The Isle of Skye: Scottish treasure
Think you have to go abroad to visit somewhere a bit different? Think again. The Isle of Skye is a Scottish treasure not to be missed. If you’ve seen the recent film adaptation of Macbeth, starring our favourite German slash Irish actor, Michael Fassbender, you’ll have seen how stunning the Isle of Skye is.
Here’s our top tips for visiting this gem.
The Isle of Skye is very remote, but that’s all part of its charm and beauty. Make your way to Glasgow or Inverness by plane or train, and hire a car to meander your way to the Isle of Skye. You’ll want to stop off and take photos of the breathtaking rolling hills and valleys en route. Make sure you have some music for the journey as you’ll struggle getting radio signal, though Celtic Music Radio FM will definitely get you jigging along in the Scottish spirit.
From Glasgow it’ll take about 4-5 hours as the roads are windy, but trust us it’s worth it. Take a break at Glencoe, a quaint village with a tragic history. To boil it down, back in 1692 the MacDonalds hosted and entertained the Campbell clan for ten days. Little did they know Captain Campbell had been ordered by King William III to kill the MacDonalds (as they were slow on pledging their allegiance to him) and his 130 soldiers massacred the MacDonalds on a cold winter morning. There’s still Campbell/MacDonald beef to this day. Trivia alert: Game of Thrones fans out there – the Red Wedding was inspired by the massacre of Glencoe. If you want a pub to stop off for lunch and a drink, Clachaig Inn is a cosy pub with lovely views of the surrounding area.
Eilean Donan Castle
Don’t miss Eilean Donan Castle, near the Kyle of Lochalsh. It was founded in the thirteenth century, now fully restored and used for filming locations such as MI6 HQ in The World is Not Enough, and the more recent (and pretty terrible) romcom Made of Honour.
Once you cross the Skye Bridge over the Loch Alsh you’ve made it to the Isle of Skye, hurrah! The Isle of Skye’s main attraction is the scenery- rugged hills and velvet green valleys. Obviously you might want to eat and drink too, there’s only so long you can stare at a hill for. We recommend staying a night or two in a couple of different B&Bs or explore the island during the day to make the most of it.
Portree – pubs to cosy-up in
Portree is the main hub of Skye, with plenty of restaurants and a few pubs to get toasty in. With its picturesque harbour and pastel painted houses along the front you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a magical world, especially if it’s a misty day, which happens a lot! You’re basically in the sea, well, almost, so get involved in the fish and seafood as it’s fresher than the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff circa ’95. Sea Breezes is the top spot for seafood but it gets busy, so book ahead. If you can’t get in, Lower Deck offers delicious seafood and has a homely feel to it. Drinks-wise, The Bosville is a fancy bistro with a cool bar. It’ll set you back a few bob but the drinks are delicious and there’s FREE wifi. (FYI: Forget 4G, the only G you’ll be getting is a giant G&T to get you through the Internet-free pain. Internet signal is non-existent in these parts, so if you need to get online look out for Wifi.) Pub-wise there’s strangely not too many but lots of hotels with a bar attached, like the Isles Inn or Cuillin Hills.
Back to the sights. Visit Dunvegan Castle, the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland. Entry is 11 quid for the castle and gardens. They also offer seal boat trips and fishing trips if you want to splash out (teehee).
Talisker Whisky Distillery
Combine an educational visit AND drinking (no, it’s not a school geography trip) and take a tour of Talisker Whisky Distillery in Carbost. It’s the only whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye. Did you know whisky has to be in the cask for 3 years and not leave Scotland for it to be legally a Scottish whisky? Us neither! We told you it was educational. Whilst you’re in Carbost, pop into The Old Inn, plonked on the shores of Loch Harbort, with proper pub food and decent portions to soak up the whisky. Or delicious ales if you want to carry the night away.
Weather-wise, wrap up and take layers, as it can be temperamental even in Scottish “summer”. Check out the best walking routes in the area.
So what are you waiting for? Don your walking boots and fattest fleece and explore the Isle of Skye. Och aye the noo!! (That’s technically “Oh yes, just now” which sounds a lot less sensual in Scottish.)
Heading to Isle of Skye or already been? Share your pics with us @tweetjanes