3-4 October: The Isle Skye continues to bewitch us

Author: Mrs A

Location: Neist Point Lighthouse, Dunvegan Castle. Portree, and Uig, Isle of Skye, UK

Sunrise on Thursday morning was a pink affair, complete with a seal fishing in the loch just metres from us. It was also about 7 degrees centigrade, so we just admired the wildlife from the warmth of the camper.

Good morning Skye! The two people on the beach in front were watching the seal too
A fine start to the day – red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning…or so they say

We decided to drive out to Neist Point Lighthouse, supposedly spectacular walking and amazing views. The road out there, as we have come to expect on Skye, was single track and rather potholed, with some extremely narrow passing spots, often leaving us teetering on the edge of a steep drop. Mr A used every ounce of strength to overcome his fear of heights (and fear of us toppling down a precipice!) to skilfully guide us to the coast.

Narrow and twisty road, often heavily potholed and always single track, it was slow going but stunning scenery

Once there, we stepped out into gale force icy wind whistling off the sea, and I almost leaped back into Truffy to shelter. A stern look from Mr A told me I needed to at least sight the lighthouse before we drove back along that road! Wearing almost every warm thing we own, we picked our way along the cliff top to admire the spectacular coastline. Steep plunging cliffs, a combination of black rock and green foliage, heading down to a deep turquoise sea, covered in the white caps of rough windswept waves greeted us – just incredible.

Can barely remember how cold my fingers got minus gloves photographing this idyllic scene
Is that a smile or a grimace?
It really is a special bit of coast

Walking in the other direction, we found the views down to the lighthouse, deciding the forego the path that takes you down to its front door. It is absolutely breathtaking, even when viewed through eyes streaming with tears from the chill wind.

The colours are spectacular. Neist Point Lighthouse, full frontal to the wind.
So windy my hood is blowing up…and I appreciate the warmth around my ears!

We didn’t hang around, musing at how an opportunity has been missed here by the community of Skye. Surely a clifftop cafe with nice warm double glazing serving steaming mugs of hot drinks, and selling locally made woollen gloves and beanies would make an absolute killing here? We certainly would have been a couple of willing customers.

We made our way back into Dunvegan and the privately owned Dunvegan Castle and gardens.

Dunvegan Castle – developed piecemeal between the 13th and 19th centuries

This has been home to the chief of the MacLeod Clan on Skye for 800 years. Towers and walls were put up over the centuries on this castle with no thought to the overall look and feel of the place, until the 1800s when the then then chief of the MacLeod Clan decided to ‘bring it all together’ rendering the outside and adding the more ‘castle-like’ features of the building such as drawbridge entranceway and canons pointing out into the Loch.

The current clan chief still lives in the castle, splitting his time between here and a house in London. The upper two floors remain locked and private, but we were able to explore the lower floors, well preserved and containing centuries worth of antiques and relics.

These walls could tell a few stories we’re sure

We were left to our own devices to explore the castle, its various towers and dungeons, the different centuries of rooms and stairwells quite evident.

This is a relic of what was known as the ‘Fairy Flag’ – apparently dated back to somewhere between the 4th and 7th centuries, legend has it this contains magical powers and was often used in battles to help scrape victory when defeat was imminent
I spy a familiar view in one of the rooms, seen in the background of a portrait of the previous MacLeod clan chief who died in 2007
We had a short tour of the gardens
Plenty of colour left in the gardens with an extensive team of workers constantly there

We drove across the island to Portree, where we settled down in a campground for the evening.

The following morning we drove into Portree for a look around, finding it to be a sweet little fishing town. The first port of call was a friendly outdoors shop, and within 15 minutes I was kitted out with a Marino wool neck scarf, a nice warm bobble hat and some windproof and waterproof gloves. Finally I was suitably attired for the Scottish weather!

Nice and warm – makes a huge difference!
Loving this little harbour
A beautiful clear morning

The UK and Ireland are taking a battering weather wise with plenty of rain and wind – the remnants of Hurricane Lorenzo, an Italian sounding storm which has been whipping things up off the coast of Africa and moving steadily in our direction. We thought we ought to take advantage of the fine weather and hit the road.

Amazing views up the east coast of Skye towards the ‘Old Man of Storr’ – a pinnacle of rock which can be seen for miles around

We followed the east coast, stopping to admire the spectacular views. An Cailc was an interesting location near where there used to be a diatomite mine (a clay-chalk like substance which goes into making dynamite, paints, polishes and even filtration for beer). Now there are just a few ruins of what was a major industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with the mine closing down in 1960.

The cliffs look like they have been covered in green felt!
Looking inland towards the Quiraing, an area popular with hill walkers
Mr A enjoying the view from the safety of behind the railings
One of three waterfalls plunging their way down to the sea

We took our time enjoying the view but choosing not to take the steep and slippery walk down to the base of the waterfalls, before continuing on our way around the coast.

Again, single track roads with amazing views

Reaching the top of the island, the road hugged the cliff, turquoise waters on our right and rolling greenery on our left. The colours can only be described as delicious and the scenery and road among the most beautiful we have seen.

Must be one of the top coastal drives in the UK

We had decided to investigate staying longer in Scotland’s western isles, having been absolutely bewitched by Skye. We have seen a lot but not everything, and the island has more to offer us in the future. We headed to the little village of Uig, from where we knew we might be able to catch a ferry to the island of Harris.

Our travel route around the Isle of Skye

It was meant to be. I managed to get us on the 14:10 sailing from Uig to Tarbert and we joined the queue.

Driving onto our fourth ferry since May
Farewell to Uig and the Isle of Skye

It was a gentle couple of hours’ cruise over the inner seas off the West Coast of Scotland and time went quickly.

Lovely scenery to keep us occupied on the crossing
Lovely views of the coast of Skye as we depart

Before long we were sighting small islands and rocky outcrops again as we approached the island of Harris, home to Harris Tweed. The story from here will be over to Mr A, which he will share soon…

We really enjoyed our time in Skye, made all the more special by the fabulous weather. We know we were very lucky on this occasion – but please don’t be put off by the potential for cold or wet weather. It is a spectacular part of the world regardless.

Our first view of Harris
Adventurer extraordinaire…another day another island…

3 Replies to “3-4 October: The Isle Skye continues to bewitch us”

  1. You both look at home, albeit cold, in rugged Scotland and how lovely to follow your travels! My sister and I toured Scotland in July and discovered a wonderful aromatic gin from the Isle of Harris. If you like gin it is a must try, and not easy to come by (had to use Click and Collect to procure it as we did not actually visit the Isle). Isle of Harris Gin. The bottle is quite beautiful.
    My mother’s mother’s family is from Aberdeen and the Highlands so we felt akin to the country and loved it as much as it sounds you are! Safe travels and continued great adventures you two!

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