Isle of Skye: Travel Guide and Photos

 

The Isle of Skye lies close to the west coast of Scotland – so close, in fact, that since 1995 it has been linked to the mainland by a bridge over Loch Alsh. Although it is said that on Skye you are never more than 3 miles from the sea, this is due to the great number of inlets and peninsulas that make up the island, and in fact it is a lot larger than you might think at nearly 100km long. There are also some significant mountains on the island in two ranges: the dramatic jagged skyline of the Cuillin Hills to the southwest, and the Trotternish Range in the north.

The “Black Cuillins” are mainly basalt and gabbro, and the “Red Cuillins” are composed of weathered granite. There are 12 “Munros” (mountains over 3,000 feet) on Skye, but these are some of the hardest mountains to climb in Scotland, involving rock scrambling more than hill walking. The highest summit is Sgurr Alasdair at 992m (3,255 feet), the fifth highest mountain in the British Isles.

Villages on Skye tend to be spread out, with the largely single storey houses typically having quite a lot of land around them. Towns are few and far between, the largest settlement being Portree (population 2,200); Dunvegan and Uig would take about half an hour to walk all round! Portree Harbour is notable for its painted house fronts in different colours, which have featured in many a picture. It is the main tourist centre for accommodation on the island.

Fortunately, since the weather in the west of Scotland can be unpleasant at times, there are small museums and places of interest scattered all round the island. The Skye Museum of Island Life at Kilmuir has a fascinating collection of items showing the history and culture of the island, housed in tiny thatched stone Highland cottages called “crofts”. The Museum of the Isles at Armadale Castle, and Dunvegan Castle just outside the township of the same name are good for families.

Castle Moil in the south of the island is believed to have been the home of a Norse princess in the 10th century. Another attraction to visit is the distillery where the world-famous Talisker malt whiskey is made, located right on the shore of Loch Harport, with the Cuillins in the background. Tours are available daily, and include a taste of the 10 year old whiskey (for adults only) at the end. (In fact children under 8 years are not allowed in the distillery for safety reasons.)

Skye seems to attract artists and crafts people, and you will find their studios all over the island. Whether you want to buy a picture or a knitted garment, some jewellery or a piece of wood carving, you will find it there. Add to all that boat trips and opportunities to sample fine local food, and there really is something for everyone on Skye.

Skye Bridge Isle of Skye Isle of Skye Scotland
Scotland Trotternish Range Skye, Scotland Isle of Skye, stones beach
Village, Isle of Skye Scotland Trotternish Range Hebrides from Trotternish Range
looking to Flodigarry and Hebrides Eilean  Flodigarry Scotland, Skye Isle of Skye, Scotland
Staffin Bay, Skye Staffin Bay Staffin, Skye Staffin
Staffin Bay Sgeir Bhan from Breun Port Staffin Bay, Skye Staffin, Skye
Hebrides from Staffin Bay Cuillin Hills Cuillin Hills, Scotland Breun Port, Staffin
Trotternish Range and Isle of Lewis Macleod’s Table from Dunvegan Dunvegan, Skye Loch Dunvegan
Hebrides  Trotternish Range Sound of Raasay island of Skye
Portree and bay Portree, Scotland Portree, Isle of Skye Portree, Scotland
Portree harbour Portree, Isle of Skye Portree Bay boats Portree
Portree, Skye Portree Harbour Dunvegan, Skye Spean Bridge