For me, the Isle of Skye is the most magical place is Scotland. The lack of transport, although somewhat frustrating, comes with a certain charm that forces you to embrace local life, hire a car or stick out your thumb and hope for a lift. The island’s twisty one-lane roads, isolated white-painted houses and abundance of sheep throw you back in time to a more simplistic way of life that (as a Scott) I can’t help but feel proud of. With so much to see and do on Scotland’s famous Isle, here’s my list of the best things to see in Skye when navigating on a short 1 day time limit …
Fairy Glen of Skye
Also known as the Fairie Glen of Skye, this sits right at the top of my Isle of Skye must see list! However, not all of the locals are as fond of the spot as I am! The stone ring was created by visitors some years ago, and despite the local’s attempts to move them, new visitors continually replace them. The land today is used for crofting (small farming) and the stones tend to make their way down to the site from the dykes and walls created by farmers.
Despite Skye’s long history involving stories of fairies, Fairy Glen doesn’t actually have any real tales attached to it. Overlooking the Glen is Castle Ewen. Don’t be fooled by the name, the medieval castle-like formation isn’t actually a castle at all, but is named so due to the rock’s resemblance to a defence tower. The uncanny comparison is further reinforced by a narrow trail to the top, reminiscent of old castle bridleways. Regardless of the tall tales behind the Glen, it makes for a spectacular place to watch the sun go down and I still love the feeling of fantasy that comes with it.
The Old Man of Storr
You can’t visit the Isle of Skye without making the pilgrimage to the Old Man of Storr. The Storr (or mountain ridge) was created by an enormous ancient landslide and is now part of one of the most iconic landscapes in Scotland. The Old Man is the uniquely shaped pinnacle of rock that stands in front of the Storr, created over thousands of years by Skye’s incredible weathering. Think it looks familiar, but never been to Scotland? This other-worldly Skye attraction was the location for the opening scene of the movie Prometheus.
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
Literally 5 minutes up the road from the Storr, it’d be madness not to shoot up the road to Kilt Rock after your climb. Given its name due to the resemblance of a kilt, this famous cliff is a 90-meter wonder of sea-weathered basalt columns. These cliffs are home to the spectacular Mealt Falls, a breathtaking waterfall with a sheer 328 feet (100 m) drop into the waters below. The falls are visible from a viewpoint at the top of the cliff and are one of the few Isle of Skye attractions best viewed during/after heavy rainfall.
Fairy pools Skye
Not to be confused with Fairy Glen (they aren’t anywhere near each other), these pools are only accessible via a (manageable) trek route located at the foot of the Cuillin Mountains. Skye is teaming with Celtic legends talking of mystical souls living amongst the hills and waters of the island, so it’s little surprise that the turquoise waters of these pools are associated with them. The pools are made up from a series of small waterfalls tumbling down the gradual hillside and its not uncommon to see a brave visitor fully immerse themselves in the cold waters for a refreshing dip.
The walk will take you about 15 mins to the first set of pools, though the deeper, bluer ones are situated further to the top (around 30-45 mins walking). Expect to pay the £5 charge for parking your car at the start.
Skye Skyewalker Hostel – Glamping on the Isle of Skye
Doing Skye in a day can be exhausting. Add driving out of Skye to find accommodation back on Scotland’s mainland and you’ve got yourself an incredibly long day! Regardless of whether you’re on a budget or not, I recommend you lay your head down in the most popular hostel of the island. With its dark-sky night dome, Jedi Huts (YES, JEDI HUTS!) and giant chess board, Skyewalker Hostel gives visitors a glimpse into socialising Skye style. With Skye recently being declared one of the darkest spots in Europe due its low population, the solardome here is one of the coolest places to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way, shooting stars and even an orbiting satellite! Don’t fancy bunking with strangers? Don’t panic, the Jedi Huts are private, but be prepared and reserve way in advance; this place books up fast!
There are, of course, plenty more things to see in Skye. However, most tourists I meet are on tight time restraints and allow little time for this magnificent Island. After numerous visits, I find myself repeatedly returning to these spots, and this is why I recommend you add them to your Isle of Skye bucket list too!