Sleat peninsula is the gently rolling southern part of the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. Its main villages are Armadale (Gaelic: Armadal) around the ferry pier and Ardvasar (Gaelic: Àird a’ Bhàsair) half a mile south. Accommodation and amenities straggle along the main road north A851, notably at Saasaig and Isleornsay; points north of there are described under Broadford.
1 Armadale pier is the landing point for Calmac ferries from Mallaig on the Scottish mainland. They take 45 min and sail daily, April-Oct every hour or two 08:00-18:00 but only 2 or 3 per day Nov-March. Until end of March 2024, return fares are £21.30 per car, £6.40 per adult including driver, and £3.20 per child. This was the usual route to Skye before the bridge opened, and it's still a good route if you want to tour the "Road to the Isles" via Glenfinnan. But don't come this way on a whim or because Satnav has misdirected you to Mallaig instead of the bridge - you could face a long wait for a ferry space if you haven't booked.
Stagecoach Bus 52 runs 3 or 4 times daily from Armadale pier (connecting with the ferries) to Broadford, Sligachan and Portree. In Broadford it connects M-F with Bus 50 to Kyleakin and Kyle of Lochalsh bus and railway stations.
By car you follow A851 the same road as the bus, joining A87 the main cross-island road at Broadford.
It's a short walk between the pier, the two villages and Armadale Castle, but you need wheels to get elsewhere around Sleat.
Car rental is available from Drive Skye.
- 1 Armadale Castle Gardens, Armadale, Sleat IV45 8RS, ☏ . Apr-Oct W-Su 09:30-17:30. The "castle" was a mansion built in 1790 and extended in 1815 as the seat of Clan Macdonald of Sleat. It suffered a fire in 1855, was part rebuilt but unaffordable, and abandoned in 1925. The ruin is unsafe and you can't go in. It's surrounded by gardens and arboretum. The Museum of the Isles covers the area's extensive history, but this is closed throughout 2022. Adult £8, conc £7, child £5.
- Views from the village and pier towards the mainland are attractive.
- 2 Dunscaith Castle is ten miles north of Armadale, take the lane west to Tokavaig then hike. It's a fragmentary medieval ruin on an outcrop of rock on the wild west coast of the Sleat Peninsula. A drawbridge once connected the outcrop to the mainland; you can still scramble across or climb from the beach, but both ways are hazardous, only nettles await you, and the views are just as good from shore.
- 3 Point of Sleat is reached by driving south to the end of the public road at Aird of Sleat, then it's a clear (though occasionally rough or boggy) 3 mile trail to the Point, crossing the beach at Camas Daraich. The lighthouse is just a small metal gantry, you come for the views towards the Small Isles (which are inhabited, and reached by ferry from Mallaig).
- Wildlife: always be looking out for it, including on the ferry.
- South Skye Sea Kayak organise tours and tuition. They're at Kilmore 4 miles north of Armadale.
- Gaelic culture: Sabhal Mòr Ostaig a mile north of the castle teaches degree-level courses solely in Gaelic. They have shorter courses for learners, but it's not the place for beginners. However look out for music and other events that even a Sassenach can nod along with.
- Armadale Stores and Post Office is open M-F 09:00-17:30, Sa 09:00-15:30.
- Craft shops and galleries near the pier are Nigel Grounds, Under the Rowan, Maggie Zefara, Ragamuffin Store, Skyelark / Grumpy George, Julia Christie, Scouting for Buoys and Patricia Shone Ceramics. Aird Old Church Gallery is at Aird, at the end of the public road south.
- The Shed, Armadale Pier IV45 8RS, ☏ . Daily 09:00-17:00. Small cafe with indoor and outdoor tables, right by the ferry landing.
- Gasta bar & restaurant at the entrance to Armadale Castle is open daily 10:00-15:00, F Sa 17:00-21:00, Su 12:00-16:00. The bar has live music F Sa 17:00 till late.
- Gasta bar and The Inn are the choices in Armadale.
- Torabhaig make whisky four miles north of Armadale, with their first produce on sale from 2021. Tours available May-Oct, adult £10. Shop hours are M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa Su 10:00-15:00.
- Armadale Castle (above) has self-catering lodges and suites from £150 / night.
- 1 The Inn at Àird a' Bhàsair (formerly Ardvasar Hotel), Ardvasar, Sleat IV45 8RS, ☏ . Upscale 3-star with restaurant, now owned by Eilean Iarmain Hotel. B&B double £155, dog £15 per stay.
- B&Bs cluster near the ferry pier. There's nothing south of the village down the dead-end lane to Aird of Sleat.
- 2 Sabhal Mor Ostaig Halls of Residence (2 miles north of Armadale), ☏ . Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is a higher education college where, uniquely, all teaching is in Gaelic. Rooms are available during the college holidays. The penthouse tower has the best views. B&B, evening meals also available.
- 3 Flora Macdonald Hostel, 3 Kilmore, Sleat IV44 8RG (3 miles north of Armadale), ☏ . Self-catering hostel with private rooms for two, three, four, six and ten people - they no longer have a dorm, and the smaller rooms sell out early. No local amenities so bring supplies. They can pick you up from the ferry with advance notice. Double room from £60.
- Toravaig House Hotel is four miles north of Armadale. Saasaig village has a few self-catering cottages.
- 4 Hotel Eilean Iarmain, Isleornsay, Sleat IV43 8QR (10 miles north of Armadale), ☏ . Upmarket hotel looking onto island of Ornsay, with fine dining in Birlinn restaurant and bar meals in Am Pràban. B&B double from £260.
- Isleornsay also has a cluster of self-catering cottages, the Duisdale House Hotel, and (without which no Hebridean remoteness is nowadays complete) Yurts. See Broadford for Kinloch Lodge just across the bay.
As of June 2022, Armadale has 4G from O2 but nothing from the other carriers, and there's no signal along the road until you join A87 at Broadford. 5G has not reached Skye.
- The road north leads you to Broadford. From there you could return to the mainland on A87 via Kyleakin, the Skye Bridge and Kyle of Lochalsh, or continue north to the most scenic part of Skye beyond Portree.
- Or take the ferry to Mallaig on the mainland to reach the Small Isles, Glenfinnan and the Ardnamurchan peninsula.