Five days on Skye
I’d wanted to visit Skye ever since I’d first glimpsed the tops of the Cuillin hills some years earlier when climbing Bidean Nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamlach with Chris and our dad. Now, with good weather forecast for the coming days, bags packed and travel plans made, I was excited to be heading up to the north west highlands for a five days exploring this enchanting island.
Wednesday 27 November 2019
It was an early start to catch the 08.09 train from Crewe train station headed for Glasgow. Unfortunately, due to technical issues, what should have been an 11.50 arrival into Glasgow Central turned into a train evacuation and eventual arrival time of 18.00!
Train issues behind us, we picked up our hire car from Glasgow Airport (which is around a 20 minute bus journey/taxi from Glasgow Central Station) and drove in the dark up to Kinlochleven - a small village north of Glencoe and south of Fort William. The drive took around two and a half hours and would be spectacular during day time.
Accommodation night 1: “The Wee Hut” - hosted by Rob and Denise Headden. Great place to stay; cosy little cabin with friendly hosts and tasty breakfast.
Thursday 28 November 2019
After a quick walk (on our Airbnb host’s recommendation) to see the Falls of Foyers waterfall just behind our accommodation, we hit the road for Mallaig where we would catch the 16.30 ferry across to Armedale on the Isle of Skye.
The car journey to Mallaig was stunning and we stopped several times to take photos. Recommended pitstops include the Glenfinnan Monument and viaduct - I would also highly recommend turning off the main A830 road at Arisaig to take the “Alternative Coastal Route” (road B8008) which takes in beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters.
We arrived in Mallaig in good time and enjoyed some fish and chips before catching the ferry. Note - book the ferry in advance if coming in a car as there are only 10 spaces for vehicles and it gets booked up!
The crossing across to Armedale only takes 30 minutes. By the time we arrived it was dark and we drove across the island to our accommodation in Roag in the south west corner.
Accommodation for remainder of the trip: Taigh Chalum, Roag - hosted by the Mackenzie family.
Friday 29 November 2019
Woke early on Friday to sunshine and dramatic views of The Cuillin hills in the distance. Erupting from the earth the Cuillin hills dominate the skyline and are quite unlike anything else in the UK.
On our first full day on Skye we explored the ‘Fairy Pools’ - crystal clear pools of water in the shadow of the Black Cuillins. The path to the pools is well defined, rocky in parts but on the whole straightforward. There are stepping stones in places, which those with shorter legs may require assistance with! Parking is at the Forestry Commission gravel car park sign posted ‘Glumagan Na Sithichean’ costing £5.00 (cash only).
After visiting the pools and following a recommendation we drove a short distance south to the tiny township of Bualintur where there is a stunning beach with black sand - definitely worth a look.
On our way back to our accommodation we called in at the Talisker whiskey distillery, enjoying a wee dram! The distillery tour was fully booked when we arrived, so book in advance to avoid disappointment!
Saturday 30 November 2019
Beautiful day with clear blue skies and a thick frost covering the ground. Wherever you are on Skye there are mountains on the horizon and with the air being so clear today you could see for miles.
First we headed to Niest Point to see the abandoned light house which looks out across the Hebrides and in the afternoon we crossed to the north of the island where we hiked up to the Old Man of Storr - a collection of rocky pinnacles which have become symbols of Skye and are well worth the 30 - 45 minutes hike up from the main car park.
It’s easy to think that remote, beautiful, wild places only exist in far flung corners of the world. However, the Isle of Skye is an oasis of wild, rugged land that can be reached within a day's travel from pretty much anywhere in the UK by road and rail (and ferry or bridge). This was my first visit, and I can’t wait to return. A traverse of the Cuillin ridge is calling some day!
If you’ve got recommendations for places to visit/things to do on the Isle of Skye, Chris and I would love to hear them as we will both be back.