The Isle of Skye is a magical place. Filled with extraordinary natural beauty and picturesque little villages, Skye is a travel destination not to be missed.
With a name as simple and beautiful as the Isle of Skye, it’s really no surprise. The name is also incredibly fitting as the island seemingly reaches up into the sky as storm clouds roll in over the mountaintops and open up to beams of bright sunshine illuminating the vivid green hills. Standing on the sheer sea cliffs trying to discern where the sky ends and the water begins, you could easily mistake this place as the end of the Earth.
Our first hiking trip to Glencoe had us filled with excitement and confidence for what awaited us as we shot past the iconic Eilean Donan castle and over the bridge to Skye. Greeted at our quaint little cottage was our bubbly host Beth, a passionate local with mixed opinions about the booming tourism on Skye and it’s current and potential impact. We witnessed first hand the lack of respect and mistreatment from some visitors misusing the freedom to roam laws and not adhering to common and respectful ‘leave it as you found it’ attitude. Don’t be that guy, stick to the paths and pick up your rubbish! Simple stuff.
Despite these teething issues, Skye is a truly wondrous place to visit that warmed us to the core. Have you ever visited somewhere that immediately made you feel at home? That’s what Skye was like for us. Steeped in magical mystery and home to many legends, roaming around Skye makes you feel like you are inside some fantasy novel or epic history movie.
If you are planning a visit, make sure to allow 3-4 days minimum. The island is bigger than you think and the roads are small and bendy so getting around takes a while. Skye’s top attractions are also spread out so this ain’t no day trip. Make sure to prepare for all weather – Skye bears its name for a reason and bad weather can roll in at a moment’s notice even in the summer months. Try and visit off-peak or shoulder seasons as the summer months can be very busy and generally more expensive. Oh, and don’t forget those damn Midgies. Take citronella spray and avoid at all costs.
For beautiful walks with stunning scenery leaving directly from the carpark head straight to the Quiraing. It is simply breathtaking. There are plenty of trails here suiting all capabilities. The first part of our hill walk felt like we were trudging through someone’s paddock, with random wild-looking sheep and a few stiles to climb over on the way to the top. The entire peninsula that the Quiraing sits upon was created by a landslip and makes for very dramatic land formations. The view, even from halfway up the hill, was just gorgeous. A massive plateau that falls away to green fields below, shadows of clouds leaving patterns on the swaying grass, sunlight glinting off nearby lakes, yeah we clearly loved it here!
Old Man of Storr
Sunrise in the Scottish summer is at the ridiculously early time of 4:30am. We were staying in Sconser, a 20 min drive from Portree and 30 min from the Old Man of Storr. So our wake up call dragged us out of bed at 3am for the drive followed by a 40 min hike up the hillside for a good viewing spot. Sunrise is honestly the best time of day to see this magnificent rock formation, you already feel on top of the world and to see the colours and light change as the sun rises up over the horizon is an experience we’ll never forget. After this particular day, we made a promise to ourselves to get the heck out of bed to enjoy more of them on our trip. Plus you can feel a bit smug at having accomplished something before anyone else gets out of bed. And there are always afternoon naps!
Neist Point Lighthouse
After a well-deserved midday nap, a spectacular place to watch the sunset is at Neist Point Lighthouse. Our evening here was so windy we were almost knocked over as we were getting out of the car. Luckily there are heaps of rocky outcrops to shelter behind along the epic clifftop, making for the perfect location to enjoy our sunset essentials of red wine and chocolate! Neist Point is the westernmost point on the Isle of Skye, and the moody Scottish skies didn’t disappoint us. We departed a bottle of wine down and in high spirits thinking we were done for another day. However, this island had more in store for us, saving the best colour for an unscheduled pitstop on the way home. A flock of sheep had decided to hang out in the middle of the road and as we waited for them to clear the sky behind us turned a vivid shade of purple. Sometimes it pays to look out the back window!
Our last outing on the Isle of Skye was to the Fairy Pools, nestled at the foot of the Black Cuillin’s mountain range. After a morning spent chasing down highland coos, we visited late in the afternoon banking on the crowds having left already. The sun didn’t want to come out so the pools, whilst still beautiful, didn’t quite have the right conditions to show off their bright blue and green hues. Still, the clouds once again made for a moody atmosphere on the mountains as the sun streamed through gaps in the cloud throwing beams of light onto the rocky slopes. One day we will have to come back and tackle the Black Cuillins and finish with a swim in the pools!
Skyes the limit!
These are just a sample of the top natural attractions to be visited on the Isle of Skye. There is so much more to see and do, Skye really is the sort of place you can just point your camera anywhere and the photo will be postcard worthy. After a big day of exploring we can highly recommend swinging past a town named Carbost. Start at the top of the hill with some fresh Isle of Skye Oysters, continue on down into town with a quick pit stop at Talisker Distillery before finishing up with the most delicious Pie of the Day we have ever tasted at The Old Inn. You will not regret it.
Our favourite Isle of Skye memories
SKIM stones across the water on an empty beach.
DEVOUR the freshest fish and chips you’ll probably ever eat.
STAND your ground on the tops of windy mountains.
RISE early to catch the sun start its day.
INHALE that sweet Scottish air on the top of the hills at the Quiraing.
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