Kym, Sam, Aaron and I spent two days of our Scotland road trip driving around the Isle of Skye. I’m not sure if you’d NEED two days to explore Skye. Especially given that doesn’t get dark until 10pm during the Summer. For us, a group that climbed Storr twice and spent a leisurely amount of time in various pubs and cafes, two days was right.
Both Aaron and I agreed that we preferred the remainder of the Highlands to Skye, though that opinion has proven controversial in discussion with friends and family. That isn’t to say Skye’s not beautiful, though.
Some general pointers if you’re planning on visiting: download Google Maps for offline use if that’s going to be your navigation system (or have a good old-fashioned paper map to hand), and the Co-op in Portree will be your saving grace when its gone 5pm and you’re hungry and unprepared. This list is in the same order as our Isle of Skye road trip in case you wanted to follow our route – a day in the South and a say in the North of Skye.
Silgachan was our initial base when exploring the Isle of Skye. We spent one (hilarious) night in a hostel there, and decent amount of time recharging in the Seumas Bar. As sorry as I am that I have to say it, the lack of phone signal and wifi in Skye is enjoyably refreshing. Spending an evening in a hostel with nothing but each other and a bottle of wine for entertainment was something I won’t be forgetting.
There is an amazing view of the Black Cuillin mountains from the river that’s worth stopping to photograph. Apparently you can drink the river water, too. If an overheard conversation from a tour group and witnessing a man submerging his head underwater for half a minute is anything to go by!
The Fairy Pools
We visited the Fairy Pools on the afternoon of day one. The walk is about 5km in total, and is fairly easy. There are a number of pretty pools and waterfalls to marvel at along the way. If it’s sunny or if you’re super brave, you can swim in the pools. Though it was pretty friggin’ rainy during our visit.
There are some stepping stones at the start of the walk that were a bit difficult for me at 5ft 2″. Aaron actually had to fish a couple of people out of the water on our way back to the car, one of which had hurt his ankle bad enough to stop him from walking, so be a bit careful.
Old Man of Storr
We climbed half of the Old Man of Storr on day one, before retreating to the car due to thick fog. We made a second and successful attempt on day two. You can tell from the roadside whether or not you’ll be able to see the Storr, so I don’t really know why we started to climb it in the thickest of fogs.
According to the Isle of Skye website, the average time to climb Storr without breaks is 1hr 15. We were there for around three hours or so, including many stops to take photos, plus a cheeky Instagram live and email sesh at the top of the Storr, because it was the only place in the whole of Skye that I found 4G. What is life?!
Kilt Rock Viewpoint (and neighbouring viewpoints)
There are a number of viewpoints along the North East coast of Skye. One of which is Kilt Rock, named as such for its resemblance to a kilt. It doesn’t take long to stop and is worth a view.
I don’t have any photos of the Quiraing Vista as the car park was full during our visit, but had to include it in my list because it’s pretty spectacular. The drive along the single-track Quiraing Road was both stunning and a little bit terrifying. We did see someone’s car become stuck sideways in a bog at one point. Even if you’re not hiking at Quiraing, it’s worth visiting for the view from the road/car park.
Fairy Glen / Castle Ewen
After visiting Quiraing we headed to the Fairy Glen/Castle Ewen, which was our last stop at Skye before heading to Fort William. It was a nice break from driving and a short, scenic walk, though I wouldn’t recommend prioritising it if you’re pushed for time.
That concludes our Isle of Skye road trip! The second part of our Highlands trip will be live soon, stay tuned.