Drum Major, Isle of Skye Pipe Band, Portree, Skye

Drum Major, Isle of Skye Pipe Band, Portree, Skye

This evening, I am providing information on one of Scotland’s top tourist destinations, namely the Isle of Skye. Skye forms part of the Inner Hebrides and is located off the North-West coast of Scotland. Access is usually via the Skye Bridge or the ferry from Mallaig. There is a strong Gaelic and Scandinavian (Viking)  influence on the history, culture and place names.

The unusual name is derived from Gaelic and may mean ‘winged’ or ‘divided’ isle.

Skye has population of 10.000 less than half of whom speak Gaelic.

The ‘highlights’ of Skye can be visited in course of a one day motor tour. Other visitors with special interests may wish to linger longer, these include:

  • Hikers and climbers attracted by the hills and mountains including famous Cuillins.
  • Artists and photographers wishing to utilise the scenery and ever-changing light conditions. There are gallery and studio trails to allow visitors to connect with the many local artists and crafts people.
  • Students of archaeology interested in connecting with about 9000 years of human occupation entailing a legacy of chambered cairns, stone circles, brochs, duns, hut circles and other features such as the souterrain at Kilmuir. Near Torrin is the High Pasture Cave which was occupied during the Iron Age.
  • Birdwatchers keen to observe the rich bird life with sightings of eagles, owls, puffins, merlins, shelducks and much more.
  • Students of geology wishing to investigate Skye’s volcanic heritage and  rocks dating back more than 450m years.
  • Gourmets choosing to sample the ware at restaurants such as the famous Three Chimneys  (one of Scotland’s top eateries) and Creelers seafood restaurant in Broadford.
  • Paleontologists interested in viewing the recently discovered 170m year-old dinosaur tracks at Staffin Beach.

The principal visitor sites on the Isle of Skye are:

  • Armadale Castle and Gardens: The castle is a ruin but close by is the well presented Museum of the Isles which covers 1500 years of island history with focus on Clan Donald, Lord of the Isles. There is also a family history research centre. The gardens extend to 40 acres. Nature trails take visitors into the mixed woodlands.
  • Isleornsay: A former fishing port but now comprising hotel, pub, art gallery, Gaelic Whisky outlet, clothing shop and other accommodation. Superb views and photo opportunities.
  • Broadford with it’s wide bay  and art and craft shops.
  • Sligachan: A good base for hikers and climbers who wish to access the Cuillin Hills plus a vantage point for photographers.
  • The capital, Portree, with it’s shops and colourful harbour houses.
  • Stunning geology in the north (Trotternish) which includes the Old Man of Storr, Quiraing, Needle and Prison.
  • Lealt Falls.
  • Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock: A popular stop which offers good photo opportunities. Geology and a waterfall.
  • Museum of Island Life at Kilmuir.
  • Flora MacDonald’s memorial at Kilmuir.
  • Uig Bay: Located in the north of Skye. Ferry connections to  the Outer Hebrides. Eateries, pottery and a brewery.
  • Fairy Glen: A slightly bizarre small valley (glen) populated with small conical hills.
  • Dunvegan Castle: Home to the Chief of Clan Macleod. In addition to the castle there is a well maintained Highland Garden and seal spotting trips.
  • Dun Beag Broch: Remains of a high status dwelling from the Iron-Age.
  • Talisker Distillery: A popular single malt which is mildly peated. Tours of the distillery are available.
  • Fresh oysters: At the Oyster Shed near Talisker Distillery.
  • Waternish and Trumpan Church: Latter was site of a major conflict in 16th century between MacLeods and MacDonalds.
  • Scenery and seascapes.
  • Elgol: A small crofting and fishing village accessed by a scenic but winding and narrow single track road. Offers views of the Cuillin Hills, Loch Scavaig and Soay (island).
  • Village of Kyleakin: Attractive shoreside location with ruined castle.
  • Fairy Pools near Carbost.
  • Neist Point.

Video clip of scenery at Sligachan, Skye.

Video clip of Isle of Skye Pipe Band, Portree, Skye.

Video clip of Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls, Skye.

Quiraing, Skye, Scotland.

Quiraing, Skye, Scotland.

Fairy Glen near Uig, Skye, Scotland.

Fairy Glen near Uig, Skye, Scotland.

Isle of Skye Oyster Shed

Isle of Skye Oyster Shed

Portree Harbour, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Portree Harbour, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Common Seal, Dunvegan, Skye, Scotland.

Common Seal, Dunvegan, Skye, Scotland.

Old Man of Storr, Skye, Scotland.

Old Man of Storr, Skye, Scotland.

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