Famous for its rural, picturesque landscapes, challenging hiking paths and rich history, The Isle of Skye deserves a place at the top of your to-do list during your stay at Highland Holidays.
How to Get There
Right, first thing’s first. How to get there. The isle isn’t far from Ben Nevis at all. It’s approximately one hour’s drive to Mallaig, and from the docks you’ll take the 45 minute ferry to Armadale. This adventure is practically on your doorstep!
An Intro to the Isle
The Isle of Skye is the largest island in the Inner Hebrides and is one of the most popular locations in Scotland to visit. For an island that consists of a short 50 mile stretch, Skye is rich with extensive history and tourist attractions. The island was occupied in prehistoric times and settled by Gaelic-speaking Scots from Ireland. In the 9th century, Dunvegan Castle was built. Home to the MacLeods, the chief clan of Skye, it has been occupied longer than any other house in Scotland, making it a must-see for any enthusiastic history buffs.
Be at One with Nature
One of the best things about the great outdoors on the Isle of Skye is that it’s great whatever the weather. Come rain or shine, the sights of the isle look stunning no matter what.
The Old Man of Storr
A day out on the Isle of Skye is every adrenaline-junkie’s dream. Skye holds many challenging mountains and paths to climb that will get your blood pumping. The Old Man of Storr is one of the isle’s most famous landmarks (the ‘old man’ being the pinnacle of the rock). Created by an enormous ancient landslide, The Old Man of Storr is now one of the most photographed landscapes on the planet. On average, it takes one hour and fifteen minutes to complete the walk, and being one straight path that is now clear of woodland, views abound on all sides.
A Hiker’s Challenge
If you’re after something a bit more challenging, Skye is home to more daring trails such as The Ascent of Sgùrr a’ Ghreadaidh (one of the longest rock climbs in Britain) and the Inaccessible Pinnacle (the only peak in Scotland that requires technical climbing skills to reach the summit). A fair word of warning, though – you have to be a pro for this stuff. If you’re up for the challenge, the view from these summits never disappoint.
Another great walk is along the Quiraing. The Quiraing is part of the Trotternish Ridge and was formed by a landslip which created the huge cliffs we see and admire today. The Quiraing walk is a 6.8km loop which takes approximately two hours to walk. Unfortunately, this walk isn’t suited to all weathers. Due to the high cliffs, it’s dangerous to go when it’s either misty or windy – even worse if it’s both!
During this walk, there are many historical landscapes to see, all with very interesting names. Names such as the ‘Prison’, a rock structure resembling a fortress of an ancient jail. Ten minutes into the walk you’ll reach a tricky-looking rock gorge you’ll have to climb across to pass a small stream. The views on this walk are huge; spot the village of Staffin, the Islands of Raasay and Rona, and beyond them, the hills of Torridon back on the mainland.
When you finally reach the 540m summit, it’s like you’ve landed on a pot of gold. From here, there are gorgeous views of the ‘Table’; a flat, glassy plateau decorated with rock formations and cliff faces. Hundreds of years ago, the ‘Table’ was used to hide sheep and cattle from invaders.
With perfectly clear blue aqua, the Fairy Pools are one of the most famous sights to see on Skye. The super photogenic pools live at the foot of the Black Cullins near Glenbrittle and they are a great location to go wild swimming (if you’re brave enough to endure the cold water). Creating a fantastical corner of the isle, the pools are also perfect for those who prefer to keep warm and dry, as they’re great to take pictures of from the sideline.
Even though the pools are perfect to explore in any weather, it’s important to be cautious of the heavy rainfall as some of the river crossings can become challenging.
Most of the pools are deep enough to go for a dive and there are some great high jumps to experience if you’re after that buzz to your senses of falling through the air into the cold water. With stepping stone crossings and pools with natural archways, it’s like walking right into a fairytale. In total, it takes approximately 40 minutes to walk through the whole thing.
See the Sights
If you’re not too big into the physical side of exploration, Skye has plenty of more leisurely activities you can do without even breaking a sweat! The island is surrounded by an abundance of wildlife, such as otters, whales, dolphins and the famous White Tailed Sea Eagle. There are plenty of boat trips available on the coast of Skye for sightseeing, wildlife tours and tours of the small isles, so you’ll never miss out on getting your fix of nature.
Responsible for 15% of all global mid-jurassic discoveries, Skye has been nicknamed the ‘Dinosaur Isle’ due to its paleontological significance. A trip to Staffin Dinosaur Museum, home to the internationally acclaimed collection of dinosaur fossils, promises an educational, fascinating and fun afternoon out for all ages.
The isle also has a soaring hospitality sector, offering restaurants with a range of cuisines; from the famous Three Chimneys to Claymore Bar and Restaurant, Skye has the perfect spots to settle down and relax with some grub after a long day of exploring. And when you’re all done, it’s only a small trip back to the cosy embrace of your hot tub lodge.