Exploring the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands

By Hinturland on July 06, 2023
3 min read

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The Scottish Highlands are unlike any other place in the world; they are much more than a home of picturesque fishing villages, medieval castles, colourful tartan, and, of course, ‘wee drams’/malt whisky. The Isle of Skye is particularly unique. It’s wild and rugged acres lure visitors from all over the world.

Quiraing Sophie takes in the Quiraing[/caption]

We took the family-run ferry service from Glenelg to Kylerhea, a close crossing point which has been used for hundreds of years. Curious seals studied our every movement as we bobbed across the windswept water. This was a sure sign of things to come.

Old Ferry Ride Old Ferry to the Isle of Skye[/caption]

It’s surprising to know that Skye is on the same latitude as Hudson Bay and Tomsk in Siberia. The Gulf Stream provides a flow of tropical heat; otherwise it would be under heaps of heavy snow. Nature has obviously prepared the shaggy highland ‘coos’ for such a weather beaten destination.

Quiraing View

Narrow roads, with brief passing places, snake across the rugged peninsula; which is always an interesting feat for anyone tackling the undulating drive for the first time. Conscious of the little time we had to explore, we toured in great haste to the parts we wanted to see most.

Skye Roads
Winding roads on the Isle of Skye

Neist Point was top on our list, a sweet spot we have seen before and fell in love with. We had spent the night perched on sea cliffs watching the sun disappear in a metallic explosion, reflecting in the still waters beneath it. This time I could barely brace myself upright against my arch nemesis…chafing wind!

Pouring rain 2

Still determined to see the lighthouse we negotiated our way down to Skye’s most Westerly point. Clamping my arms and head into my chest whilst walking didn’t help, and Reuben valiantly steadied me on our swift retreat back past sudden drops to the comforts of our van.

Pebbled Coast Clouds roll in above Reuben[/caption]

Our fleeting encounter with The Old Man of Storr left us fascinated by the alien landscape we left behind. What looked like enormous shattered teeth rose out of the earthy jaws below. It’s hard to explain the intimidating scale of these mountain features and the heavy atmosphere held within them.

Rain Nesit Point A rainbow over rough waters[/caption]

By this point of the second day we were really hungry. The salty residue from the coast coated our lips, and we could think of nothing more than the tasty dinner we had set aside. We pulled up in the secluded shore of Loch Slapin near Kilbride and settled down for the night watching the fiery sunset inflame the western sky, blazing behind the famous (or infamous!) silhouettes of the Cullin mountains.

Firey Sunset Fiery sunset behind the Cullen Mountains[/caption]

Isolated in bliss we ate our meal of four cheese ravioli in front of the tripod fire Reuben had lit to keep the midges away. I will always remember what a friend told me once ‘there are 36 varieties of biting midge in Scotland.’’ It’s said those on Skye are in a league of their own. Another reason why the nick name ‘The Winged Isle’ suits it well.

Evening fire

You must not explore this magnificent island without venturing to find the following treasure troves: Neist Point, Fairy Pools (Glen Brittle), The Quiraing, Old Man of Storr, Mealt Falls, Talisker Distillery, Sligachan Bridge, Elgol and Fairy Glen (Uig).

Hinturland co-founders Sophie and Reuben voluntarily live in a MWB Sprinter van in relentless pursuit of outdoor adventure, personally and as instructors. They immerse themselves in the UK mountains they call home, taking part in a full range of dry and wet activities, including mountaineering, trail/fell running, climbing, canoeing/kayaking, mountain biking and tree top swinging. They believe adventure is a mindset and that your attitude determines your direction. Sophie and Reuben will almost certainly try anything at least once.



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