“Sing me a song of a lass that is gone, say could that lass be I? Merry of soul she sailed on a dais over the sea to Skye” The opening lyrics to the theme for Outlander played in my head as we drove from Ballater to the Isle of Skye during our Scotland vacation. Though a catchy tune, it was not what drew me to this place. When planning our trip to the Highlands, I started where I always do; Pinterest. Don’t laugh but seeing pins of beautiful places is what inspires part of my trips. I quickly realize that a big chunk of places I wanted to visit were all located on this one island. We made sure to work 3 nights into this place when building our itinerary.
The Isle of Skye use to only be accessible by boat. One can still take a ferry, but we decided to drive and take the Skye Bridge. Crossing over the bridge I was immediately surprised by how blue the water was by the bridge. It was shades of turquoise that I had only seen previously in the Caribbean. It was one of the many pleasant surprises that awaited in this part of the world.
If I were to describe the Isle of Skye in one word it would be magical. It’s not just the amazing stories filled with mythical creatures such as giants and fairies. It’s a place with rugged peaks, single lane roads, dramatic cliffs, sheep, and waterfalls. It is something plucked right out of a book or movie (and some movies have been filmed here). It’s also a moody place, with quickly changing weather patterns and breath-taking landscapes. A blog post about everything single thing we did could go on for pages. Here are some of my favorites spots should your wanderings take you to this fair land.
Taigh Ailean Hotel
This is the idyllic B&B that we stayed while visiting. Wonderful hosts with a charming inn that feels like a second home. I highly recommend this place to stay, but if you would rather stay somewhere with more amenities; at least stop by this place to eat. The pub had the best food I had my entire my Scotland vacation. Typically while traveling I won’t eat at the same place twice; just because I want to sample all the local cuisine I can. The first night I bit into this delicious, perfectly cooked, melt in my mouth, piece of pork; it was like angel’s singing. It quite possibly may be my favorite restaurant ever out of all my travels. They only served dinner and all of our dinners were eaten here. Not to mention the great Scottish gentleman behind the bar who told stories of his life and tried to teach me Gaelic.
Old Man of Storr
There are many legends that surround how this famous landmark was created The most common is it that the Old Man of Storr was a giant who lived there. When he was buried, his thumb was left sticking out of the ground, creating the rugged landscape. The hike to the top of this looks easy as first, as it's a nice gravel road that goes uphill. After going up and down a few dips and hills, you realize the hike becomes more intense. It gets steeper and you eventually have to climb over lots of giant rocks. However the views from the top and the spellbinding scenery are worth the trek.
The biggest city on the Isle of Skye has that picturesque famous row of colored homes in its harbor. If you’ve ever seen the movie Maid of Honor, you may recognize those buildings from the bachelorette party scene. While we didn’t spend a lot of time here, we stopped by Cafe Arriba to grab lunch. A delicious latte with a bowl of mac and cheese was perfect as we enjoyed our view of ships in the harbor.
Tucked away there are not real legends of fairies existing here, but you could easily think they would. The place has an otherworldly fee with small mounds of hills and the a big stone basalt that juts out from its peaks This big stone is called Castle Ewan and you can hike to its top (but it is narrow) to enjoy the views of the surrounding countryside.
On my top ten castles of Scotland post (found here), I mentioned this castle. I won't bore you with the details again on why to visit it, but it's a most stop.
The Fairy Pools
These pools are a hike that takes you towards the mountain. Along the hike you will see some cute waterfalls, swimming pools, all with a dramatic backdrop. I have seen some beautiful pictures of some of the pools, but alas that was not what we saw that day. It had rained pretty heavily and the the water was really flowing along the path we hiked. It wasn’t ideal or safe for taking a swim at the time. One of the islands many moods snuck up on us here and so we headed back after walking along the pools for about a mile.
Created by a series of landslides, everything about this areas is picture perfect Scottish countryside. You feel like you are seeing creation as it was meant to be viewed. We drove up the narrow road to its peak and parked. Though lots of places to hike, we didn’t have far to go to capture a stunning view of the valley below.
Neist Point Lighthouse
This light house juts out into the ocean and offers breathtaking views of the tall cliffs and water. Its a lovely place for a hike but be warned there are some steep parts. Its a nice path but there are literally stairs that go down the cliffs. The hike up is doable but may not be for those in terrible shape. The lighthouse itself wasn’t so great as had some trash laying around, but that is such a small area. There is plenty of greenery to explore and it's the scenery that makes it worth the visit. I could have stayed there all day listening to the waves. We went in the morning but upon researching after, it seems the evening is the best time to go and watch the sunset. As such in this picture below from Pixabay.
Those are just the highlights, but this small chunk of the world is a treasure chest of wonderful gems to explore. This isle has something remarkable around every corner. It’s a reflective place that makes you want to slow down and enjoy nature. Skye is its own faerie and it will easily lure you under it spell.