Our next stop on our path north was the Isle of Skye. I’d been looking forward to this part of the trip since we started planning it. This beautiful island condenses the best of Scotland’s scenery into a small package for anyone willing to make the extended trip north. Exploring the island you’ll find sandy white beaches, seaside cliffs, brilliant hiking, natural wonders and excellent food and drink.

Anyone planning some time of Skye can easily split their trip into manageable regions over a couple of days. For us the journey starts on the Trotternish peninsula, where we found our bed and breakfast. Here are some of the stops we made on the Trotternish Peninsula. Best of all their free and easily accessible by car or bus.

Fairy Glen

Castle Ewan in Fairy Glen
Castle Ewan in Fairy Glen. Credit: NathanDukesArt
Fairy Glen Isle of Skye Scotland
Strange markings in the Fairy Glen. Credit: NathanDukesArt

Anyone searching the spirits and supernatural will do well to make a stop at the Fairy Glen. This otherworldly place, with a landscape that feels deliberately placed rather than naturally formed, is great for an hour of exploration and discovery. Climb Castle Ewan for a better vantage of your surroundings, puzzle over the numerous stone circles and patterns, or just sit in the quiet and embrace the strangeness of it all. Arrive early to enjoy in silence.

Kilvaxter Souterrain

It’s only a five minute stop, but worth it for a bit of island history. Found entirely by accident in the year 2000, this ancient underground storage chamber is one of the few open to the public. The entry is a little cramped, and you won’t get far inside if there’s been rain, but it’s cool to see how past inhabitants made do in the harsh island environment.

Duntulm Castle

Duntulm Castle
Duntulm Castle. Credit: NathanDukesArt

Brilliant remains of a 15th century castle on a high cliff at the north of the peninsula. It’s hard to imagine living in such a place, with the howling wind and churning sea below, but the chiefs of clan MacDonald did just that.
The castle itself is fenced with a warning about unstable ground, but it won’t stop you if you’re keen. Much of the stone has been removed, but anyone with an imagination will appreciate the beauty. Ten minute walk from the car park.

Rubha Hunish hike

Duntulm Castle from the Rubha Hunish hike.
Duntulm Castle from the Rubha Hunish hike.
Peering over the cliff at Rubha Hunish
Peering over the cliff at Rubha Hunish. Credit: NathanDukesArt

Skye has an abundance of bird life and this hike would be recommended for anyone with such an interest. This mostly flat walk takes you through the moorlands to the high cliffs at the tip of the peninsula. You can enjoy the views and turn back or head down the steep path to the lower peninsula to chance spotting the dolphins, whales and nesting birds that frequent the isolated area. Minimum 2 hours return.

Quiraing

The Quiraing Isle of Skye Scotland
The Quiraing. Credit: NathanDukesArt

One of the most famous areas on the island, and a highlight of our trip. This long picturesque escarpment was formed by a land slip, and offers great walking and photography. At the farthest point of the trail you’ll find rocky pinnacles similar to the Old Man of Storr. Allow 2-3 hours for the full loop, or walk five minutes into the trail: you’ll appreciate the view no matter what.

Mealt Falls / Kilt Rock

Mealt Falls Kilt Rock Isle of Skye Scotland
Mealt Falls. Credit: NathanDukesArt

The eastern edge of the peninsula is one almost continuous cliff face, and a glance at our local map revealed dozens of waterfalls flowing off into the ocean. The most accessible of which is Mealt Falls near Kilt Rock. Two minutes walk from the car and your hanging over the edge trying to get a great photograph of the fresh water crashing into the ocean. Go in the morning for the best light.

Old Man of Storr

The Old Man of Storr Isle of Skye Scotland
The Old Man of Storr at sunrise. Credit: NathanDukesArt

The very first photograph I saw of Skye was The Old Man of Storr. I was convinced of my need to visit almost immediately. The jagged pinnacles stand tall against the hillside, and many feet make the steep climb everyday. Some photographers even attempt the hike for a spectacular sunrise. Allow 2 hours to make the climb and explore. Read about our trip the The Storr

Portree

The main town on the island, and the home to a fleet of fishing boats and sightseeing tour vessels. Seafood restaurants and charming pubs can be found on every street, but you’d be hard pressed to find cheap accomodation in the summer.

Posted by:Nathan Dukes

Nathan is an Australian journalist, photographer and graphic designer

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