Our Camping Adventure 2017: Skye
I visited Skye once before by accident. Well, not accidentally that’s maybe not the right word. I went to Skye before but never realised I did. Let me explain – my Dad loves going for drives, once we were staying on the Black Isle on the north east coast of Scotland and we drove all the way to Skye and back one day. You may be thinking that’s quite a trek did you not notice you were going the 130 miles to Skye. I didn’t. I did read my book though.
Anyway, I digress. This year for summer we decided to have a staycation. We spent a week in a Lodge in Aviemore with my Dad’s side of the family and then a week visiting Skye, Harris, and Mallaig with my mum. I will write a few blog posts about the different parts of my trip. I will also write a separate post about our tent and camping set up.
Kyle of Lochalsh
On booking the trip we planned to spend a night at the South of Skye, a night in the west and then on coming back from Harris a night in the north of Skye. Unfortunately, we soon learned that Skye is really busy in the Summer and most places don’t accept a booking for just one night so we had to readjust our plans. We stayed for 2 nights at Morvich, which is on the mainland. Along the road from Eilean Donan Castle.
Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Scotland. If Hollywood films need a Scottish Castle they go to Eilean Donan. James Bond, Entrapment, Maid of Honour, Highlander are all located here. Truth be told, it is pretty cool to see but it’s not as cool as it looks in the movies. It’s full of coach trips and tourists and an overpriced gift shop. I didn’t bother going in because reading the literature about it made me think it was a bit of a Scottish stereotype of a castle. Sorry.
Broadford on Skye is one of the first ‘towns’ you come to. There are a few wee shops in Broadford and is good for a wee walk around. Notably, there is the Isle of Skye Candle Company. I first came across them at the Country Living Fair a few years ago and love them. They are really lovely candles that are totally natural and burn nice and cleanly. I have the Sleep Sensation Reed Diffuser in my bedroom and it honestly just makes it such a relaxing place. If you have difficulties sleeping or relaxing I recommend this! The shop is lovely and of course, I picked up some supplies for the journey!
We also stopped at Cafe Sia. This is a restaurant/ cafe in Broadford that we looked at on the way up to the top of Skye but revisited on our way home. The menu is extensive and reasonably priced; this is one thing we noticed a lot of places in Skye seemed to cash in a little bit on their remote nature and would charge a lot more for food that wasn’t always great. Cafe Sia prides itself on its fresh ingredients. I also loved how they had a lot of Gluten and Dairy Free options! I had the Haggis Sandwich. My mum and husband each had pizzas which looked and tasted amazing! Worth a pit stop here!
Portree is the main town on Skye there is a small co-op here if you need to pick up supplies. Most of the shops are aimed at the tourist market. Think lots of Woolen Mills and Tartan. It is a cute wee town to walk around and down to the harbor the buildings are painted in bright colors a bit like Tobermory (as made famous in Balamory).
DunveaganWe drove up to the North West Corner of Skye to Dunvegan. Dunvegan is famous for Dunvegan Castle – this is the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland. Again I did the Drive-by of the castle! It was a really miserable day and it was £16 to get in and we didn’t fancy walking in the rain around the castle and gardens! We did go to the shop and cafe. The scones in the cafe were really good and the rest of the food looked lovely!
There was a museum in Dunvegan I wanted to go to but couldn’t convince my family to go. The Giant Angus MacAskill Museum – this is a museum dedicated to a guy call Angus MacAskill who was 7ft 9”. That’s pretty impressive, right? I wish I went to the museum – Next time!
The fairy pools seem to be mentioned in every single tourist book about Skye – However, they are not very well signposted. We did eventually find the right road and after driving around the windy roads we came to the car park. The fairy pools are a collection of small waterfalls that flow into each other. Unfortunately, we went on the wettest day of the year and so we couldn’t actually get across to the Fairy Pools as the river you have to hop across was flowing really fast. The delicate pools were more like river rapids. But we did get quite a cool picture of the whooshing waterfall.
Uig is in the north of Skye and is where we got the ferry across to Harris. Alongside the ferry port, there is a lovely pottery shop which is cool to go in and watch the potters creating different pieces. The items were nice but pretty pricey! There is a pub/restaurant which was incredibly busy! At the port there is also is the Isle of Skye Brewery – which sells locally produced beers and other pretty cool merchandise. There was a wide selection of beers available – however, what was a little frustrating is that you couldn’t sample the beers before buying. I just had to kind of guess. A wee sample would have gone a long way!
The final area we visited was Staffin on the North East Coast of Skye – we stayed here for one night on our way back from Harris. The campsite was a little strange – in that, in order to book it, I phoned, then had to send a letter with a cheque, which they never acknowledged so I had to call back several times. No one really knew what was going on and then when we got there the man who was checking us in was very… eccentric and kept trying to overcharge us.
We went to The Kilmartin Restaurant in Staffin, which was the only place open. Remember before I mentioned about people cashing in on their remoteness – this was one of these places. The food was pricey and wasn’t great. In fact, my mum ordered a Chicken pie and it came that way you know when you bung a pie in the microwave and it’s soggy and overcooked at the same time yeah this pie was like that. We told the waiter when he eventually came to clear the table and the next thing we know the cook from the kitchen came out all angry at my mum saying she’s always cooked pies that way and no-one has complained… Safe to say we were a little bit intimidated and when we left had to make sure we weren’t followed! Wouldn’t recommend it!
On this part of the island is the famous Kilt Rock and Old Man of Storr. Kilt Rock is a rock formation that looks a little like the plaits of a kilt. It’s pretty cool but not overly exciting. It was really foggy so we couldn’t see the Old Man of Storr up close. Got a picture of it later on the landscape.Overall Skye was beautiful. It’s where they filmed BFG and parts of the newest Star Wars Films and you can see why. The landscape is vast, interesting and unspoiled. I recommend a visit here at some point in your life. Although be prepared for A LOT of tourists and coach trips during the summer season!