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I could not wait to visit the Isle of Skye! You know that feeling you got when you were a kid at Christmas and you thought you were getting an Atari or a Pong, that kind of feeling. This beautiful island has been a dream for me for quite some time, even before coming to Germany. I love to hike and hitting this part of Scotland was on the top, top of my list. Indeed, once we had the opportunity to this Scottish Isle, I could see the AWE in this Instagram phenomenon! After a stop off in Edinburgh and Inverness we headed north for a few days and I was so excited I think I even squealed.
If you’ve read my blog, you may have noticed I absolutely love Scotland. It’s one of my favorites. The landscape, the people, the food, spectacular. Yup, that’s the trifecta for me. They also make some pretty good gin and whisky, so that is just a major BONUS, but I’ll talk about that later.
What you can expect ~
- Skye is filled with small towns all around the island and even smaller roads. Don’t rent a BIG car – you’ll regret it. We had a wee little car and JP doesn’t like to drive the opposite side, ya know, that’s o.k. I love it. My creative brain goes into overdrive trying to figure it all out. Just drive slow ~ like your grandpa and grandma.
2. The people were fantastic! Everywhere we went, from little pubs to roadside stands or passerby’s (sometimes we ran into a sheep-traffic-jam) and people would just begin chatting to one another. Mostly tourists and yet still happy, you ask why? Well, they were in Skye, of course!
3. Portree is just busy and the main town for the whole island. If you decide to stay here and make this your base camp…DON’T. I loved it, it was cute and had a few restaurants BUT you would be cheating yourself. Secondly, and trust me they get a lot of tourists. HOWEVER…. get your groceries here. It is basically the one and only BIG grocery store on the whole island – SO STOCK UP! If all CAPs mean I’m yelling its because I am, I’m not kidding. You may end up on the other end of the island and you are “outta luck” forgetting anything but snacks to tide you over from a gas station. Real story. Those aren’t plentiful either. So plan accordingly.
Unquestionably, the seagulls are evil here. I experienced such a tragic event with my “Fish and Chips” in Portree, I am still traumatized. Please, don’t listen to my husband, Jon tell the story. Clearly you would be laughing too much. To my shock, after the massive bird attack of my dinner and my face, I can say my pride will never be the same. Sorry, we were too slow to capture it on video! You can trust me though, it was “for real!”
~ On your way to Skye ~
Getting to Skye is another story altogether. Beyond Scotland proper, there are a plethora of islands to tour and visit. Skye has definitely received the chatter lately on Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Definitely, a distinct pleasure to drive from Inverness to Skye and we stopped along the way. Our first stop was the Redburn Cafe and Giftshop. If you get a chance, you can grab a bit of breakfast, coffee, and more. Their lovely picnic tables make it easy if you packed your own stash. Also, for a bit of quid, you can buy a little feed and hop over to the hairy cattle field across the street and feed the local cows. Super cool! Although quite a few horseflies in July! Ouch!! Still, fun to snap a few shots.
Next, on your journey be sure to stop for either pictures or a tour of the Eilean Donan Castle. Not only is Eilean Donan a super cool castle, set on an inlet, it also has been filmed A LOT, almost 20!! Definitely, Bond, James Bond 007’s to Made of Honor, Elizabeth and Highlander to name a few. Obviously, I loved photographing this place. However, the ticket line to visit the castle was quite long so it was exterior photos only and then off to the island of Skye.
Eilean Donan Castle
First of all, we totally lucked out, as soon as I knew we could go to Scotland, I booked us right away and I am so glad I did. The Isle of Skye fills up super quick – almost a year OUT!
We stayed with John and Jackie McKay at the Hebron House near Portree ~ immediately we had a warm welcome – their personable, beautiful B&B makes you feel so incredibly special. Initially, John helped me BEFORE we even set foot in Skye. He wrote an email with wonderful ideas for hiking and exploring around the island and only a return visit would bring his suggestions proper respect. UGH, we just didn’t have enough time!
Every morning our breakfast was made to order and phenomenal and John always had more suggestions for us to visit. The night we arrived, I was clueless as to where to grab dinner, etc. or even know the area. They made reservations for us close by at the Edibane Inn and Jackie dropped us off and picked us up – so I could have a glass of wine… or gin and tonic. ‘Cause I was in Scotland.
Also, Skye has a policy now – 2 NIGHT MINIMUM – I actually love this policy. If you visit you must stay a minimum of two nights, it helps the B&B, hostels, etc and it cuts down on the riff-raff who are just looking to stamp their passports. Responsible tourism has been taken to the next level. LOVE IT! Way to go ~ Skye!
~ Nature’s paradise and history ~
John hooked me up with hiking trails but also historical sites. One of our first visits was the Museum of Island Life. In addition to their hardcore way of life islanders, the islanders were proud and strong. Consequently, it made me think of our teenagers that whine about bad internet service. These people faced frigid temperatures that were unbelievable, invaders who only wanted to pilage (by the way Rob Roy was not a great guy), and their indomitable spirit was mind-blowing. Well, for today’s standards. Ultimately, It made me so glad to have Scottish heritage. They were #hardcore.
~ Time for a hike ~
Flodiggary was the hike we were shooting for ~ on the opposite side of the island from Hebron House we drove along the coast until we reached this beautiful hiking trail and parking lot. It was actually filled with busses of hikers. YEA, no way… these were my peeps! Jon and I headed out on the trail that seemed slow and sloping, however, we learned really quick when a Skye-lander tells you it was an easy out and back – it’s not so much. For one thing, we really enjoyed a lot of great scenery. My camera exploded.
Kilt Rock & Mealt Fall Viewpoint
Also, after our adventurous hike, we headed to Kilt Rock and Mealt Fall Viewpoint this super cool basically photo op of the coastline and rocks that look like a kilt was uber cool and unbelievable. Unfortunately, after about an hour the busses started to arrive with non-hikers and LOTs of tourists, we decided it was time to move on. In addition to the crowds, a traffic jam ensued making our peaceful stop stressful.
Next, we headed to Roskill to the Stein Inn (the oldest inn on Skye) for some lunch. Thanks again, John and Jackie! We definitely had a great lunch with their sandwiches and beer, after our hike and site-seeing we were more than ready for anything!!
BTW, if you try these bacon fries, there’s no turning back… just sayin’!
~ Other stops along the way ~
These are just a few highlights of our adventures on the island. Visiting the beautiful Isle of Skye has been a dream come true for me. Ultimately, my only regret is the length of time it takes to get me back there. Among the rocks and hills, winds and valleys, furry cows, and open meadows. I can’t wait to go back!
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!
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