When we saw photos and videos of the Isle of Skye we were like… ‘Yep, we need to go and we need to go now!’…
Sadly COVID had other plans.
Our April trip was cancelled and so we spent the next 4 months daydreaming, planning and looking at photographs of various viewpoints and outdoor attractions and talking excitedly over blog ideas until at last… our prayers were answered and a date was released for Scotland to open their borders!
As we were travelling during COVID and we entered Scotland straight after they opened up, some of the usual tourist attractions such as whisky distilleries and boat trips were not accessible and shops and restaurants seemed to be on limited hours so we spent all of our time in the great outdoors!
Here are seven of our favourite things we visited, explored and hiked whilst on the beautiful Isle of Skye!
If you’re driving between places on the Isle of Skye in the same disorganised fashion as we did then you’re likely to come across Sligachan many times. It’s situated at a crossroads in the middle of the island. It is most famous for its bridge with one heck of a dramatic backdrop. This backdrop is Sgur Alasdair. One of the most impressive mountains in the Black Cullins.
If you’re not satisfied by just the bridge there is also a quaint and highly photogenic cottage about 500 yards up the road. So you can bag a few shots while you’re there! There is a hotel next to the bridge which would serve as a comfortable base camp should you want to stay the night and wake up and catch the early morning light in your photos. There is also a bar and brewery if you’re not bothered about waking up early!
Whether you choose to stay here or not it’s definitely worth stopping at, as you’ll undoubtedly be driving past it.
Parking is free and right next to the bridge which is very handy when you have a tight itinerary or it’s raining as it so often does!
There is a bar that serves food next to the hotel across the road if you get a little hungry from all of your exploring and photography!
There are toilets in the bar you can use if you ask nicely.
The bridge is very easily accessed as it is right by the side of the road.
This was easily our favourite place on the Isle of Skye and we ended up heading there three times in our two-week trip!
It is known as the Icon of Scotland and it’s so easy to see why….. it is simply breathtaking!
The hike takes you on a loop and is around 4.5 miles long ( and takes around 2 hours (if you don’t keep stopping and slipping and sliding like me) and takes you up and over the various pinnacles and spiky rocky formations!
But if you are not feeling up to the full hike or the weather is not on your side then you can walk as far as you feel you want to and just turn around and come back and the views are totally worth it! In all honesty… we preferred the views early on in the hike!
Parking is free and there is plenty of it with only a short walk to the views!
There are no toilets and not many places along the walk where you can have a sneaky wee either…. sorry Gals you will have to be brave or hold it
Wear walking boots or shoes with grip, some parts did require some climbing up and down of a few rocks ….and for me a slide on my bum down a muddy section of hill…. elegant ….
The Fairy pools
At the foot of the Black Cuillin mountain range sit the magical, mystical and midgy Fairy Pools!
The pools are famous for their crystal clear blue colour and often manage to entice brave tourists in for a wild swim despite the water being freezing cold! Do it for the gram right?
The walk there and back uses the same route and is around 2.5km and takes around 40 minutes… although way longer if you have a camera with you!
We can easily see why this gorgeous beauty spot attracts tourists to the mysterious Isle of Skye in its thousands!
There is a designated car park which costs £5 to park regardless of time spent and you are handed a map by a very nice parking attendant being attacked by midges.. a warning of what’s to come
The walk is pretty easy although there are a few stepping stones which can be difficult to cross if there is very heavy rain especially if you have a dog with you – we were told by a local that it was best to avoid altogether in very heavy rain!
The midges are ANOTHER LEVEL…. so bad. Take smidge and cover yourself in it, take a head net, a full-body suit, anything you have to cover every inch of your body. You will still get swarmed but at least they won’t bite you!
The steep short ascent on the way back up which we totally forgot about until we headed back reminded us of our shocking fitness level… be warned!
There are toilets in the visitor’s centre but sadly were not open for our trip due to COVID I think they opened in August so you are good to go!
Neist Point lighthouse is one of the most famous in Scotland.. perched on the most westerly tip of Skye on a beautiful rugged cliff edge, we can understand why.
The views are as dramatic as the windchill and the verticle walk down is made oh so worth it when you cast your eyes on the views below… although…. it’s rather high. Anyone with vertigo, keep away from the edge!!??
The lighthouse was first lit in 1909 and still lights up today and if you are lucky you will get to share your visit with whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks which are often spotted from the cliffs frolicking below. sadly no such luck for us. This means we will need to go back!
The walk down is very steep… no exaggeration. But there is a handrail to steady yourself an FYI, anyone with mobility issues, pushchairs or wheelchairs may find this very problematic.
There is a huge car park which is free to park in
Sunset from here is stunning if you can get the weather to play ball… we waited almost 4 hours and finally, the light peaked through!
- If you fancy getting up closer to this gorgeous landmark, there are boat tours where you can get a different perspective and learn more about the history along the way. Visit Scotland have some great information on this here: https://www.visitscotland.com/info/tours/neist-point-explorer-57ae61ea
Elgol is a small fishing village in the south of the island. From the rocky beach, you have a view of the rear of the Black Cullins on the other side of the shore. This is a popular place for sunset photography but personally, we prefer the light to be hitting our subject so head there for sunrise if you want to photograph details in the mountains. This place ended up being one of our favourite views of Skye.
This is a popular place for boat trips allowing you to see some of Skye’s wildlife. There are sea eagles, seals, puffins, dolphins and whales to be seen and a Day trip costs around £80 per person.
There are public toilets a tea shop, and hot dog stalls all right by the beach.
There are spectacular views and highland coos along the way so plan for a lot of stops.
Parking is free but limited. On a busy day, it may be tricky to park so plan to arrive before everyone else.
At some point, you’re bound to come across one of these majestic creatures. As we were driving from Portree towards Sligachan we noticed crowds of people by the side of the road. There was a lot of heavy braking and horn hooting going on which drew our attention. Then we realised that just over the fence there were about a dozen highland cows happily grazing by the side of the road.
They weren’t afraid of people. In fact, you could walk up and pet them if you wanted to. But we preferred to take shots from a distance. I think you’ll agree that the guy in the photo is pretty much the most magnificent being to have walked the Isle of Skye… He knows it too
The Old Man of Storr
This one is probably the Isle of Skye’s most famous landmark. Set on the side of a mountain the great stony spikes protrude from the ground. According to folk legend, the largest stone is the end of a giant’s hammer that he struck to the ground before laying to rest. You can see the stones from miles away even before arriving at the town of Portree.
We definitely underestimated the walk up to the top. Thinking we were going to have a “relaxed” day after arriving on Skye we headed up the peak. Unfortunately, the path was being redone so we had to clamber up the boggy hillside. This took us around an hour and is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Once you do reach the famous hammer stone be sure to walk maybe another 100 meters uphill to get the best photo spot looking over the rocks and the Loch below!
There is parking at the side of the road where you start your ascent.
Parking costs £3 for 3 hours which should be more than enough time to get up and down and take a few photos.
The walk up is steep and around 500m so pack light.
This place is particularly good for sunrise photography although it looks pretty spectacular at any time of the day.
To start planning your own Scottish adventure check out the beautiful locations below!