Isle of Skye, Scotland


This evening, I am posting information on the Isle of Skye ("Skye"), one of Scotland's top tourist destinations.

Skye is a large island forming part of the Inner Hebrides which lie of the west coast of Scotland. Base population is 10,000 about one third of whom are Gaelic speakers.

The name is believed to derive from the Gaelic sgiath meaning 'a wing' from which follows 'winged' or 'divided' isle. There are many place names on Skye with Scandinavian origin which date to the time when Skye, in common with vast tracts of western Scotland, was under Norwegian rule.

Distance from the south of Scotland (e.g. Glasgow) is about 160 miles (or about 4 hours driving time). Such a trip normally entails a stop at Mallaig and then a 30 minute ferry trip to Armadale on Skye. Best option is to travel to Skye the day prior to anticipated tour, overnight at or close to the eastern tip of the island at such locations as Kyle of Lochalsh, Kyleakin or Broadford and then undertake an extensive tour the next day returning to the same lodgings as the previous night.

A tour of the island's key aspects can be undertaken in one (very full) day but some visitors may wish to linger longer to undertake such activities as hiking, climbing and boat trips.

The following outline is predicated on an anti-clockwise tour of Skye starting and finishing at a location at or near Broadford.

Sligachan

Here there is a hotel with extensive whisky bar but the key reason to stop (weather conditions permitting) is to avail of the outstanding mountain views to the west.


Portree.

This is the 'capital' of Skye which is well endowed with shops and accommodation. There is also a very attractive harbour from which small scale commercial fishing is undertaken. Parking can prove a challenge here during the peak summer months of July and August.

Portree Harbour

 
Old Man of Storr

A vertical rock pinnacle which, via  a steep climb, can be accessed on foot.


Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls.

A very popular viewpoint located on the east coast, about 15 miles directly north of Portree At peak season parking can be tight. Be careful to secure items such as glasses, phones, cameras and even small pets all of which have been blown off visitors standing close to the sheer rock face.


Quiraing

A spectacular prehistoric landslip coupled with high elevation views. Site is accessed by a narrow, single track road on steep incline. Parking can be difficult at the top.


Uig

This is a ferry port with small brewery and pottery. A good place to avail of refreshment.

Inter-island ferry at Uig


Fairy Glen

About five minute drive from Uig. A one way, single track road through a valley populated with small conical hills.


Dunvegan Castle

Home of the Chief of Clan MacLeod. A very ancient castle adjacent to which is a well maintained Highland garden with waterfall. In season boat trips to a nearby seal colony operate from the castle grounds.






Dun Beag Broch

Remains of high status, Iron-Age ( about 2000 years old) dwelling with design along the lines of a modern-day lighthouse.

 

Talisker Distillery

One of Scotland's top whisky distilleries. Tours are available although it is best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.



Fairy Pools
  • Located near Carbost and Talisker Distillery on the west of the island.
  • Access entails a 1.5 mile return trip hike over rough ground and across streams.
  • Parking can be difficult due to volume of visitors.
  • Some brave visitors engage in ‘wild swimming’ although low water temperatures normally require use of wet suits.
  • The pools form part of the River Brittle which in turn flows through Glen Brittle. (Glen means valley.)
  • Backdrop to the pools is the Black Cuillin Hills which are of volcanic origin.

Elgol

Fourteen miles along a slow going but scenic, single track road with return the same way. Sometimes Highland Cows and other farm animals will be encountered on the road. At Elgol there are scenic views together with boat trips.It will not be possible to incorporate Elgol into the preceding itinerary and complete same within one day.

Traffic hazard en-route to/from Elgol



View from Elgol



Broadford

A popular coastal village with fuel station, grocery store and craft shops.

 

© Nigel P Cole/Catswhiskerstours Limited


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