The cream of the crop of Scotland Highlands. The best of the best for nature and a treat for your eyes. The Isle of Skye is the most representative example of Scotland wonders as the rustic scenery that the country has. Perched up in the north western part of UK and Scotland. The remoteness of the place left this part of the earth rather untouched and still a feast for our eyes. The whole trip, The Bucket List, was planned around Skye. It was really at the top of my list at that point in time. Everyone have been raving about Scotland and the nature, the rugged landscape, a part of the world to be experienced. I am glad to say that I went before it become too touristy and crowded like Croatia or Iceland. Continuing on from the previous part, we drove up from Edinburgh, stopping for a visit at Macallan, then we went Inverness for petrol and to get some food. This might be a rather lengthy post since I will be sharing all the places I went to around Skye. Not to worry, there would be plenty of photos too.
It was roughly about a 3 hours journey up to Portree. With the view getting better and better as we approach the island of Skye and the surrounding. My dad did most of the driving for this part and I stayed glued to the windows. We pass by Loch Ness as well although there is no monster to be sighted, seems that I am lucky. We took a random stop somewhere on the road up before the Eilean Donan Castle just to stretch our legs and the place was so lovely. We almost had the whole place to ourselves for a moment as well. It look so perfect for a BBQ or a picnic. This simply just give us a little insight on what a treat we are going to have for the next few days.
Eilean Donan Castle was first up. It was on the way while driving up to portree. You definitely can’t miss it since it is just off A87. We were there at around 7pm, although it certain look like it is in the afternoon right. Another perk of travelling in the peak of summer. Especially when we are this far north, it doesn’t get dark until like 11pm. Eilean Donan was dreamy and perfect. The picture perfect castle from the 13th century that is perched out in the loch and a bridge linking it from the mainland. How classic and perfect for a wedding! In fact you can certainly do it well if you have money you can book the whole place. The surrounding are absolutely gorgeous. It is the perfect place to take pictures. The castle is open from 10am to 6pm in the summer and earlier in the winter.
From there we drove past the Skye Bridge to Isle of Skye. The Skye Bridge is the only land link between Isle of Skye and the mainland. Previously you will need to take a ferry at Mallaig. Do keep in mind to use the Skye bridge road when using navigation. We basically rest up for the rest of the first day since we have been driving practically the whole day. We were out bright and early in the morning the next day, right after a hearty breakfast. The very first place of interest goes to! Drumroll…… Claigan Coral Beach! It is about 25 miles out from Portree and we will there in no time. I at first wanted to head to the Dunvegan Castle first but it does require a ticket. Honestly speaking everywhere is simply so amazing in Skye and gorgeous. You don’t need to spend any money to sightsee! Do note that the last few miles of the roads were unpaved and mostly just a single lane. This is rather common in Skye and you constantly have to pay attention to oncoming traffic! I love how polite drivers are in Skye and there are plenty of lookouts to give way to others. In fact, everyone is not in a rush with such gorgeous scenery!
The end of the road lies, Claigan Coral Beach Carpark, which is mark on Google Maps as well. The beach and waterfront area is a short walk from here and you will be accompanied by the greens as well as sheeps. It is a simple flat easy stone bath to the beach. The carpark is quite small, perhaps space for around 10 cars. I love how peaceful this place is and the view of Loch Dunvegan is perfect. Nice place for a walk while listening to the sound of the water, wind running thru your hair and the smell of the sea.
After clearly spending way too much at Claigan Coral Beach we headed west, in fact, to the most western point of Skye. The Neist Point Lighthouse. This is a super popular and crowded attraction, in fact I think the most crowded one that I have seen throughout my stay in Skye. I guess it is attractive cause it is really spectacular and the nearby greens and views were impressive as well. In fact there was even a jam while we are getting up to the place. The car park was pretty huge but it is way too crowded. People are even parking on the side of the road. Do note that there is no toilet facilities here as well. I first enjoy the grounds at the top, admiring the lush greens and the sheeps. It is really windy here and the view is mindblowing!
Neist Point Lighthouse is located in Waterstein and at the top of the peak. From the carpark area you have to walk down a long path and flight of steps to the lighthouse. I highly recommend this place so much, it is one of my favourite. Then it is a long winding path to the lighthouse. Do watch out for the numerous landmines by sheeps enroute. Getting down there was not an issue, although getting back up is quite a tough climb. You will definitely spend more time at each site than expected cater more time. Check out some of the impressive pictures I had here. This is definitely one of my favourite place.
We then went to the town of Carbost for a late lunch at Oyster Shed. I have shared extensive about this in the previous post. Talisker Distillery, a well known and popular whisky is also made right here in Carbost. Imagine how amazing it is when it is made with water from Skye! I kinda love this town, it is quaint and scenic. It is small and we just took a walk around here after lunch!
On our third day in Skye, up bright and early in the morning, it was time for a nice little hike at Old Man of Storr, ok perhaps not that easy actually. The Old Man of Storr got to be the most iconic and representative attraction in Isle of Skye. It is actually a rock formation located in the northern area of Skye in the Trotternish Peninsula. The name come about when it look like a towering old man watching over Skye. There isn’t really a parking space here but people are just parking on the side of the roads. It was super packed and crowded since this is like the most famous attraction of all time!
Starting the climb and the hike up, it is about a 2km walk each way. It is windy, steep and uneven and rather slippers at certain parts of the way. The steps are super uneven and tough, at least for the normal people like me who do not have any hiking experience. It is definitely not easy and you require a certain fitness level. I am definitely not prepared since I was in sneakers. Hiking boots were certainly recommended. I am not even sure that I made it all the way, but I simply did the best I could. I did went rather high though. Tough but the views are so spectacular and amazing. Nothing beats sitting down on the grass and gaze over the views. Needless to say, I took more than enough pictures as well. Google is a liar. It is definitely longer and further that what Google Says. It feels like coming down was even more challenging. Can’t imagine how people do it in the wain or when it is wet.
Staffin An Corran Beach was next up. It is located in Staffin, just a short drive from Old Man of Storr. In contrast to Claigan above, this is much more crowded and many people are enjoying a day on the beach. It isn’t really a sandy white one but rather the waters are the highlight here. The water are all so clear and gorgeous in Scotland. It is rather beautiful with the mountain standing behind it. A pic of my ride that takes me to all the nice place also.
Another worthy place to check out was the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls which is near Staffin as well. This is a popular observation site for one of the most impressive waterfalls in Skye. This is just a short stop, since the place is rather small and you can get like really near to the falls also. I love how panoramic the views of the falls and the sea as well. It really felt like there is no end and it is just the blue water over the horizon.
On our very last day staying in Skye, we went to Quiraing! This mountain range is right smack in the middle of the island, it cuts across the middle. An ancient landslide along the Trotternish Ridge. The 6.8km hiking loop promise the most impressive views that you will be treated to. It is super impressive and amazing. High up in the mountains, this is also the most challenging drive that we encountered. It is right in the mountain with winding steep narrow roads with no room for error.
There is very limited parking at the place, especially since we are here in the peak of the travelling season. Be careful here while enjoying the spectacular views. I love all my pictures taken here. It is quite a far walk if you are making all the way up. High cliffs, hidden plateaus and pinnacles of rock, it is a dream come true for any keen photographer. I am sure it will get more impressive view and formation than me if you explore further than I did.
As mentioned earlier the Quiraing is in the middle and connected Staffin and Uig on both side of the island. There is one single track road here. It is recommended to link up visiting Uig with Quiraing. I will recommend to head to Uig after Quiraing since you will be able to grab a view of the town of Uig from the top before heading into the city. This gives you a good bird eye view of the whole town. The town itself is rather lacklustre, with it mostly for people getting the ferry to offshore islands! The local beer brewery, Isle Of Skye Brewing Company can be found here as well.
Duntulm Sea Viewpoint the last attraction that I went to in Skye. This is literally the most northern point of Isle of Skye and the UK. It gives you sweeping view of the ocean and the waters. I love how peaceful it is here. Imagine the clear water and the sheeps just right in front of your naked eye. I even went to take a nice little phone call right on the edge of the water. A dream come true!
Last but not least, the town of Portree, my base for all the adventures in Portree. This “Largest” town in Isle of Skye is the centre of business, where you can find the bank and other business. It is the actually pretty small but still sufficient and probably the place for you to run your errands and grab supplies.
The harbour is rather idyllic and pretty. I am blessed to live 5 days here with the view every single time I open my eyes every morning.
I would also like to point out the best fish and chips in the island here where you can find at the harbour. Which is this stall that is located right next to The Lower Deck restaurant. There is constantly a queue outside. Another worthy affordable food option is the chinese takeaway store, Fat Panda. Huge portion and affordable price for those who are lazy to cook.
Here are some other random spots around the area and pictures that I have taken including this private ground in Portree which is owned by a private family but open to the public. In fact it is so amazing that you can stop anywhere you want if you like and it will be still like a postcard. There are plenty of places where you can stop at the side of the road. Now the most important tips, where to get the cheapest petrol on Skye. The cheapest place would be the Co-op Petrol station shortly after the Skye bridge.
5 A87, Broadford, Isle of Skye IV49 9BF, UK
While the cheapest place near Portree would be the Gulf Portree Filling Station. I am thankfully that I did not spend too much on petrol since the car that I drove was a hybrid and rather fuel efficient. You should pay around 1.20 pounds per liter. Anything more than that is overpriced. The BMW X2 that keep me on the road for the past week! Such a smooth ride. You will constantly have some company on the road as well.
The last place that I would like to share would be the Glenfinnan Viaduct which is actually not in Skye. It is near Fort Williams and I made a trip there while driving down from Skye enroute to Glasgow! I have always wanted to see this place. For those who did not know this is actually a setting from Harry Potter, where it is mentioned frequently in the series. Think of the train to hogwarts! It is an iconic 1901 railway viaduct with a curving, 21-arch span. Do note that you have to pay for parking which cost 3 pounds. It is then a short 5 mins walk behind the visitor centre to get a view. It would be perfect if you are here just nice when the train is passing by, although that sounds too good to be true!
I had the most amazing time in Isle of Skye. I would like to say that I would not be back but I love it so much. The remoteness of the place is both what I love about it as well as the deterrence. The most popular and crowded attractions are definitely the Neist Point Lighthouse, Old Man of Storr and Quairing. I’m lucky to be here in summer where the sun only sets like 10pm here. We could definitely have seen more stuff and did more things, but in such a beautiful place, take your time, slow down your pace and soak it all.