I’ve spent a lot of time in the Isle of Skye as my Grandparents and Auntie and Uncle have a house here. As a child, I use to come up at least once a year with my parents and brothers. I feel like I know the island insight out, yet 25 years on and i’m still discovering and exploring hidden gems!
Below are some of my favourite places to visit, especially as a Photographer. If it’s your first time visiting the Highlands then I really recommend the below.
1. Explore Neist Point
Neist Point could be one of the most popular destinations to visit on the island. I remember being 9 years old, visiting here and there not being a person in sight! Come to think of it, we use to visit Skye 1-2 weeks at a time and feel like we haven’t seen anyone else other than our family!
Now, it’s becoming pretty populated with the tourists. Locals offer taxi services and there’s even tours to visit the popular destinations around the island. I’d recommend hiring a car and exploring on your own as you are able to get to the desitations before anyone else (if you’re up for an early start!).
From the car park at the top it’s a beautiful 20 minute stroll down the steps and slops to the bottom where the light house sits. You are able to walk around the edges and down to the sea where there’s lot of rocks to scramble over. If you’re into fishing then definitely bring your gear as we’ve caught lots from Mackeral to Pollock and even Wrasse!
2. Swim in the Fairy Pools
Situated at the foot of my favourite mountain ranges on the island – The Black Cuillins. These pools are made up of crystal clear blue water running straight from the mountain and into the River Brittle. There’s plenty of places to swim (if you’re brave enough), along with a variety of different sized waterfalls.
We arrived around 7.30am in the morning to the Glen Brittle carpark to avoid the crowds. This area especailly can get very busy from people wanting to see the pools and walkers starting their hike up the Black Cuillins. I’d recommend arriving as early as possible and braving the cold swim – it’s well worth it!
3. Adventure to Loch Coruisk
Get here by foot or boat – it’s a must-see! A few years back I got the Bella Jane boat trip that went from Elgol to the fresh water lake of Loch Coruisk. It’s a great boat trip where you are able to (sometimes!) see Whales, Seals, Dophins, Puffins, Sea Eagles and Porpoises – depending on what time of year it is!
It takes you right up to Loch Coruisk which is situated at the foot of the black Cullins. If you’re lucky to have a clear day – the views are INSANE. If it’s clouded over it’s still an amazing adventure, almost as if you’ve been dropped into a scene out of Lord of the Rings.
4. Discover the Coral Beach
A 10 minute drive from Dunvegan Castle is the carpark for the Coral Beach in Claigan. The walk down to the beach is easy going along a farm track and takes about 25 minutes. Once you get there, you are welcomed with the beautiful views of a crushed white coral beach. If you happen to hit a sunny day, the water looks tropical blue, making it feel like you’re on a Caribbean Island. A truely magical place and well worth a visit!
5. Hike the Cuillin Mountains
If you’re like me and love a mountain hike then The Cuillins are a must! There’s a hike for all abilities, whether you’re someone who’d rather an afternoon stroll or someone who loves the idea of a 3 day 2 night, camp-as-you-go walk!
I’ve been visiting the Cuillin mountins a lot over the years and have walked many routes but this year I decided to take the Squrr Na Stri route – this has to be one of my favouties yet! It’s a long 15 mile walk through one of Scotland’s most impressive Glens – Glen Sligachan and then a 1620ft high assend to a magical viewpoint.
We started the walk by parking at the Glen Sligachan Hotel around 8am and headed into the Glen (be sure to take a map with you and be certain on the route you are taking – don’t rely on phone signal here!). This walk takes you in between the impressive Cuillins – The black to the right and the Red Cuillins to the left. It’s a very easy pathed, mostly flat, walk that takes arond 3 hours until you hit the foot of Squrr Na Stri. From here it’s a steep hike up to the peak (around 1.5 hours depending on your walking speed). Keep going because the views are SO worth it. We were lucky enough that it was a very sunny clear day but often these mountains, like most, have their own weather system so be prepared for the clouds to come in and visability to dissapear! From here there are many walks you can take that follow the mountain peaks in a horseshoe shape – i’ll definitely be attempting these another time.
You can find a list of some other must-do hikes in The Cuillins and information about them here.
6. Visit the colourful houses of Portree
Portree is the largest town in Skye and has a lovely selection of Scottish shops and local food! If you head down to the waters edge, there’s a beautiful row of colourful houses that are great for photoshoots! You can also head up to the Cuillin Hills Hotel for a view looking down and a lovely meal!
Other things we did…
We were in Skye for a week in total, which is plenty of time to visit some of the must-sees and take some days a little slower and take in your surroundings. We went fishing at Meanish Pier (not far from Neist Point) – we happened to pick a really stormy afternoon so was a little tricky to not get blown into the water but it was still a lot of fun!
We also did some shooting on the land (empty beers cans not animals!) with some of my dad’s guns that we keep up here!
Places to eat…
A really nice place to have coffee, breakfast and dinner is The Dunvegan – It’s just been bought by new owners and it has delicious deli style food and amazing coffee!
Another is Stein Inn – Skye’s oldest Inn for Dinner and a Sunday Lunch
Jann’s Cakes and Dunvegan Bakery to satisfy the sweet tooth cravings!
Red roof Cafe – for afternoon tea and lunch!