When Anya and I woke up, we were well-rested and eager for a full day exploring Skye. (Okay, Anya might’ve been a wee bit groggy.) Outside our door, Wallace was waiting with tail wagging. He grabbed an oversized stick (oversized stuff seems to be in fashion nowadays), and tossed it at my feet with expectant eyes. I played with him for a few minutes before we set off.
The drive along the southern coast was breathtaking. To our right, the sun rose from behind the mountains on the mainland, spilling light into the Sound of Sleat. Puffy, white clouds were made golden.
A couple years back, I came across a photo of the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen. It was a photo of Glen Sligachan on the Isle of Skye, taken by Dave Massey. Since then, I’d been dying to visit that wondrous spot.
I saw the sign for Sligachan and then Sligachan Old Bridge came into view.
I had forgotten to tell Anya that I wanted to make a stop and suddenly exclaimed, “Oh, my gosh! It’s Glen Sligachan! An, I’ve been dreaming of this place for years!”
Anya, being the accommodating person that she is, turned off the main road and found a nearby hotel car park. We hopped out for some photos of the great glen. The weather had gotten classically Scottish (aka cloudy), but it was still a sight to behold. The glen called for me, inviting me to explore it on foot, but Anya’s call was louder. We had places to go.
A windy single-track road led us to the car park for the fabled Fairypools of Skye. It was 9 a.m., and there were only two other cars despite it being a popular tourist attraction.
We set out on the path through Glen Brittle. In no time, we stood in awe beside the River Brittle where crystal waters were cascading into turquoise pools. There were several waterfalls along the way, and we kept stopping to admire them and take photos (and do silly dances).
We made our way closer to Sgùrr an Fheadain, the volcano-like hill in the backdrop of the Fairypools. The landscape was one of the most dramatic I’d ever seen with clouds obscuring the higher peaks of the looming Black Cuillin. Seeing no more pools, we turned around to head back.
As we passed a pool, I felt drawn to the water but turned away and continued down the path. At the next pool, I turned to Anya.
“I kind of want to go in.”
Anya wasn’t surprised. “I mean, you can if you want to…”
“I brought a towel and extra clothes in case I got the urge,” I said with a mischievous grin. “And I know I’ll regret if I don’t go in.”
I looked at the water, knowing full well that it’d be frigid, and then said, “I’ve got to do it! I’m going to do it!”
I stripped down to the bathing suit I’d been wearing under my clothes and hobbled down the stony gorge and into the water. Immediately, the sensation of the icy water overwhelmed by senses. I continued on until I got to a spot deep enough to lay down. I looked at Anya before sliding down under the water. I sprung up quickly, the water still clinging to my goose-bump-covered skin.
The next leg of our journey was a pleasant drive north to the town of Uig. The sky had cleared considerably, and the sun illuminated the coastal waters to our left. The road soon curved around the gorgeous Uig Bay. Uig itself is a tiny village with about 400 inhabitants, but it boasts a ferry port, stunning scenery and artisan shops.
We popped into Quirky Clay Studio and Uig Pottery. At the latter, I bought a quaich for my friend Olivia. A quaich is a shallow, two-handled drinking cup. It’s a traditional Scottish gift of friendship.
Falls of Rha
Just outside of Uig are the Falls of Rha. They’re not particularly well-known falls but nonetheless beautiful. And, because they’re a hidden gem, Anya and I had them to ourselves. It was simple enough to find the falls. We spent a few minutes taking photos and enjoying the tranquility. Then, it was back on the road…
Note: Not far from Uig is the Fairy Glen, one of the most popular spots on Skye. Anya and I didn’t get there, but it’s on my list for the future.
We winded up a narrow road until we found ourselves surrounded by moorlands where sheep were scattered. As it was spring, newborn lambs were scampering behind their parents, made skittish by the passing of cars.
We soon rounded a bend where there was a carpark, and we decided to stop briefly to check out the area. Little did we know that we’d arrived at the Quiraing, one of Scotland’s most scenic areas.
A trail ahead seemed like the logical place to go. By following it, we were led to an expansive outlook. To our right, jagged cliffs snaked across the landscape, bathed in the gold light of the setting sun. Two distant lakes reflected the brilliant blue sky above.
To our left, tall towers of rock disappeared into a cluster of low-hanging clouds. Several people were further along the trail, making their way towards The Needle, a sharp spire of rock. We were tempted to continue on but didn’t have time. We both agreed that we’d visit again.
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
On the way to Portree, we made a brief stop at Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls. This place is known for its geography. (Nearby, there are also dinosaur footprints.) Kilt Rock is a striking section of coastal cliffside. It is comprised of basalt rock columns on a sandstone base.
Beside Kilt Rock is Mealt Falls. From the viewpoint, it’s a lovely cascade, but drone footage reveals an even more dramatic view. (Currently, the use of drones is prohibited at the site.) The backdrop for Mealt Falls is Loch Mealt and the Quiraing. Knowing this, I wished I had been a bird. However, the winds were wicked, and Mealt Falls sprayed back onto us.
At last we reached the capital of Skye: Portree. It’s a pleasant, wee town with a gorgeous harbour. For dinner, we had a reservation at The View, located just outside the town centre. From there, we had a beautiful view of Loch Portree. The evening sky was colourful and bright, and we enjoyed a satisfying meal. We made a brief stop for photos of the colourful harbour before the scenic drive back to our Airbnb.
Stay tuned for Part Three of Escape from Lockdown: Our Trip to the Mystic Isle of Skye!
This week, I’m thanking Bryan Millar Walker, a Scottish tour guide who’ll help you discover the best of Scotland. He posts stunning photography (including lots of puffins) and informative videos all about Scotland. (Oh, and he has a very soothing voice complemented by his Scottish accent, so that’s pretty great!) He’s also quite famous on Instagram and TikTok and has recently launched a YouTube channel. Follow him for some of the best Scotland content in your feed! Thanks for the secrets of Scotland, Bryan!