In the beautiful Isle of Skye you could possibly find your ideal holiday destination, in one of the few remaining unspoiled areas of Europe. It really is an enchanting place.
Located in the Highlands just off the west coast of the Scottish Mainland, this is the largest island of the Inner Hebrides, and it is renowned for its unequalled natural beauty, its romantic history and wildlife. I spent a most inspiring couple of weeks here.
Skye is probably much bigger than most people would imagine, rich in culture and heritage, and really does have something for everyone as a holiday destination.
It has been immortalised in music and verse, and this beautiful island is undoubtedly one of the best places in Scotland for hiking and walking, with fantastic views of the Cuillin mountains, the most challenging mountains in Britain.
As well as mountain walks the island offers a variety of walks along the coast or over the moors. Wildlife enthusiasts have the opportunity of spotting the Golden Eagle, the Sea Eagle, the Red Deer and the Otter. There’s a few castles on Skye including Armadale Castle, which was once home to the Clan MacDonald. Both Skye and Lochalsh offer a good range of castles and folk museums, which are well worth a visit.
There’s a strong folk music tradition, that has been growing in popularity recently, along with dance and rock music, and 2007 featured sets from Sparks and Fun Loving Criminals. Gaelic rock band Runrig started in Skye. Gaelic festivals, agricultural shows, sheepdog trials and piping competitions mean there is always something going on in summer, and the Skye Highland Games will live in the memory after you leave.
For all you keen golfers, the Isle of Skye Golf Club is perfectly situated right in the centre of the Island, and beach lovers are in for a treat when the weather is good, with lots of small, secluded and beautiful sandy beaches to relax on and top up your tan.
Around 60% of the Skye residents still use Gaelic as a first language, and to this day they still speak of Flora Macdonald, who famously helped sneak ‘The Young Pretender’, Bonnie Prince Charlie into Skye after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
Portree is the main service centre, with a good range of accommodation from the Backpackers hostel and Bed & Breakfasts to the four star Cuillin Hills hotel.
The town has flourished, with newer buildings including housing and supermarkets, and there are some splendid walks to be enjoyed, along the shore in pine forests.
At colbost, on the north west corner of the island, is the well known Three Chimneys restaurant, which has won numerous awards over the years, for it’s comfortable five star accommodation, and excellent fresh food. (I’ve sampled the food – fantastic).
The island, thankfully, has been linked to the mainland from Kyle of Lochalsh by the Skye Bridge, which has now been toll free, since 1995. Ferries sail from Armadale on the island, to Mallaig. Ferry crossings only operate in the summer months, so remember to check the Calmac Timetable for Armadale – Mallaig.
A community run ferry service is also in operation during the summer, and runs from Kylerhea to Glenelg. You can get all the information on the Skye Ferry website.
See the Scotland Travel Information page for all the information you need for travelling to and within Scotland. Get some helpful advice on passports and visas, currency, weather, holiday extras, useful travel links and more.
The island forms part of the Highland Council area, and the Skye Round Table has donated considerable funds to local and national charities.
If you’re the outdoor type you’ll love Skye. If planning a holiday in Scotland and looking for something different, the Isle of Skye could possibly be your holiday of a lifetime.
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