How to Spend 4 Hours on the Isle of Skye
I mean, Skye is HUGE. And beautiful. There’s just so much to see that it would really be a shame to rush your visit and end up missing half of it: so, naturally, that’s exactly what we did.
Er, did I mention that we were travelling with a toddler, here? And that it made things just a little bit trickier than might otherwise have been the case? Also in our defence, our original plan, upon checking out of Eagle Brae, had been to drive to Skye and then spend the night there, which would obviously have given us much more time. It was only when we realised that doing that was going to give us a 7-hour drive home the next day that we started to re-think things: we’d already spent a lot of time in the car on this trip, and it didn’t seem fair to Max to make him sit through such a long drive in one go (The problem with travelling in Scotland isn’t that the distances are vast: it’s that the roads are often narrow and winding, which makes progress slow. We drove to the south coast of England last year in less time than it would’ve taken us to drive home from the Isle of Skye, which is just crazy, really…). We still really wanted to see at least SOME of the island, though, so we came up with a compromise: we’d go there, see as much as we could in the time we had, and then head back down to Fort William, and spend the night there, instead.
This plan definitely made our drive home a whole lot easier, and while we’d have loved to have been able to spend longer on Skye, we did manage to make the most of the short time we had there. Here’s what we saw during our all too brief visit…
The Old Man of Storr
The Old Man of Storr is the huge pinnacle of rock you can see reaching up towards the clouds at the top right of the image above. Visible from miles away, it’s hugely popular with walkers and climbers: we did neither, needless to say, but did manage to stop and get some photos. We were lucky to manage even that, though: by the time we headed back past it, on our way home, the weather had taken a turn for the terrible, and the Old Man was shrouded in mist. Very dramatic, very picturesque, but wow, was I glad I didn’t have to actually walk up to it in that weather…
(Terry, who loves hillwalking, really wants to go back and climb the Storr one day. I, meanwhile, would love to go back to Skye, but I suspect I’ll probably have a really bad migraine the day the hillwalking takes place. I can just sense it, somehow…)
Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls Viewpoint
Named for its resemblance to a pleated kilt, Kilt Rock is the huge cliff face over which Loch Mealt falls to the sea below, in the most dramatic way possible. The viewpoint allows you to see both the falls and the rock, and was a wild and windy place on the day we visited, although no less beautiful for that. As I made my way along the cliff to look back at the falls, I was stopped in my tracks by a mournful wailing sound, which turned out to be the sound of the wind whistling through the fence, but which added to the other-worldy feel of this rugged coastline.
Portree is the largest town on the island, and it’s a pretty little place, filled with interesting looking shops and restaurants, and, of course, that picture-perfect row of little painted houses by the harbour. In early March, the town was quiet and sleepy, which would’ve made it the perfect time to explore: alas, though, we only had time for a quick meal, and to allow Max to stretch his legs, before we were back in the car and en route to Fort William for the night. Can we go down to those houses and take some photos in front of them for Instagram?” I asked Terry, as we drove past. “No,” said Terry, bluntly. So that was that.
As I said, then, four hours was nowhere near long enough to see even half of the things we wanted to see on Skye, which was a real shame. It was, however, just enough time to give us a feel for the island, which I hope this post has done for you, too. And it goes without saying that it was more than enough time to make us absolutely sure that we want to go back: and, next time, I promise we’ll stay for more than four hours…*
(*And get a photo next to those pastel houses, obviously…)