I don’t remember exactly how I googled in fall 2017 for the first time the pictures of Skye but it was a love at first sight. Google was promising the heaven on Earth and I made an arrangement with myself that I have to see the beauty of the island before I die. Or before the fall 2018 arrives. The planning phase started. Having only few vacation days available for this trip, priorities had to be set. A photo at the Neist Point Lighthouse, the most western point of the island, was very high on the list. For the Skye visit I had 3 days and 3 nights available and this was my itinerary. Feel free to use it for your inspiration, for sure there are many other fabulous attractions on the island worth to see.
Before we left Inverness an important questions had to be sorted out – the answer was yes, the bus has a toilette. Bingo! The comfort of the journey was underlined with the fact that it was almost empty. And again, very cold. About the toilette, it got broken just before I wanted to use it (shit happens, hm?). Soon the water was all over the bus and started to affect our comfort, at least our shoes. Water, water, nothing else just water, exactly at the time we were passing by the Lochness Lake – no monster, only water. In the bus! I tried to convince the bus driver that he has an issue in the back and yes, for the third time I was successful. Very soon the problem was solved (water turned off!!) and we had to learn, with the Scottish accent, that the “toilette is out of order”. And the journey continued… Before we reached the Isle of Skye through the interesting Skye Bridge, the bus stopped at Kyle of Lochalsh’s public toilettes. Not only we were happy, smokers were also overwhelmed. After 3 hours of drive, cold and water (all of this in one Scottish bus), we arrived at Portree, the largest city of the island. Weather was cold and we realized we don’t have any warm socks (there is never enough socks in your life!), we went to a shop and bought some. After this we had a nice hot coffee, a very nice soup and a sandwich. The weather improved so we loaded the two 20-kilo monsters on our backs and walked another 2 kilometres to the Torvaig camp. We managed to build the tent on an attractive place, left the devices to charge in the office and went for… correct, a run! While the runs in Edinburgh and Inverness were stunning, the one in Skye took my breath away. It was one of the most beautiful, picturesque, dreamy and purest running experiences of my running life. The hills, nature, animals, views, ocean, hiking route, salty breeze, green; I will never forget any single detail of that afternoon. This is how the running heaven will look like! Well, won’t talk about it anymore, have a look yourself!
After returning to the camping place we had a dinner as you would only dream about it: on the grass in front of the tent, under the sun and with our bare hands. After the dinner another walk back to the town, beer was on the list! The competition in a typical Scottish pub went for the Irish Guiness, sorry domestic Skye Red. Isle of Skye, you cannot get all the prices, can you? We left the Torvaig camp the next morning, took our monsters on the backs and walked down back to the city. The last free rental car on the entire island we booked the day before from the water bus was waiting. Skoda Octavia Combi as you would know it from home, just, the wheel on the other side. Well, at one point it had to come. Attention, the right-hand rule is still valid, what a shame we learned that only back at home. 🙂 The first kilometres on the other side were confusing, but at the end of the day you get used to it and it’s not that bad. Only few times a drive you are searching for the gear at the right window, no problem at all. You are not the only tourist on the island, so you will be just fine. Europeans, Indians, Americans, Asians, also those you have no clue where are they from, all on the same boat. The poor citizens of Skye, thanks for their endless patience (our aggressive drivers from Czech and Slovakia should come for some lessons).
After picking up the car we started our tour of the day: driving through the northern part of the island. Our target was to sleep at the campsite in Dunvegan. We started with one of the most famous hikes on the island, The Old Man of Storr. A large pinnacle of rock that actually “played“ in number of movies. The hike is not necessarily difficult to do, in the tour guides it’s usually defined as intermediate. The length of almost 4 kilometres you will be able to manage in 70 – 90 minutes, permanent photo shooting including. You can park just below the start of the hike, under the hill. Not only the view from the top will get you, you will not get enough through the entire hike. At the top few surprises will be waiting for you: brutal wind which will almost blow you away or a tourist-female and her group consisting from a dog, a ferret and a weasel. After a much faster walk down we jumped into the car and continued to the northern part of the island. The next stop was the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls viewpoint, where you will find a wooden grill with home-made veggie burger. You can get one with meat too, Indian tourists could tell stories. The girl from the grill will tell you, how growing up at this unforgettable place was, how you could swim to the small island not so far away from the land, meeting seals throughout. You can only envy… well, our childhood in the block of flats was also cool, wasn’t it? It is worth to mention, that on your way to the north of the island you will pass more of the viewpoints and attractions (for ex. Lealt Waterfalls, Rigg viewpoint, beach An Corran), to see all of them in one day is impossible.
After the veggie burger we arrived to the old ruin of the Duntulm castle built by the Clan Macdonald of Sleat in the 14 and 15 century. They left the castle around 1732 and moved to the new domicile built 5 kilometres more on the north. A legend says, that the castle was abandoned after the little son of the chief felt out of the window and died on the rocks underneath. The nurse responsible for watching him was embarked and sent to Atlantic without a return ticket. The ruin itself is closed for the visitors however the path to it will make your heart singing again. A harmonic panorama where your eye can see, only watch the sheep buttons. From here we moved to the next stop – the Skye museum of island life, which will show you how difficult the life on the island used to be. The museum concept consists of 12 cottages where you will learn about the life of a 12-member family (10 kids!), living here half a century back. The entire history of the Skye is also to be found in the museum. Worth to see and show to your kids.
After 4 days of a sunny and non-Scottish weather the idyll started to change. The drive and walk to the last attraction of the day, the Coral Beach, we experienced in a chilly and cold weather. Charming too, only very few walkers we met (maybe five). The beach you will reach with a 1.5 km walk from a parking place, where you need to drive to from the Dunvegan castle. Be careful, the road is quite broken. Meanwhile, it started to rain, and we decided to not pull out the tent but to sleep in the car. During the trip we experienced few unusual ways of sleeping: dormitory, garden caravan, tent, car, bed & breakfast and finally, at the airport (where I didn’t close my eyes for a second and was summarizing my notes for the blog. I love spending the night at the airports!).
The same as the day ended, the next day started. The chilly weather was exactly what we needed for the Neist Point visit, one of the highlights of the entire Scottish trip. Not so many tourists, cloudy weather, movie atmosphere. Frankly speaking, visiting the Neist Point Lighthouse was one of my best travel experience of last years. We spent the whole morning with walking around, taking pictures, tasting the ocean (yes, I finally did it, if only with my hands). I walked to the very last rock far away from the lighthouse and found a peaceful moment, surrounded with the waves crashing on the rocks and singing the melody for the heart and soul.
Around the lunch time the weather started to improve and the tourists started to come, the best time to disappear. We returned to Dunvegan to see the castle. The excursion is not long but very interesting. The castle “played“ also in the famous Highlander movie and you should also not miss the beautiful gardens. After we visited the castle we returned back to Portree where we finished the day with another amazing run, this time exactly the opposite direction of the route we ran 2 days ago, starting and finishing in the city at our B&B house. There couldn’t be a better end of the mythical Skye trip.
Sleeping in a normal bed again, with the bus back to Inverness, with the train back to Edinburgh, this time with normal temperature and without water. The last view at the Edinburgh castle and back to the airport. Goodbye Scotland, you fabulous country full of fine people and scenic hills. Goodbye and let’s move on. The world belongs to those, who are able to pack into one bag.
Runeller’s 3 not to miss for the end: