The Isle of Skye is magical. Whether you cross the bridge or arrive by boat, it can feel like you’ve entered an entirely different country. The landscape, in places like the Quiraing, is so starkly different from the mainland that you may even feel like you’ve crossed to the realm of the fae!
Driving or taking a ferry are two options. You can also get there by train; go from Glasgow to Mallaig, then the ferry to Skye, or leave from Inverness to Kyle, and take a bus on to the Island. We were based in Inverness and chose to take a 1-day tour to the island with Happy Tours.
Skye is a popular destination, so you’ll find no shortage of tour options. Selecting a tour that best suits your needs, schedule, and budget can be a bit daunting. If none of the standard tours cover your bucket list, and you would rather not travel on your own, a bespoke (custom) tour may be your best option.
Check this handy planner for routes around Scotland, by all modes of transportation. https://www.travelinescotland.com/
Places to Go
The capital of the Isle of Skye is the charming village of Portree. Often included as a stop on day tours to Skye, Portree is also accessible by daily bus service between Glasgow and Inverness. Along with the natural beauty and picture postcard worthy buildings, you can find pubs, shops, accommodations, and several lovely places to enjoy a meal.
Dunvegan Castle is the seat of the chief of the Clan MacLeod and has been continuously occupied by the same family for 800 years. It’s open to visitors from April 1st through October 15th. Who else just heard “I am Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod” in their head?
Eilean Donan Castle
While not on the Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan Castle is on the way and well worth a stop. Eilean Donan is a small tidal island in the Western Highlands where three lochs meet; Loch Duich, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh. It’s easy to see why this is one of the most photographed castles in the world.
The gorgeous Elgol coastline! Elgol is a village on the shores of Loch Scavaig towards the end of the Strathaird peninsula on the Isle of Skye.
Kilt Rock, Trotternish
The name ‘Kilt Rock’ comes from its resemblance to the folds in a kilt and is adorned by the Mealt Waterfall. As an added bonus we were treated to the goosebump-inducing sounds of the bagpipes being played by a handsome man in full dress kilt. Mist, rain, or shine, it is beautiful!
We had a great day and made fantastic memories. John kept re-positioning us until we got the waterfall in the background. A good guide will know where to take you for the best photos. A great guide will do so while informing and entertaining you along the way. Many thanks to John McGillivray Coleman for a very memorable day on Skye, and for sharing your knowledge and wit.
The Quiraing once seen, is never forgotten. The Quiraing is a landslip on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach, the northernmost summit of the Trotternish Ridge, on the Isle of Skye. Photos truly don’t do it justice. Even in pouring down rain it was well worth the climb for this memory.
The Quiraing may look familiar, as it has been used for filming in movies including; Macbeth (2015), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), 47 Ronin (2013), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Transformers, The Last Knight (2017), and more.
Old Man of Storr
Standing like a protector, Old Man of Storr is a section of the Trotternrish Ridge which is the longest geological landslip in Great Britain. It is believed be the remains of an ancient volcanic plug from the Tertiary geologic period (65 million to 2.58 million years ago). The Old Man of Storr can be easily viewed from the road, or you can hike up its scenic paths. This iconic pinnacle overlooks the east of the island. It was breathtaking to see! We felt like we were in another realm – most of Isle of Skye felt that way, really!
Glen Brittle Fairy Pools
Glen Brittle is located in the south of the Isle of Skye. It runs along the River Brittle, which originates at Loch Brittle (a sea loch). The glen is shadowed from the east by the Cuillins, the largest mountains on Skye. Tributaries of the Brittle run down from the mountains into the glen, creating the magical Fairy Pools.
The Fairy Glen
This dramatic landscape makes you feel as though you’ve stepped into the magical realm of the fae folk. These unique geological formations are actually the result of a landslip, similar to the one that created the nearby Quiraing. The closest town to the Fairy Glen is Uig, on the western coast of the Trotternish Peninsula.
Did you know there were dinosaurs on Skye? Staffin Bay Beach provides plenty of evidence in the sandstone of the beach. You can check for prints near the walkway down to the beach at Staffin, but keep in mind the prints are covered by the sea at high tide and may be covered by sand in the summer. Even if the tracks aren’t visible, the natural beauty always is.
It’s true that you can see these lovely Highland Cattle (or Heilan’ Coos as they are known in Scotland) by chance in your travels. If a coo sighting is a high priority for you, be sure to ask a local, or your guide if they know of any in your area. On our Skye day trip, our guide went a bit out of his way to make sure we saw some coos.
A parting note fittingly played on the bagpipes! I surprised my sister Wendy on her birthday with this video dedicated to her and filmed on Skye by the Munro Bagpiper. The song, of course, was “The Skye Boat Song”. I am sure all the Outlander TV series fans will recognize it as the show’s theme. This is, in fact, a Scottish Jacobite Song detailing Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s fleeing from Scotland to France after the devastating loss at Culloden in April 1746.