One Day on Isle of Skye
How does one follow an epic Icelandic adventure? With an equally epic Scotland trip, duh! Scotland was on my list of “must visit” places for a while and I’m not sure whether to credit PBS, National Geographic, or Groundskeeper Willy. More specifically, the Isle of Skye was on the list -- it seems to be what they show on TV more. Imagine my surprise, though, after booking an airplane to Glasgow only to find out that Isle of Skye is a 6-hour drive away! We had 1 week in Scotland and 3 cities to visit (how about them trip logistics?). There was no way I was going to miss seeing the Isle of Skye, so I looked for the most gas friendly car available and started mentally preparing for the shortest but most efficient self-tour of Isle of Skye ever (don’t quote me).
Getting to the Isle
Although we did end up with a nice, little, and ridiculously efficient (I saw +99mpg!) Nissan Leaf from Sixt car rental, do yourself a favor and find a car rental company that is on the airport grounds. We ended up having to hunt for our car.
Side bar: I was pleasantly surprised about driving on the right side of a car and the left side of the road. It's not as bad as I thought it’d be. Although not going to lie, I did have to chant to myself “left side left side” during the drive as a reminder.
Driving directions from Glasgow to Skye are pretty simple, A82 to A87. That’s it! But the actual roads and the act of actually getting there? That's a whole freaking other story. As it turns out, A-roads are not highways. They’re narrow, windy, stoned lined roads where incoming traffic is right next to you. On your side of the car. I’m talking buses and shit. Now, that took getting used to. A-roads are what make a seemingly short 200 miles turn into a 6-hour trip.
Because you’ll probably want to stop on your way up to Skye, I’d recommend checking out Fort William. It’s a small town 2 hours away from the Isle. Although we didn’t stay for too long (other than for a snack), there seemed to be plenty to check out on the main street in town-- lots of interesting shops, restaurants, and bars.
Where to Stay
I’m not sure how many places there actually are to stay on the Isle of Skye, but I wouldn’t doubt that’s it’s only a handful. However many there are, I’m 90% sure we stayed at the coolest place, The Cowshed Boutique Bunkhouse. Before I tell you why, I’m going to go ahead and recommend it. If that’s enough to convince you, skip this section. Everyone else, read on. The Cowshed is a hostel and, get this, a collection of cowsheds perched on the side of some beautiful hills overlooking a body of water and the city of Uig.
We stayed in one of the cowsheds. Have you all ever watched the show Tiny House Hunters? These cowsheds are just like that. They fit so much in such little space. Each one of the cowsheds has a queen-sized bed, a sofa, a dining table, and a bathroom with a shower. The only thing that’s missing is a kitchen (though you do have a kitchenette with a sink and a kettle), but you can find a full-sized kitchen in the community area of the main building. That community area is so damn homey and cozy it’s ridiculous. The staff is really friendly, too. You’d swear they knew you. They’ve got snacks and beer at the front, along with some stuff to cook. We didn’t have food, so we checked out another nearby hotel/restaurant that the staff recommended, Uig Hotel. Make sure you take a flashlight if you’re going for dinner. It’s a short walk, but it gets really dark.
The Cowshed served as a starting point for our Isle adventure. We got up early-ish (had to rest after the long drive!), absorbed the amazing view, packed up, and took off.
What to See
From Uig, this is the route we took:
These are the only hills I’ve ever seen that show their age. They are crazy wrinkly. From my understanding, there’s no real fairy folklore here. The area is called Fairly Glen because of the odd, but beautiful terrain. There’s little to no parking in the area, so I’d suggest walking if you can (30 min walk from Uig) and have the time. We didn’t... and we didn't find parking. We made parking. Heh.
The source of the ocean?? Maybe! It does feed right into it. Mealt Falls sits on cliffs that drop right into the ocean. It’s an epic view left and right because of how dramatic these drops are.
Sky Pie Cafe
Totally did not expect this to be out there in the middle of nowhere. You’re driving in between farms and beautiful landscape...and suddenly, a white house. Sky Pie Cafe is a few minutes from Mealt Falls (on the right if you follow our route and you’re driving south). The pies are delicious. You must stop. This is essentially a command.
Brother’s Point is another great view off of the Isle of Skye’s cliffs. It’s adjacent to Skye Pie Cafe. Walk up the road where you came in and look for the sign. Make sure you’re wearing stuff you don’t mind getting dirty. You’ve got to go through a fence and into a farm, so mind the sheep. We actually found some sheep remains, too. Look out for anything that might be eating sheep. Amazing views, though!
Old Man of Storr
If you’ve seen any videos or pictures of Isle of Skye, odds are you saw these rock formations. I definitely didn’t want to miss them. They’re about 11 minutes from Brother’s Point and there’s plenty of parking along the road. Take your hiking boots because it’s not an easy walk. It’s a bit of an uphill struggle, but so worth it. When we were there it was very windy and very muddy. It made the walk a little tougher. This was also the last stop on our journey :(
Of course, there’s plenty more to see on the Isle, but we had a small window of time to see it. If you can, I would recommend spending at least 2 days in the area so that you can take advantage of the hikes and slow down to absorb everything going on around you. If you don’t have 2 days, well, this is totally the guide for you.