Located on the west coast of Scotland lies the whimsical island of Skye. This island is the largest of all the islands in Scotland. This island has unique rock and land formations all layered with green moss, and cliffs that drop into the deep blue sea. The year-round population is small at about 9,000 people and a third of the population speak Gaelic. Summer hosts many travelers from in-country and abroad.
We began our visit by leaving Inverness at 6:00 AM. We drove the A890 to A87 for about 2.5 hours and arrived on the island about 8:30. Instead of heading north we drove the southern loop toward Dunvegan Castle and gardens with a stop off at the Fairy Pools for a hike.
We hiked a wide trail along the River Brittle which took us to the base of the Cuillin Mountains. The color of the river can change from green to blue depending on the sunlight. As you venture high up the path you can be sharing the trail with many tourists but head up farther and most people peter out and you are lost in a stream and valley all your own.
Our next stop is Dunvegan Castle which is still owned by the MacLeod Clan and is currently occupied by the clan chief during the milder months. The castle sits on the edge of the cliff overlooking the sea.
The gardens are really the crowning glory of the property. Visit in June when all the flowers are out.
The largest city on the island is Portree. The city is a great base for treks around the island. Renting a home is a budget conscious opportunity for your accommodations and it makes you feel like you are part of the island family. Buy groceries for lunches “on the go” and make dinners at your home away from home.
Portree is a very walkable village with 2 grocery stores, a handful of restaurants, a drugstore and many gift shops. Staying overnight is quiet and peaceful as visitors drop in by day and are gone by night. The main buildings on the harbor are painted in bright Easter egg colors, it’s a great place to get a snack and watch tourists. Taking a walk up the hill on Bank Street, past The Portree Free Church, is a pathway that takes you to a peninsula. This park is called the Lump and it is here you can see the Portree Harbor expanse and the mountains that surround it.
You can see quite a bit of the island in 2 days if you get up and out early and stay on a tight schedule. Doing this will keep you ahead of other tourists and you will feel like Skye is your very own, thought you might have to share the road with some sheep.
The next day we head out early again to do a hike that was by far our favorite part of the trip. Heading north on the A855 we arrive at a VERY small parking lot enough for about 8 cars, to hike the “OLD Man of Storr”. Though the hike is only about 2 miles it is straight up via switchbacks. Hiking up you can’t really see what all the excitement is about until you are about half way there. After hiking to the first hilltop view you can’t believe the mystical, foggy, outcroppings that are before you.
Continuing the hike to the top you see a bowl-shaped expanse below you and you are surrounded by massive rock formations and cliffs, as you hike down into the bowl you feel as if you are in a Hobbit movie.
We continued our drive north to Kilt rock (named because it looks like a Scottish kilt) with a tall waterfall plunging into the sea. This is a great photo op and a chance to stretch your legs.
Then we drive UP (I mean UP) some very tight single-track switch backs. We are heading to the area known as the Quiraing. This is a very large mountain which looks as though it has shifted and is hanging by a thread.
Skye makes you feel like you are truly in the purest part of Scotland. It is still the way it was many years ago. This island brings peace and rest to all who visit. Make sure to add this to your bucket list.
So, what is our “Visual Journey” takeaway from the Isle of Skye:
The colors of Skye bring blues and greens to the eye and at times can dominate the palette, but hints of dark stone and random wildflowers balance the expanse. For those of you who want to implement Scotland into your home, here is your color palette:
How can we bring Skye home? Here are our 3 levels of design to consider.
Level 1 – Purchase a wool Tartan blanket and use it as a tablecloth.
Level 2- Wallpaper in back in! Consider a botanical theme like our Dunvegan Garden.
Level 3 – Reupholster or purchase a new wing back chair to give a regal look a room and pick fabric from the color palette.