The Isle of Skye is a very special part of Scotland. It’s easily accessible from the mainland, but once you drive over that bridge you’re transported to an island that’s completely different to any other I’ve visited.
Adam and I spent a couple of day exploring Skye as part of our road trip through the Scottish Highlands. It was a place both of us were really excited to see and we weren’t disappointed.
Due to a lack of camp sites open in late November, we had to resort to staying in an Airbnb. We found a tiny cabin at a very reasonable price the night before we were due to arrive in Skye and although it was basic, host Ruarie is just about the nicest Scotsman you’ll ever meet.
On our first day we set about visiting the famous fairy pools, which despite the time of year and constant showers of rain, were surprisingly busy. It’s definitely worth following the marked path to the very end of the pools, as the higher we climbed into the valley, the more spectacular the pools got. The water was so incredibly clear – even in the chilly late autumn air, it looked tempting to go in for a swim!
Adam and I then made the drive out to Neist Point – the most westerly tip of Skye. It was blowing an absolute gale on the afternoon we were there. So much so, we both had difficulty at times doing the walk out to the disused light house on the point. The views are absolutely amazing. Sheer cliffs drop dramatically into the wild ocean, sea birds circle overhead and hardy sheep seem to find themselves grazing in the most precarious of places.
We underestimated the size of Skye and the amount of time it takes to get places (many of the roads on the Island are single carriageways), so if you’re planning on visiting make sure you allow plenty of time to get around places.
We also managed to fit in a visit to the Talisker Distillery, look for dinosaur bones on Staffin Beach, drive the Quiraing and walk to the top of the Old Man of Storr where we got the most incredible views over the island. Watching the sun dart in and out of clouds atop the Old Man and exploring the unique landscape around the peaks is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
We left Skye amazed and took the ferry over to the Isle of Harris and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, one of the most remote parts of Scotland. Here, the main spoken language is Scottish Gaelic. You don’t really feel like you’re in the United Kingdom, it feels almost like a foreign country and after visiting I got more of a sense as to why there was the push for Scottish independence.
The first part of our visit was focused on the southern part of the island- Harris. It has some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve stepped foot on. White sand and turquoise water, almost reminiscent of the Whitsundays, so close to my childhood home of Mackay, Queensland. We spent time at Hushinish and Luskentyre and both were just jaw-dropping.
Away from the coast, some of the scenery was very reminiscent of what Adam and I had seen a few weeks earlier in Iceland. It was very quiet – hardly any traffic on the road, and even running into local residents was a rarity. If you’re after a place to escape the world, Harris and Lewis certainly fits the bill.
Lewis is a lot flatter than Harris and lacks the drama of the south of island, but there are still stunning places to discover, like the gorgeous Bosta Beach.
We also loved the Blackhouse Museum at Arnol, which shows how local residents lived up until fairly recently.
If I’ve got one word of advice about the islands of Scotland, it’s this: go. You won’t regret it. The views, the friendly people and the crazy, windy weather. It is an amazing part of our world.