I’ve been desperate to visit the Isle of Skye for ages. Put the word Fairy in front of anything and I’m there (my head’s in the clouds 😂), couple that with dramatic landscapes and miles of land to stoat about and you’re onto a winner. I took advantage of my October birthday to book a trip for 2 nights in Skeabost, an ideal base to start from.
Glasgow to Skye via Glencoe
The drive from Glasgow through Glencoe, Fort William and Spean Bridge was truly stunning. The clouds rolling over the mountains like wisps of smoke and candyfloss made me feel like we were driving through a fantasy scene.
Driving through Glen Coe is an overwhelming experience, and I felt oddly emotional.
Once well on our way to the bridge (and being robbed almost £2.00 for a 500ml bottle of Irn Bru) in Kyle of Lochalsh, we stopped for a breather and to take some photos. I was blessed with one biker standing with his wife dancing and singing ‘Donald, Where’s Your Troosers?’ like there wasn’t another soul in sight.
Then came singing the Skye Boat Song incessantly crossing the bridge.
Once on Skye, it was just a case of finding where we were staying…
The Postie’s Bothy, Skeabost
Situated on the River Snizort, the Postie’s Bothy is a quaint wee bothy, vividly decorated inside with colour everywhere. Penny, the owner, greeted us when we arrived and I’ve never felt so welcomed. Nothing was a bother to her (I’d mixed up my days and rescheduled umpteen times like a right pain in the arse) and helped us settle in. Grabbing us a map, she pointed us in the direction of Skye’s “must see” places. On top of that, she gave us a history of the main house and bothy, then told us about a hidden spot just around the corner from the house (St Columba’s Isle).
The bothy is cosy. It consists of one bedroom with two single beds, a main room with cooking facilities, fridge and storage, and a shower room (where we were warned in advance of it’s epic water pressure before we ended up drenched). Outside there are seats to sit on and relax and a garden. Beware of any cockrels wandering around as they may try to follow you inside!
I’d say the bothy is probably best suited to couples or friends, it’s a wee bit small for a family trip but perfectly comfortable for 2. And if booking to stay there, if you book directly through the owners, you get a discount on the price you’d pay if booking through an online provider, which you can find on Facebook.
St. Columba’s Isle
St. Columba’s Isle is hidden away down the road and over a wee bridge. I didn’t get photos as it was too dark but it’s an eerie yet peaceful spot. The bishops who served in the chapel, local residents and 28 clan chieftains are buried on the isle along with the ruins of the chapel and mortuary which once stood there.
The Fairy Pools, Glenbrittle
The next day my main goal was fulfilling my dream of swimming in the Fairy Pools. So I sprung out of bed at 5.30am, got ready and sat outside the bothy marvelling at the clear starlit skies. The stars looked close enough to touch and it was such a beautiful, quiet moment to experience on my own. By the time my other half was up and ready, it was 7.30 and we were in the car heading towards Glen Brittle.
Due to the early rise we were able to witness the sunrise over the hills and it was breathtaking. The roads were empty and we could enjoy the scene before us uninterrupted by traffic.
Once at Glen Brittle, I was raring to go. Unfortunately, my footwear wasn’t exactly appropriate considering it had been raining the previous night and wellies would’ve been preferable to walking boots. But we made our way towards the pools, leaping across stepping stones as my little legs clearly aren’t built for long strides.
The scenery instantly took my breath away. Rolling hills and waterfalls surrounded the whole area and due to the fact we managed to be so early, we missed the impending tourist rush that was to follow. We reached a perfect spot to take a dip, the clearest turquoise pools of fresh water I’ve ever seen in my life, which I had been so desperate to get into for so long… But then I basically turned into a big shitebag.
“What if I drown?” “What if I get swept away with the waterfall?” “It’s really deep.” This fell upon unsympathetic ears… “Look, I drove for 6 hours for this, you’re getting in the water or I’ll shove you in.”
Taking a deep breath, I made my way down to the waters edge. First mistake I made was choosing to keep my clothes on, this merely kept in the cold. Skinny dipping would’ve been preferable 😂. Dipped a toe in and instantly I froze, there’s no way I could get in, it was Baltic. Again, unsympathetic glances 😂 “Look, I can swim. I’ll save you if something happens.” So I took a few steps in to the waist and it wasn’t actually THAT bad once I was actually swimming. I can confirm that the water in the pools is the clearest natural water I’ve ever seen and doesn’t taste bad (I discovered this accidentally 😂). Then it was time to strip off and get dry clothes on to the constant words of “There are families coming, hurry up and get dressed!” I don’t think the family heading up rapidly would’ve appreciated a bright red shivering woman standing naked in the middle of a Glen greeting them at 9 in the morning 😂
We headed further up but once we got to the top of the falls, it started raining heavier. This was the point my walking boots gave me an advantage but the other half’s wellies did not so we turned back towards the car.
Cafe Arriba, Portree
Starved, the two of us needed sustenance. So we headed back towards Skeabost so I could shower and heat up and we headed back into Portree to go to Cafe Arriba which served a badass, reasonably priced Scottish breakfast. Some of the best black pudding I’ve ever eaten. Cosy and warm, the place was nicely decorated and the girls working there were so lovely.
The menu varied from your basic breakfast fare, all the way to French toast with maple syrup and bacon to chorizo dishes. The cafe caters to vegetarian and vegan guests.The menu specials change daily and the cafe us a combination of locally sourced produce and international ingredients. There was a wide selections of teas and coffees available as well as milkshakes and soft drinks. There’s also a selection of home baking on offer but by the time I’d hammered my breakfast, there was no way I was managing a cake.
My only criticism, the toilets. Clean and tidy, totally spotless, but it was a wooden slab with a hole in. Admittedly there is a toilet underneath but I’m a hovered. Paranoid by tales of people catching STIs from public toilets, I prefer to hover when I pee in public 😂 This was made difficult by the toilet style.
Then came the drive. We had no specific place to go so we began driving along the coast of the island. Stopping at scenic spots such as Kilt Rock, we passed the afternoon away quite nicely.
Erisco and Rubha Hunish , Trotternish
We then came to Erisco, an abandoned ruined village on the pathway to Rubha Hunish. It’s a wee walk and it’s a bit boggy but with the correct footwear and determination, it’s a doddle.
We decided that it would be a super idea to continue on to Rubha Hunish, the northernliest point on Skye. What we didn’t foresee was ending up baws deep in muck 3/4 of the way there. And then it started pishing down and the winds picked up. Wonderful. So we had to turn back. That scrubbed the Quiraing off the cards as well. A trek I was most looking forward to. On the upside, it means I have more of an excuse to return than I did before!
The Old School Restaurant, Dunvegan
The evening plan was stargazing at Neist Point but we needed to eat first as we were ravenous from our failed plans (I was comfort eating now, to be honest 😂) So we drove to Dunvegan to find food where we happened upon the Old School Restaurant. Originally built in the 1870s as a schoolhouse, it has been transformed into a cosy restaurant. Warm and inviting, the Old School Restaurant is a comfortable choice for dinner, serving locally sourced meats, beers and wines.
The server (whose name I unfortunately didn’t catch) was so friendly and polite. She gave my other half recommendations when he was uncertain what to order for his main.
It this point, I had scarfed down half a large bar of Dairy Milk Whole Nut so I didn’t want to risk a starter incase I was too full for dessert so I ordered the roast chicken breast with skirlie, bacon and carrots. During our wait, we were offered homemade breads and rolls, I had cheese bread. I heaped some butter on it and it’s some of the best cheese bread I’ve eaten. It’s a bit out and miss for me is all too often, I end up with soapy tasting cheesy bread but this was delicious. It arrived beautifully presented (I didn’t get a photo as I was too desperate to eat) and tasted as good as it looked. The chicken was well cooked but tender and the bacon was crisp underneath.
On to dessert. And my huge mistake. I’m a cranachan fan. I make it for myself at home either alcohol free or with a smidgen of whisky from a miniature (I’m a very bad Scot, I’m not keen on the taste of straight whisky). This is a plus for most people, but a negative for me. The first mouthful was amazing, I scooped up some raspberry and oatcakes and was a happy woman. Then I took a large mouthful including the cream and my nose was on fire. The Old School Restaurant are anything but stingy with their whisky 😂 It was too strong for me to finish, but if you’re a whisky lover, get that down you! Overall, the service we received was wonderful. The staff were lovely and it was surprisingly priced considering the quality of the food and the atmosphere. I was expecting a much heftier bill than we ended up with.
Neist Point (or not), Glendale
We headed for Glendale as we had heard that it was an ideal spot for the Northern Lights (see link above). It wasn’t full dark yet so we continued in to find Neist Point lighthouse. Which, is it turns out, is impossible to find after dark 😂 The road signs were pretty unclear and we got a bit lost. So we ended up heading back to Glendale and stopping in Feriniquarrie amongst the hills. The skies were indescribable. I’ve never been the stars with such clarity in the 29 years I’ve been on this earth. It blew me away and for the umpteenth time since landing on Skye, I was in tears… I seriously need some emotional training or something 😂
We ended up back in Skeabost around 1am and were totally gubbed.
A sad farewell
Penny left is a lovely note for us leaving and we jotted in the visitors book. Then came the hardest part. Leaving. Knowing I had so much I still wanted to do and not wanting to return to Glasgow, I left the bothy with a heavy heart and an empty stomach.
Deli Gasta, Broadford
Heading for the bridge, we stopped at Deli Gasta for a quick snack before leaving the island. The restaurant is a casual restaurant full of locally made art and products you can buy in the restaurant. Originally an old Mill, it’s been transformed into a rustic yet modern style restaurant which is a pleasure to eat in. They also offer a take away service with a discount.
Most of the produce they use is locally grown and produced, all the way down to their bread and even their coffee beans roasted and delivered from Glasgow.
We were greeted warmly by the servers and ordered sandwiches and hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was so creamy and luxurious that 8 honestly couldn’t finish it. I ordered the Great Glen venison sandwich. Pfft. What a sandwich!! Venison salami, rocket, cheddar cheese and redcurrant jelly on freshly baked bread. It was honestly the best sandwich I’ve had the honour of eating 😂 I couldn’t put it down. A definite must revisit the next time we’re back in Skye!!
Then came the hardest part. Crossing the bridge. If it hadn’t been for ties back home and having to move the kids halfway across the country away from their school and friends, I never would have left. The dramatic landscapes, the fresh water, the clean air and friendly locals, there’s nothing not to love. Apart from maybe the sheep blocking the roads at every turn 😂
I’m determined to go back sometime in 2018. For longer than two nights and with the children to share the experience of this truly magnificent island.
The drive home, we took a different route through Glen Shiel and Inverness. We stopped at Culloden Moor, which honestly deserves a post of it’s own.
I’d recommend anyone visits the Isle of Skye. There’s so much to do, so much to see and it’s just purely magical. I felt like I was home. No matter what age you are, there’s places and things for you to do there and you’ll have to be torn away from the island kicking and screaming.
x Marianne x