Scotland’s Isle of Skye: not just a pretty place

Scotland’s Isle of Skye: not just a pretty place

I have the privilege of calling the Isle of Skye the closest thing to being my ‘home’.  It’s where my parents live. However, for me I’ve only visited on a couple of occasions and never lived there for a long time.  When I do see them, I always find out there’s something else to the island that makes it more than just a breathtakingly beautiful landscape.  The island is definitely magical and the rugged terrain makes for some of the best scenery on the planet.  There are many different aspects of why somebody would want to visit the Isle of Skye.  Surprisingly, the island is not swamped with as many tourists as you may think.  It remains a travel secret.  Most sights on the island are free to see as well, making it all the more reason to go. 

Isle of Skye

Getting in & Around

The way there is precarious, a two lane highway that zigzags through the highlands.  But it is one of the most beautiful drives one could ever take.  It takes you along the banks of Loch Ness (yeah, you know the story there) and through the epic terrain of Glencoe and Lochalsh.  You’ll see mountains jutting from the water’s edge straight into the clouds.  It reminds me of giants whose heads are too high to see.  The drive starts from Glasgow and takes you to the southern tip of the island where a new bridge connects the Isle of Skye to the mainland.

There’s also a bus that runs this route.  The drive takes most of the day and the bus isn’t any slower.  There is also a train which drops you at the start of the bridge to the Isle Skye from Edinburgh.

Once on the island, you can find a bus that does a circuit around it during the day.  By nightfall nothing happens, so be sure you’re settled by then.  Hitching is a wonderful option to get around the island.  Lots of friendly locals willing to help out a backpacker in need.  I know of only two hostels on the island and during the summer and they’re always full, therefore  reservations are a must here.

The best way to see the island is to camp around and hike on foot.  There’s not many places left in the world where you can ‘go off the grid’ but the Isle of Skye remains one of them. 

Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye in movies

Yes, it’s true.  The Isle of Skye has seen its fair share of Hollywood big shots shooting flicks about anything from aliens to sword-wielding heroes.  Some of my favorite movies include: Prometheus, Stardust, and the cult classic, Highlander.  Currently they are shooting a new movie on Skye which is a remake of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.  Who knows, maybe if you walk in to one of the local pubs you just might see a celebrity nursing a pint! 

Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye’s history

All the way since Prehistoric times people have been living on this small island. The island has also seen Viking settlers live on it and there are some places rumored to have Viking boats still buried and disguised as hills.  During WW2 German U-boats would land on the island at night and steal fresh water from the island’s numerous streams.  Most famously, Skye is the final resting place of Scotland’s historical sweetheart; Flora Macdonald.  So between trekking from one hill to another don’t be surprised if you run into the old ruins of a castle or the wreckage of a WW2 bomber.  The island has it all.

Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is magic… literally!

I’ve been perplexed more than just a few times running across pictish symbols made of stones on heather moors, or walking down a trail and seeing a stone stack where there wasn’t one before.  Supposedly the Pictish symbols are places of Druidic worship and the stone stacks are when fairies turn into stone during the daytime.  There are lots of landmarks named after mythical creatures such as trolls and fairies.  There is still a great deal of belief in the magical realm on this island.  Don’t be fooled if nobody talks about it.

– David

A few more photos from the island:

Isle of Skye

A haunted house on the Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

Ruins of a castle on Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye waterfall

Isle of Skye waterfall

Isle of Skye

By the Cuillin mountain range

2 thoughts on “Scotland’s Isle of Skye: not just a pretty place

    • Yes Jonathan I have heard the train is very spectacular! I haven’t had the privilege yet of riding it but when I do I’ll be sure to add some information on it.

      I’d recommend to anyone who visits the island to take the short drive past Uig up to the Fairy Glen. It’s a natural anomaly that’s overlooked by many visitors as a place of interest. If you park your car at the Glen and keep walking farther down the road the road will eventually take you to the foot of the tallest mountain of the Trotternish Peninsula. It makes for a beautiful and easy walk.

      Remember, the island’s laws are that of the right to roam so there’s no need to worry about trespassing anywhere. It is more than ok to hop a fence if there’s one in the way of your destination.

      Happy travels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *