Scotland: Day 5

Initially I had planned to drive around Isle of Skye on our own. But then after thinking this through, I realized it would be better to let someone else do the driving and add in some story telling. We booked a tour through Real Scottish Journeys which promised to take us from top to bottom of the islands.

After a delicious breakfast, we headed to downtown Portree. Our bed & breakfast is about a fifteen minute walk away. There we met with our tour guide – Murray – and boarded the small (wee) bus and headed off to the fairy pools.

Most of the water on Isle of Skye is “dyed” brown by the peat. The fairy pools are these amazingly clear pools of water and waterfalls that line a crevice in a mountain. That said, these are really something special. To get to them, you must hike down through the crevice and back up the mountain a bit. Definitely worth the hike, even if James slipped and missed a rock at one point and submerged his foot in the icy cold river. Give yourself 60 – 90 minutes to explore, at least.

From the fairy pools we started North and stopped off at Café Lephin for lunch. Originally I had planned to eat a sandwich I made, but after walking in, I knew I had to have a bowl of their zucchini and leek soup with oat cakes and a gluten free brownie. James had a sandwich from the café, along with a piece of Victoria sponge cake.

Next stop was Neist (pronounced like east with an N in front of it) lighthouse. This was another short but mighty hike. James and I whisked down to the bottom along the left side, to visit the lighthouse, and then madly climbed back up a ridiculously steep hill so we could go along the other side to get the famous shot of Neist on the cliff. (worth it) Everything is so stunningly beautiful here.

Following Neist was the Fairy Glenn, which hadn’t even been on my radar. The Fairy Glenn is a section of a farmer’s croft where these beehive looking mounds of earth have appeared. Everything is green and amazing. We climbed as many as we could before boarding the bus.

The Quiraing was also on the agenda. This was where James and I originally had wanted to hike. And while we agreed that the view would have definitely been worth the strenuous work out, we were OK with the bus taking us to the exact spot to. The views here are STUNNING.

From the Quiraing we drove to Kilt rock, a cliff in which the rock formation looks like a Scottish kilt with pleats. A waterfall runs down the side of the cliff into the ocean.

The final stop of the tour was at Old Man Storr, a single rock that juts up into the sky.

We made our way back into Portree around 6:30. James and I raced back to our bed & breakfast so that we could change (we were covered in mud!) and then headed to Scorrybreac for dinner. This is one of the restaurants that is impossible to get a reservation at if you don’t book months in advance. The food did not disappoint. They served popcorn and a mushrooms leek soup to start. I had the basil crème brulee, Highland lamb and chamomile panna cotta. James had the beef tartar, halibut with vegetable noodles (sooo good!) and a chocolate whiskey cake. If you’ll be in Skye, make a reservation! Amazing!

And so we wind down our last evening in Skye. This is a beautiful area with an ugly history and past. Currently there are only 11,000 people who live on Skye, which was once thriving prior to the Battle of Culloden. (in the hundred years after the battle, about 30,000 – 40,000 people left)

The towns are amazingly cute, and there is a mobile bank, library and movie cinema that travels around so that folks can do what they gotta do to live here.