Isle of Skye


8.0 Long, scenic drive

Acres of acres of expansive, golden, hilly landscape, pristine lakes, snow capped mountains, low settling cloud and torrential waterfalls made this faraway place rather otherworldly. It was a strenuous long car journey, but the awe-inspiring nature was worth every effort.

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If the weather stayed dry and I could get used to the chilly wind, it would have been worth even more.

We took a flight from London to Glasgow and drove up to Isle of Skye. The narrow, meandering road leading north will put your driving skill to a ruthless test. It was already unnerving that I had to skid to the side hedges often to make way for wide trucks and big tour bus, some cars were overly enthusiastic to overtake me.

STAY SOBER

Fort Williams is a good rest stop. Neptune’s Staircase (a fancy name!) in town is an intricately layered water gates system on the canal, a quite impressive work of engineering. There is also the highest point in UK to the north – Ben Nevis which is a 6 hours hike. Not far west from Fort William is the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct – the iconic bridge where Harry Potter’s steam train passed every year to Hogwarts. We continued travelling west, planning to take a ferry from Mallaig to Armadale which was just south of Isle of Skye.

Unfortunately, the ferry was cancelled last minute due to poor weather. (I know! I am still trying to get used to weather caused transportation disruption in UK!) So that wasted detour just added two extra hours travel time. But in hindsight, the extra distance was probably a better route, the scenery along the journey was definitely the highlight of the trip.

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Connected through the arched Skye bridge to the main land, Skye is the epitome of the best highland has to offer:

NARROW ROAD – if you missed my message earlier, here is your last chance: brush up your driving skill!

Once you can manage the driving, Skye is a magical kingdom of natural beauty waiting to be explored. Start with Portree – a small portal town where we found delicious restaurants by the dock. Amazing fresh seafood platters!

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A little to the north is Storr which had a number of naturally formed obelisks on top of a hill. It was a long single lane drive in the field to reach the starting point. The muddy hiking path to the peak was also somewhat challenging, it followed the highland tradition – single lane! One misstep could send you rolling down the hill hundreds of meters. Embrace the picturesque landscape and be careful where you land your feet.

There was also a number of walks along the coastline. One of them will lead to the Mealt Waterfall. It is impressive to see a waterfall that directly wash into the sea:

My favorite scenery is the Neist Point Lighthouse to the west most place of the island. This is a more paved path compared to the one leading to Storr. Strolling along the carved coastline, or reaching the small hill nearby to view the sunset will easily make anyone fall in love with the place. The snow white and golden framed light house stood just by the cliff. Towards the sunset time, when light-blades shredded through the fiery clouds, it looked as if the scene was cropped right out from a beautiful painting.

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To the south of the island were the fairy pools. It was a rocky walk along a small river which formed a number of connected pools and small waterfalls. On a good day, the path can go around the hills and eventually lead to a big lake in another basin. We couldn’t do it due to poor weather.

There were many other beautiful waterfalls and lakes around the island too, here are just a couple more pictures:

 

My picture are far from doing justice to the beauty of the island, nor can they bring any scent and fresh air. You need to be at Isle of Skye to be enthralled. It may seem a long journey that demands too much commitment, but I believe you won’t regret it.

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