Sep 18 Skye

Refreshed after our rest day, we stocked up with provisions at the Co-op in Kyle of Lochalsh, and headed over the bridge to Skye.  The first place you come to once across the other side is Kyleakin.  We parked up there and had a look around the harbour.  There is also a visitor centre which provides information about the author, Gavin Maxwell, of the famous book “Ring of Bright Water”, which was about his relationship with the otters that he kept as pets here on Skye.  The book was published in 1960 and is considered a literary masterpiece by some.

Skye Bridge from Kyleakin on Skye

Before the bridge was built, the ferries across to Skye arrived here.  It was also a fishing port and there is still a small active fishing harbour there today.  It is a picturesque place to start a visit to Skye.

From here we drove along the A87 to Sligachan where we decided to spend the night.  Sligachan is overlooked by the Cuillin Hills and is a popular spot for campers and walkers.

View from campsite at Sligachan
View of the Cuillin Hills from Sligachan

Keeping to the A87 overlooking the Sound of Raasay, we stopped off at Portree, which is the capital of the island.  Here we enjoyed the picturesque harbour, along with a contingent from a visiting cruise ship!  The weather was rather unsettled so we decided not to stay in the sea front car park overnight.

Portree harbour from the car park
Looking down on Portree harbour
Portree harbour
Portree harbour looking across to Raasay

From Portree we took the scenic A855 coastal road along the Trotternish peninsula and stopped to view a few of the sights.

Trotternish scenery

This part of the island boasts some bizarre scenery, particularly on the east coast, where volcanic basalt has pressed down on the softer sandstone and limestone underneath.  This has caused massive landslides which, in turn, have created pinnacles and pillars.   First stop was The Old Man of Storr.

Road to Storr

This is a tall pillar of rock on the plateau of Storr that towers over the road.  We parked alongside the road and I embarked upon the long walk up to the stone but, the rain was coming in and visibility was falling rapidly, so I beat a hasty retreat back to Clyde waiting patiently in the van.  The views must be stunning from up there on a good day so it was disappointing to be rained off.

Old Man of Storr information
View from pathway to Storr

The next stopping point was kilt Rock and Mealt falls.  We also visited Staffin which is just a little further along the road.  The scenery on the peninsula was varied and often dramatic.

Cliffs at Staffin
Kilt Rock Falls
Waterfall on Skye

By now we were in need of a plan for the night so we cut across from just North of Staffin to Uig.  This is a small port where you can catch a ferry to Harris.  We stayed overnight on a small family run campsite near to the ferry port.  The mixed weather treated us to some dramatic light and a double rainbow.

Uig harbour at sunset
Rainbows over Uig

Our cross country route on a very minor road had been quite challenging for the driver but, at least he was used to the van and driving on the left.  We met an American couple who had hired a motorhome and had some traumatizing experiences to recount!  It was very interesting talking to them and hearing about their experiences.  They had been wowed by the scenery on their 3 week tour of Scotland.

I had rather hoped to visit Dunvegan Castle which is on the west side of Skye but.as ever, we were running out of time if we wanted to see more of the north of Scotland.  I compromised and we stopped at Dunvegan village in the mistaken belief that we would at least be able to see the castle from a distance.  No such luck, as it was well hidden by the trees.

We followed the A863 to Sligachan and stopped for a wander along the streamside.  It was so tranquil there we were tempted to stay again but, I was a woman on a mission to visit Armadale Castle so we pressed on.

Cuillin Hills
One of many pretty streams on the island

Armadale Castle is actually a ruin now but is situated in some lovely gardens with a view of the Sound of Sleat.  Clyde decided to stay in the van as he is a bit less enthusiastic than me when it comes to old ruins.  I had a walk around the gardens and then improved my knowledge of the history of Scotland in the visitor centre.  It is an extremely interesting exhibition with plenty of facts to interest all ages.  The museum tells the story of the Highlands and Islands through the story of the powerful Clan Donald.

Armadale information
Part of the ruined castle
View from Armadale Castle
Armadale Gardens

From Armadale we retraced our steps along the A851 to Broadford where we booked onto a new campsite for the night and stocked up once more in the local Co-op.  It was our last night on the Isle of Skye and we reflected that we had enjoyed every moment of our visit.  There are beautiful views wherever you look and plenty of wildlife and history to enjoy.

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