1998 Trip to the Isle of Skye

There are links to pictures dispersed throughout this account. All of these,and more, can be found, with thumbnails, on my Skye98 picture page.

Don't let the small size of Scotland fool you. It's a long way from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye. In so many different ways. To begin with, it takes a while to get there. Rebecca, a friend of mine, drove us up in her car. We left at about 11AM and arrived at around 6:30PM. Of course, we did stop a few times along the way. A notable stop was Blair Atholl outside of Perth and near Pitlochery -- there's a great looking castle there, lots of trails, and some gardens. It looks to merit a full day in and of itself. Less notable was the waterfall that wasn't. We also passed by some lovely scenery on the way -- lots of Lochs, including Loch Oich and Loch Lochy, as well as some craggy looking hills/mountains.

We finally arrived at the hostel in Flodigarry just before dinner time. It took some finding, because even though it turned out to be well signed, the village of Flodigarry (about 4 miles north of Staffin, which is maybe 15 miles north of Portree, the administrative center of Skye) is quite small and has two signs saying something like "Welcome to Flodigarry". So it was a bit confusing. When combined with the roads (one lane in many places, with lots of "passing places") we were quite glad to get out of the car.

After dinner, Rebecca and I walked about 4 miles towards Duntulum, where there are the ruins of an ancient castle. Then it started to rain. So we walked four miles back to the hostel. In the rain. In the dark. With sheep in the road. It was not terribly pleasant.

The next day, after waiting all morning for a mechanic to fix Rebecca's car (tit always breaks when I'm around), we motored down the road towards Storr. The Old Man of Storr is this big sandstone(?) column that's on a fairly high hill. Rebecca and I traded places climbing up so that I could take a picture of her and she could take a picture of me. About midway up I stopped to snap this shot. That's the Scottish mainland in the distance.

After Storr we went back up north towards the hostel, stopping at Kilt Rock. There's a beautiful waterfall there and it's a nice view, but not very exciting. We drove past the hostel, dropping off two hitch-hikers we picked up (it's actually a recommended way of travelling on Skye), and on to Duntulum (finally). It turned out to be really nice, situated on the northernmost point of the island. Unfortunately, the only picture I have is this one of me inside the ruins.

That night we went to the local (only) pub in Flodigarry and heard some folk music. It turns out that the singer there knew the singer (Graham) who plays at the Ensign Ewert, a pub I frequent in Edinburgh. Graham had played at this guys stag night. Anyway, it was good fun.

The next day we headed for Dunvegan, ancestral and current home of clan MacLeod. They've been living in Dunvegan Castle since around 1263, and the current chief is the 29th. We spent about four hours here, walking in the gardens, touring the castle itself, and taking a boat out into Dunvegan Loch to see some seals in the colony there. I definitely recommend this to anyone planning a trip to Skye!

Given that many of Scotland's roads are one lane in each direction (or even just one lane on Skye itself), driving to Skye can take longer than you might think. There's also some very distracting scenery. But unless we had taken bikes or hired them on the island I don't think we would have seen nearly as much in only two days had we not driven. So I can easily give the Isle of Skye my seal of approval as a must-see part of the UK, and recommend either a car or a week long holiday to get a decent view of the island.

Last modified: Mon Aug 17 15:34:17 BST 1998