Isle of Skye Road Trip – 3 Days

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Ferry ride

The Isle of Skye is by far the most majestic part of Scotland. Breathtaking mountains, glorious waterfalls, magical glens, and sparkling fairy pools enrapture nature lovers and photographers. Food lovers will be delighted as Isle of Skye is home to Talisker Distillery and The Three Chimney’s, a world-renowned Scottish restaurant. The island abounds with historical buildings, museums, castles, and ruins which capture the interests of historians.

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The three explorers: Aunt Anne, Mother, and I

In June I, along with my mother and aunt, spent three unforgettable days  of our Scotland road trip exploring Isle of Skye and discovering the true beauty of this magnificent area.

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The ferry to Isle of Skye

Day 1: On our second day in Scotland we drove to the seaside town of Mallaig where we boarded the ferry to Isle of Skye. Upon our arrival in Armadale, we took a short rest stop at the Clan Donald Center, which is an excellent visitor center and is located in the beautiful Armadale Castle. Here visitors can enjoy the restaurant or meander through the 40 acre Armadale Castle Gardens.

After an hour long drive, we arrived at the sparkling Fairy Pools. Nestled at the foot of the Black Cuillins, the crystal clear blue pools entice visitors to dive in. The drive to the pools brought us off of the two lane main road onto a thrilling one lane road which curved around the hillsides. Peering ahead, we timed our swerves into the pull offs to avoid colliding with oncoming vehicles. From the parking lot, it is a moderately difficult 1.2km hike to the fairy pools.

After we had enjoyed the beautiful water, we navigated the exciting one lane roads to the town of Carbost, which is the home of the Talisker Distillery, The Old Inn, and Talisker Beach. We spent the night at an AirBnB which had lovely views overlooking the town.

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Stunning view in Carbost

Day 2: The next morning, we set off to the the town of Portree which is famous for the pastel houses along the harbor.

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Beautiful harbor town of Portree

From here we set out on a loop around the Trotternish Peninsula, the northernmost part of Isle of Skye. Our first stop was The Skye Museum of Island Life, which provides visitors with a fascinating glimpse into the history of Skye. We then journeyed to the Quiraing, a landslip along the Trotternish Ridge. Here, we were mesmerized by the other-world scenery which surrounded us. According to legend, the folds within the Quiraing were used to conceal cattle from Viking raiders which came to the island to plunder as early as 794.

After a picnic lunch, we set out on a series of hikes. Along the way we walked along pinnacle hills, by lochs, over streams, and through lush valleys. Following along the trail, we crawled over stiles for seemingly endless sheep fences. The sheep appeared as small white dots along the countryside. Fences were built up the steep hillsides and at times appeared to disappear into the sea. The sheep were spread out across mountains and hills, contentedly foraging for grass among the gorse shrubs which ran wild over the island.

Our next stop was Kilt Rock, a massive sea cliff which is said to resemble a kilt due to the pleat like appearance of the stone. Here, the Mealt Waterfall tumbles down the cliff face. The viewpoint is thoroughly fenced off as there have been many deaths in the past.

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Kilt Rock

On the way back to Portree we passed The Old Man of Storr, a rocky hill which is beloved by photographers. Once in Portree, we wandered around the town before dining on a traditional Scottish supper of haggis with tatties and neep. We stayed at the Stormy B&B which is run by Andrew, a sheep farmer by day and an inn owner by night. While we patted his lovely border collie he told us all about the farming industry on the island. The rugged land makes farming unprofitable and difficult, yet they continue out of love for their profession. After a comforting cup a’ tea, we called it a night.

Day 3: After a full Scottish breakfast, we set out to explore Dunvegan Castle and Gardens. The ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod, it is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. Our tour of the castle was engaging and is very informative about the lives and history of this Scottish clan. Our favorite part was strolling through the gardens which cover five acres and have a walled garden which reminded me of The Secret Garden, ornate bridges, a larch pergola, and a glass house.

After our tour of the castle, a short drive led us to Coral Beach. Here, the stunning tropical blue water and the stark white beach which is made from crushed white coral transported us to a tropical state of mind.

An easy 1.8km stroll through farmland leads to the beach. Along the way we explored traditional stone wall fences and patted the friendly cows.

We hiked to the top of the small hill which overlooks the beach where we enjoyed a picnic lunch. In spite of the freezing water, I dove in and left feeling refreshed and invigorated!

Back in our Fiat, we drove to the Colbost Croft Museum which overlooks Loch Dunvegan and allows visitors a look into life on Skye in the 1800s. Next door is the world-renowned restaurant, The Three Chimneys. I highly recommend reservations ahead of time as we were unable to dine there since they were completely booked.

We journeyed on to Neist Point Lighthouse, which is one of the most famous lighthouses in Scotland. Jagged cliffs against the backdrop of the sea make for stunning views which captivate visitors.

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A steep 1.1 km hike leads visitors down to the lighthouse. We skipped this hike as the day was drawing to a close and we were eager to enjoy a good night’s rest.

Upon our arrival back in Portree we headed to the Harbour Chip Shop to enjoy delicious fish and chips. With the harbor stretching out before us and the backdrop of the lovely pastel houses, this was the perfect end to our trip on Isle of Skye.

The next day, our road trip through Scotland continued on across Skye Bridge through Apple Cross to Loch Ness!

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One lane road encounters

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