Isle of Skye
The misty and romantic Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye
Comprising a myriad of islets, islands, and reefs off Scotland's northwest shore, the area contains arguably the most spectacular scenery in the Highlands. A bridge links Kyleakin on Skye with the Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland.
Just Fifty miles long from northern Skye's volcanic plateau to the ice-sculpted Cullins, nowhere on Skye is more than six miles from the sea. With a coastline hundreds of miles long, the force of the Atlantic Ocean pounds against tall cliffs punctuated by sheltered bays and inlets - to the far west lie long sandy beaches.
The Isle of Skye is a misty romantic place that makes you feel like you are at the end of the earth. It is a great location for Honeymooners, families and hikers. Let us customise our Highlands and Islands Tour itinerary to match your requirements.
A brief history of Skye and the Outer Hebrides
Neolithic farmers around 4500BC first inhabited the area. Coastal dwellers left evidence of their presence in the form of graves and stone circles, the most famous of which is at Calanais on Lewis. The Vikings were present from around 700 AD, and many of the place names on Lewis is of Norse origin. It was not until 1266 that the islands came under Scottish rule.
The connection with Bonnie Prince Charlie is perhaps Skye's greatest claim to fame. After the Jacobite army's defeat under Charles Edward Stewart (Bonny Prince Charlie) at the Battle of Culloden in 1745, he became a fugitive from the English. He was rescued by Flora MacDonald, who is buried at Kilmuir.
Throughout the 1790s kelp, harvesting became a mainstay of the island's economy but fell away around 1820, leaving many destitute. Clearance policies and forced emigration to the New World (generally America) during the mid-1800s significantly depleted the island population. You still see abandoned villages on several of the islands.
From around the mid-18th century, the islands were sold to various merchants and landowners, Lord Leverhulme, who attempted to turn Lewis into a viable fishing industry.
Its geological history has given rise to some of the most varied and dramatic scenery anywhere in Britain. Evidence of social unrest resulting from the clan system's demise exists in the form of derelict and abandoned crofter's cottages. However, sheep and cattle continue to graze the limestone grasslands as they have done for many years. While the necessary roads in Skye are adequate, many of the mountain roads are either poor or non-existent. The appearance of the countryside today is much as Bonny Prince Charlie would have seen it.
Places to see
Unquestionably, the main attraction of Skye is the spectacular scenery. Every direction you look features a reminder of just how special the area is. Four areas merit special mention as being of unbelievably outstanding natural beauty and not to be missed: the soaring peaks of the Cuillins, the fantastic rock formations of the Trotternish peninsula, both of which are firm favourites of walkers and climbers. The mountains of North Harris and the wonderful sandy beaches on the Atlantic coast of South Harris and the Uists are equally popular.
Other attractions are Dunvegan Castle, for over seven centuries the seat of the chiefs of the Clan MacLeod. It is open to the public, and among its treasures is a lock of Bonnie Prince Charlie's hair, a four-pint drinking horn, and a fairy flag. The flag is reputed to have three magical properties: on the battlefield, it ensures a MacLeod victory (and has done so twice!), on his marriage bed, it will endow the MacLeod chief with children and, unfurled at Dunvegan, it will charm herring into the loch.
Portree, the capital of Skye, has a colourful harbour at the mouth of a pretty loch. The Talisker Distillery produces one of the best Highland malts, often described as "the lava of the Cuillins.
Hiking and adventure activities
We can provide experience hiking guides to take you through the formidable Cuillins and experience the dramatic beauty of Skye. We can pair hiking with canoeing and wild-swimming - its an adventure that is not for everyone.
Touring and accommodation
If available, we highly recommend staying at the Dan The Torridian Hotel or the Skeabost Hotel. Both offer outstanding accommodation. Skeabost has the ruins of a chapel with connections to St Columba and Medieval tombstones in the graveyard. If you are a foody and appreciate the fine dining experience, we recommend Kinloch Lodge Hotel. The hotel is close to port, which helps greatly when touring the island.
Remember, we can always customise our tours to reflect any specific interests or requirements you may have. Our Tour-Designers can customise our Highlands and Islands Tour itinerary to match your requirements. Our Tour-Designer team is on hand to tailor a Private Tour of Scotland based on your specific interests, budget and time.
The Misty Isle
Explore Scotland's most beautiful Island with an expert guide
- Adventure and Survival Guides Available
- Go Wild Swimming
- Kayak Tours Available
- Hike with an Expert Guide
- Learn about Gaelic Culture
Cycle the Trotternish Peninsula
Kilt Rocks and Mealt Falls
The Capital of Portree
Enjoy wildlife adventures - Grey Seals