With a week left in Scotland after completing the West Highland Way, my friend and I were positioned perfectly to spend a few days on the Isle of Skye. The WHW ended in Fort William, which is relatively close to Skye, so we picked up a rental car from the Fort William train station (within walking distance from our Fort William B&B) and off we went.
Our first stop was actually not on the Isle of Skye, but a small detour the opposite way to visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct, AKA the bridge for the Harry Potter train. We didn’t get close to the viaduct, but close enough to see it and fan girl for a moment. Across the way is the Glenfinnan Monument, and amazing views over Loch Shiel.
Our next location of the day was just before the bridge to Skye, and is the most photographed castle in Scotland (for good reason.) Eilean Donan is rich in history, and has undergone some amazing renovations allowing the public to continue to appreciate its magic. The overcast weather we had on this day added to the experience of what it was like living in this giant castle.
After playing princess, we were able to fit one more adventure into day one, and made our way to the Fairy Pools. We were officially on the Isle now, and as we arrived the rain decided to come out to play. I don’t mind driving in the UK, being on the other side of the road felt natural after doing it in Ireland last year, however driving in the rain on backcountry roads made me nervous.
On the Isle, the backroads are only large enough for one vehicle, and have pull outs along the way for cars to pull over into if you find yourself head on with another vehicle. Before realizing this system I would get anxious if I saw another car coming. Once you get the hang of it it’s not so bad, but I never like driving in heavy rain, even in Washington. The pools were amazing, and worth the gripped steering wheel to arrive. The walk is about a mile and a half roundtrip.
Our first night on the Isle we stayed at the Hazelbank B&B, which was VERY nice. The host was amazingly friendly, and she was helpful when we told her about our upcoming plans. She helped us map out an alternate route and offered some local suggestions. The breakfast was delicious too, well worth the extra cost.
Day two started just a 20 minute drive from our B&B at Neist Point. Neist Point is home to a lighthouse that was built in 1900, which now runs on an automatic system. Neist point is one of the most famous lighthouses in Scotland, also for good reason. The walk to the lighthouse and back is a mere 1.4 miles, but the views are anything but minor. This visit won’t take long, but is worth the stop.
The weather was meant to be wet this day, but as we set off to our next destination the sun came out and surprised us. We drove from Neist Point to the Old Man of Storr, which is by far on my list of top three most amazing things/places I’ve seen/been. The drive itself around Skye is enough to feel like another world, but The Storr was on another level.
Before arriving, we stopped for a snack in the adorable town of Portree – which was a delicious mistake.
Those who know me, know that I have a bit of an all or nothing personality. Especially when it comes to food. Because I have to be on my “A game” at all times in order to moderate my autoimmune symptoms, anytime I take a “break” and eat something that doesn’t necessarily make me feel my best I go hard. MacKenzie’s Bakery is true baked good heaven, and I was in trouble the moment I walked in the door. This bakery is a MUST, I repeat MUST visit. The baked goods are amazing, and the prices are stupid low.
Things started innocently enough, I bought two treats – a cinnamon donut and the below photographed cream stuffed donut with a cup of black coffee. I stood outside in the sunshine soaking up the instant high I received from the caffeine and sugar, two substances I do not include in my regular diet. Once they were gone, it was game over. I went in and bought three more items, two of which I ate right away.
I told you, I go hard.
Upon arrival at the Old Man of Storr I was so pumped full of sugar and caffeine I needed to get out of the car STAT. I crashed shortly thereafter, but it was worth every painful breath I took climbing up the hill. The ascent to The Storr is not small, but the climb is worth every step. Once you make it to the “top” the possibilities are endless for exploration.
So many different twists and turns making you feel like you are truly on another planet. In many ways this place reminded me of Skellig Michael in Ireland, but it was still so very different. The walk is 2.36 miles up to the “Old Man” and back, but there is plenty of room for more wandering.
After getting lost on planet Storr for a couple hours, we made a quick pit stop at Kilt Rock before making our way to our bunkhouse for the evening. Kilt Rock is a waterfall coming off the side of the cliffs, and is a quick and easy pull off. Our home away from home for the night was called The Cowshed, and was the most modern, adorable bunkhouse I have EVER seen.
We slept in a POD, which was basically like my tiny house dream home.
Our third and final day on the Isle of Skye took us first to The Quiraing. This walk is a little over 4 miles round trip, and likely one of the most beautiful places to walk on the Isle. I say likely, because the day we went had the worst weather I have ever seen…like…in my entire life. The rain was one thing at first, but rain quickly turned to downpour, temps quickly dropped, and the wind was STRONG. The wind blew the rain so hard it felt like needles on my face.
Also, keep in mind I’m still walking everywhere in my Teva’s.
I would like to visit The Quiraing again on a nicer day, to get a better view of the vastness of it. After this “adventure” I was done, but we had one more stop before heading back to Fort William. Armadale Castle ruins reside on a preserved estate, but are unsafe for people to walk into. Of all the castles I’ve seen thus far, this was the first one that I was unable to walk close to.
Personally, I’d have been OK to skip this one. Perhaps I was just too cold and wet, but I didn’t find it worth the stop.
And just like that, our quick trip to the Isle of Skye had come to an end. We made our way back to Fort William to drop off our car at the train station (this was a great set up, literally just left the keys with the train employees) and walked back to our B&B. We stayed at the same B&B we had stayed upon arrival in Fort William the first time, and our host was even more enjoyable the second time.
Oh, and how could I forget one the highlight of Skye? HEILAN COO’S!
Q: Of all the places listed above, which one would you like to visit the most? I’d reallllyy like to find my way back to MacKenzies….