Over the sea, to Skye

This is part 3 of our road trip through Scotland.

On our third day, we drove to the island of Skye, in the Hebrides. Its rocky slopes provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in Scotland and some of the best hiking routes. Along the coastline, we passed by enchanting villages, inlets, bays and jaw-dropping cliffs and had an unusual face to face with a friendly Highland cow.

Stylish Highland cow
Stylish Highland cow

Heading west on the A87, we  arrived on the shores of Loch Duich where we visited one of Scotland’s iconic castles, Eilean Donan.

The original building was constructed in the 13th century in an effort to help protect the area from Viking incursions and over the years the castle was expanded, destroyed and rebuilt quite a few times. It is located on a small rugged island, with a loch at its feet and magnificent scenery all around, just like you’d imagine a Scottish castle should be.

There is a stone footbridge leading up to the main gate, which adds an almost romantic vibe to the place. The interiors are beautifully decorated and contain a large collection of artefacts, belonging especially to the clan Macrae. For anyone interested, it is possible to get married inside this castle, so you should inquire about it during your visit here.

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

One-hour drive from the castle took us across the bridge to Skye and to our lunch stop in the charming Portree. This is the main town of the island and we really loved the picturesque coloured buildings that lined the entrance to the harbour. There are quite a few restaurants along the waterfront and we just sat there watching the gulls and the fishing boats coming and going out to sea again.

From Portree we continued north to Uig so that we could cross the Trotternish Ridge and enjoy the views from the Quiraing. This scenic road took us across a jagged hilly landscape that offered amazing photo opportunities. The road ends in the village of Staffin and you can stop here to visit a beautiful wild beach.

The Quiraing
The Quiraing

Another stop for beautiful photos is at Kilt Rock viewpoint and you can find free parking on site. The name of the cliff comes from the massive basalt columns that resemble the pleats in a traditional tartan kilt. At the viewpoint, you have to look north up the coast to see the Kilt Rock. Also you will be able to see the Mealt waterfall, which tumbles off the cliff for 60 m into the waves below.

But the most spectacular sight in Skye in undoubtedly that offered by the Old Man of Storr.

There is an one hour moderate walk up to the the cliffs, passing through woodland first and then eventually reaching the open moor with the impressive cliffs of the Storr up ahead. We left the car at a car park on the right side of the road (coming from Staffin and heading south to Portree) and began our climb. When approaching the Old Man, we followed a smaller path to the right, towards the end of the line of cliffs known as Cathedral Rock, until we reached an old fence.

The view back from there to the Old Man of Storr is simply breathtaking. In the background we could see the woods and the lochs and the endless blue sea, all the way to the far, far horizon. Standing on the ridge, with the wind in your hair and all that beauty surrounding you, that is truly an unforgettable feeling.

Kilt Rock and Old man of Storr
Kilt Rock and Old man of Storr

We got back to the car in the late evening and drove for another 2 hours back to Fort Augustus. The weather gods smiled down upon us, as it was unusually sunny for Scotland during the entire day, making our visit to the island of Skye that much more memorable.

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Read more about our Scottish road trip by following the posts in the ‘Scotland’ category

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