8 Days in the Isle of Skye: Part II

On our last few days on Skye, we took it easy and didn’t do any hiking. Though we had great weather the entire time on the island, a couple days on the last leg of the trip were cloudy and humid, making it perfect conditions for midges, which I’ll touch on the subject later.

Highlights: Days 6 – 8

For my post covering days 1 -5, click here.

Old Man of Storr

The Storr is a rocky hill on the Trotternish Peninsula, and the Old Man is a large pinnacle standing high and so massive it can be seen miles away. This particular day was cloudy and humid. We were warned about midges by our host, but we hadn’t encountered them yet until this day — a visit to the Storr and an attempt to get a closer look at the Old Man. Midges are mosquito-like buggers, but smaller, that swarm you. They like hair follicles and love to suck your blood. They prefer cloudy and humid days in the summertime and avoid the sunny days.

As we got out of the car, a cloud of midges swarmed us, mostly Nick, and that was the end of our attempt to walk the trail to the Old Man. If anything can ruin a walk for us more so than rain, it would be bloodsucking bugs. So, having seen the Old Man from online and in person, though not up close, we were fine aborting our up-close plan.

Portree

The largest town in Skye is Portree, and this is the place where you’ll find the only organic health store on the island: Jackson Wholefoods. For being the ‘big’ town, it is quite small, and you’ll see a lot of other tourists walking around here, too. It doesn’t take long to walk around, perusing, scoping out cute little shops and walking its harbor.

Fairy Glen

The Fairy Glen is an unusual location that has been transformed by a landslide into small round-topped grassy hills. The place is a mystical playground with its verdant hills and mounds, great for climbing and exploring.

Once we arrived, we walked on the road between the Fairy Glen, passing the pond and scoping a trail to follow. At first it felt like we were on the path to another world, like Dorothy walking in the Land of Oz. But the thought only lasted for a few minutes, then I was on a mission to find the circle, the cairns and Castle Ewan.

One of the hills has a basalt topping that looks like a ruin, which is named Castle Ewan. Along with other tourists, we took turns to climb to the top, one at a time because there isn’t much room. At the top, you had a 360 view of the glen.

Stein

Stein, a crofting township with the oldest inn on the island, is set on a picturesque location against Loch Bay on the Waternish Peninsula. It is also here where a Michelin star restaurant is located at, Loch Bay Restaurant.

Stein is not too far off from where we stayed. Every time we came back to the cottage, our view of Loch Bay was amazing, especially at sunset. This side of the peninsula had the sunset, but we had the sunrise from the east. I did see the sunrise one morning but unfortunately did not photograph it.

Plockton

On our last day, we explored Plockton, a fishing village outside of Skye. Being done with the island, we decided to visit this “Jewel of the Highlands” based on a local’s recommendation. We walked along the village’s harbor and pier, taking in the classic view of Plockton before heading into Glasgow for a last visit to the city.

Tips on Visiting Skye

If you’re interested in visiting the Isle of Skye, do it! But if you are going to come out all this way, here are a few things to note:

When to go

We went at the end of May and got so incredibly lucky with the weather. Most people go and will get rain for a few days, if not their entire trip. We never got rain, except for one day, but it was early morning around sunrise and did not affect us. If you’re looking for good weather for hiking, when it’s mostly dry, aim for May and June. July is apparently the hottest month, but I’d say May is the better month because June through August becomes too crowded with tourists, and driving around Skye is not that fun, which brings me to my next tip…

Driving in Skye

Yes, a car is definitely needed when visiting Skye. You’ll be spending a lot of time driving to your destinations because it takes forever to get from one location to the other — even if it’s not that far away. This is because you have to drive on single-track roads the majority of the time. And the more traffic there is, the worse it is. After driving on Skye, we were so sick of one-lane roads.

Another thing to note while driving in Skye, besides dealing with single-track roads, are the myriad potholes. You literally have to watch out for them, unless you want to bang and ruin your rental car.

Book Ahead

Skye is a popular place, especially during the high season, so it’s crucial to book your accommodations months ahead. We got lucky with Creagach Cottage, and I highly recommend this place if you’re looking for a great stay on the northwest part of the island.

Enjoy, but don’t rush

Visiting Skye is not to be rushed (like any other trip, IMO). Allow yourself plenty of time to see and do the things you want to do on the island. And because driving from one location to another eats up a lot of time, it’s best to not cram a lot of things for one day. I’d say a week on the island is the right amount of time, but you could probably do it in five days or less if you don’t plan on doing any long hikes.

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