15 miles.
Coming from Broadford, park at a roadside bay by Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college, just before the turn for Tarskavaig. This singletrack road climbs mercilessly for three miles (5km). As you near a crest you start to see the southern end of the Cuillin. From the top the views of the full serrated ridge and Bla Bheinn's spikes are breathtaking. In the Vikings' defence, Sleat is smooth in comparison.
The road ahead can be seen dropping pleasingly into the distance. Descend all the way to a sandy beach at Tarskavaig Bay. Pedalling on, keep straight at a turn for Tarskavaig. You'll come to a second bay, passing irises and foxgloves. At the furthermost edge of the bay lies ruined Dunscaith Castle, a former seat of the MacDonalds. In Celtic mythology, Sgathach, the warrior queen of Skye, lived here and taught Irish legend Cu Chulainn how to fight.
Perservere with the steep rises and descents to reach the river Ord. The onward route is easier, on the whole, leading to a long descent back to the main road and a fine return.