The Isle of Skye part I was dedicated to its south and central parts. In part II I am going to focus on the northern part, which tourists find very attractive, and where the majority of well known, popular natural beauties can be found.
11. The Old Man of Storr
Take A855, to find the most outstanding natural phenomenon on the island. There, only a few kilometers north of Portree, dominates one stone needle. Almost 50m tall, standing on its own, it certainly is one of the most favourite touristic sites, where no camera stays forgotten in the backpack. Be ready to meet a lot of people standing in awe around the Storr, especially in high season. To get to it, you’ll need an hour and a half. Depends on your pace, and how many breaks you are going to take to rest. We have met a lot of families with kids, so obviously nothing to worry about. You will sail through it. Your walk starts at a car park. That might be full so, like many others, you may end up parking your car along the side of the road. If you are a loner, prefer solitude, and want to avoid heaps of tourists, start your hike in early morning hours. We started ours in heavy downpour. Many were put off, and simply turned around and walked away. We, however, were all ready for the changeable weather. Ten minutes after the downpour, sun was up and shining at us. Which was great. And till we came up, this shift of weather happened three more times. So triple great.
12. Lealt Falls
Lealt Falls – the next stop. Many confuse them with better known Mealt Falls, which are a bit further up north. A short walk from the car park, and you’ll get to cliffs with amazing vistas. It will take you a minute or two, to realize the presence of waterfalls, which you actually came to admire. It is all ok. You just have to walk up to the very far end of the cliffs, turn around, and you can enjoy the view fully.
13. Rubha nam Brathairean (Brother’s Point)
In the area between Lealt Falls and Mealt Falls, there is one – not so known and hidden gem, called Brother’s Point. It is not signposted in any particular way, and Baedekers do not mention it much either. That is why many miss it all the time. For the others, Glenview Hotel may serve as a good landmark. It is situated on the left side of the road. Right behind it, there is a small car park, which might be confused with a breakdown lane. The touristic trail is starting right across the road from it. A small, hardly noticeable sign, saying Rubha nam Brathairean, will let you know that you are in the right spot.
Those who have been, say it offers most gorgeous sceneries. We cannot confirm that, as we haven’t managed to get there. There was just enough time for us to see either Brother’s Point, or Quiraing. The latter won. Anyway, we wanted to let those, who like hidden secret places, know about it, and to give them a chance to experience it. From what we know about it, it takes about 2 hours to get there, and in adverse weather conditions, it is highly recommended to stay vigilant all the time.
14. Mealt Falls
Together with the Old Man of Storr and Quiraing, the Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock are the most frequented spots of the northern part of the island. Transport accessibility, undemanding terrain which is not too rough, and time saving are the reason why buses full of tourists keep flooding this area. This waterfall drops from the height of basalt cliffs (resembling Scottish kilt) directly into the ocean. However, to have a better view, you will have to lean out.
Are you fond of dinosaurs? In Staffin, you can learn some more about them and their presence here in Prehistoric times. The private museum, founded by Dugald Ross, is not extra large, but it is quite appealing alright. If you are into seeing something more real though, like dinosaur footprints out in the nature, you can go back in time at An Corran Beach. Go when low tide, and become an explorer on adventure trip, looking for smaller size fossils. Look for direction and other information on a board at the car park.
Quiraing is a rock formation of tectonic origin in the north part of the island. Easily accessed, it enjoys great popularity. Tourists love it. They start their hike at the car park, which is large, but full in high season anyway. Don’t worry though, if you wait a little, you surely will find new vacant spots for your car.
If the weather is nice, the circuit can be walked in 2-3 hours, and will offer plenty of fantastic pictures on your camera. In case it is not, and there is a downpour or fog, it is not recommended to undergo this hike because of safety reasons.
If you don’t take the turn towards Quiraing, A855 (going north) will take you to Flodigarry. There is a board, which is not too noticeable, but you can spot a small car park, if you know to expect it. In no time then, you will find yourself at Loch Langaig, which has a strange unique atmosphere, thanks to the mountains (Quiraing on the north-east side) surrounding it.
18. Duntulm Castle
Not really a castle anymore, Duntulmcastle is only a ruin now. To visit it, you’ll only need minutes, not more. However, you won’t be able to get directly to the ‘castle’, as its ruins and bedrock are very unstable. Anyway, if you are not short of time, it is definitely worth to stop by at this place. When we were there, we had an extra bonus in our view. There was a submarine afloat!
19. Museum of Island life
In case of bad weather, or if you simply feel like finding out more about life on this island, you should go to the Museum of Islandlife near the town of Kilmur. In shacks, and only for a small fee (2.50€ per adult), you are going to be shown, how people used to live and work here 100 years ago. You can also pay a visit to the grave of Flora Mac Donald, who was a significant character of Scottish history and the Jacobite Risings
20. Fairy Glen and Uig
Some might disagree with me on this, but I was a bit disappointed from this place. The reviews I had read before our trip made me believe this place to be extraordinary, so obviously, my expectations were pretty high. Of course, it does not mean it is not worthy your visit. This miniature landscape with miniscule hills, rock formations and a lake can be found close to the village of Uig. Just so that you know, Uig is the only place on the island, where they brew beer. You can also catch a ferry from here to the Isle of Lewis and Harris (in Outer Hebrides).
A sharp bend towards Fairy Glen is steep and hardly noticeable, as well as the sign board which should notify you of your whereabouts. You can either walk from a car park, which is behind this turning, or you can go for a longer walk by taking a narrow path towards it.
21. Dunvegan Castle
Originally built to serve as a fort at the shore of Loch Dunvegan, Dunvegan Castle is closely connected to Skye’s history, and it is Scotland’s best known historical building, which has been continuously occupied by one family for many centuries. It is very attractive for tourists indeed. It is the seat of Mac Leod Clan, in which you can learn about the history and the clan itself. Collection of exhibited things is rich in paintings, weapons and other historical artifacts, such as Fairy Flag. That one is believed to posses some magical powers. So the legend says at least. If you prefer outside activities, there are beautiful Gardens for you to admire, or you can go ship cruising on the lake and watch seals.
22. Claigan Coral Beach
This beach can be found only couple of kilometers away from the Dunvegan Castle. It is a beautiful white beach, only 20 minutes walk away from a car park belonging to it. Its contrasting colour, which sticks out so much from its surroundings, comes from crushed white corals. We’ve decided to come at the sunset, when there wasn’t a living soul to be found. That, in fact, is a very unlikely phenomenon to experience during mornings or afternoons, from what we have heard.
23. The Neist Point Lighthouse
You’ll walk to it on a narrow path, with places where you are definitely going to pray not to meet a cow walking the opposite direction. Built in 1900, 43 m.a.s.l., the lighthouse is privately owned at the moment. A neat path right from the car park is going to take you there in 25 minutes. In summer, you can watch whales from the lighthouse too. You can visit it in raw weather as well, but in case of poor visibility, it is advised to walk with increased caution at the cliff edges indeed. I, personally, recommend to walk to the top of adjacent cliffs (on the right side, above the car park), which offer spectacular view. Don’t forget to wear solid waterproof shoes. This place is very popular with photographers, and to tell you the truth, it won me over too.