Isle of Skye - skipping the tourists

Wonderguide by

Silke Ghekiere

Isle of Skye - skipping the tourists

How to feel completely alone on one of the most beautiful islands on this planet: skip the main season and have a little bit of luck. Experiences of one lucky girl that visited this island during the 'Beast of the East' in '18. That is: a lot of snow, cold temperatures but many many endless views.

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Picture perfect

This list could be much longer, but here are a few places that took my breath right away.

Image - The Quiraing
The Quiraing
Silke:Go hiking, it's unbelievable!
Image - The Storr
The Storr
Silke:Those piles of giant rocks, make you feel tiny and humble.
Image - Fairy Pools
Fairy Pools
Silke:Probably gorgeous in high season with sun reflecting the colours of the water, but also a cool experience seeing them frozen.
Image - Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint
Silke:Same thing, I saw them completely frozen and build up with the salt of the ocean. But the views are crazy.
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Best ideas I had

A few of the best choices I made during my trip to Isle of Sky that I would definitely recommend.

Image - Starting point Quiraing walk
Starting point Quiraing walk
Silke:So so so worth the freezing toes and lack of feeling in my fingertops. During high season this walk is packed with tourists, right now there were a few (I think professional) photographers, a few other people and me. Just enough to find someone to take me a picture, but not too many to never be alone at some point during the walk.
Image - The Cowshed Boutique Bunkhouse
The Cowshed Boutique Bunkhouse
Silke:This hostel is gorgeous. Bring your own food during low season, because finding a restaurant (for a small budget) is difficult in the area!
Image - Glenfinnan
Silke:Definitely the best detour I could possibly make to get back to Edinburgh! Magic feelings guaranteed, but also the surroundings are just exeptional.
Image - Skye
Silke:Just the whole trip was the best idea ever. Every five minutes you spend in this place, you find yourself in a different world. The biggest recommendation I could give anyone, is to park your car somewhere, take a hike (for like an hour or two), drive a few hours and then repeat. It's the best to be somewhat in nature, of which there is plenty. And if you can, pick up a local hitchhiker. They tend to be very friendly, supportive and know where the good stuff is.

On the way

Few of the places I visited and/or stayed at on my way from Edinburgh to Isle of Skye. I took a detour over Inverness to visit a friend who lives there. She told me to not pass Loch Ness ("the monster isn't real you know" - her words) but more north because the views there are better. She was right

Image - Inverness Student Hotel
Inverness Student Hotel
Silke:The kindest people and a very layed back environment. Perfect for a short stay, but staying longer wouldn't be so bad.
Image - Queen's View visitors centre
Queen's View visitors centre
Silke:I was kinda crazy for driving through snowy roads, but it was all worth it. I had the privilege to be here all by myself, looking over a magical frozen landscape.
Image - Edinburgh
Silke:If I could live here I WOULD. You have the highlands next door, the magic of Harry Potter all around you and the kindness of the Scottish people to warm you in the cold days. LOVELY !
Image - Makars Gourmet Mash Bar (Mound)
Makars Gourmet Mash Bar (Mound)
Silke:Njammie :D
Image - Portree

Ways of transport

I went by car from Edinburgh, over Inverness to Isle of Skye. A slower but 'better' choice would be a scenic trainride to the island. During low season, buses are rare though. That's why I chose to rent a car, and took in a local hitchhiker to get to know the good places. Hitchhiking is certainly a GO in this area!

Image - CalMac Ferries Armadale
CalMac Ferries Armadale
Silke:As there is only one bridge from the mainland to the island, taking a ferrie is probably a necessary option. It's very easy, enjoyable and a quick way to cross the waters around Skye.
Image - Edinburgh Waverley
Edinburgh Waverley
Silke:As found on '': "Getting from Edinburgh Waverley to the Isle of Skye by train offers the choice of two ScotRail routes; to Mallaig connecting with the ferry to Armadale, or to Kyle of Lochalsh for the Skye Bridge. There are three daily services on the Mallaig route, with journeys taking around seven hours. The Kyle of Lochalsh option also has three daily departures, requiring two changes, taking just under seven hours to arrive at the station close to the bridge."
Image - Edinburgh Airport Car Rental Centre
Edinburgh Airport Car Rental Centre
Silke:Sad but true: during low season is a car probably the fastest and most convenient choice. There are only a few to no buses on the island and fewer cars to find a hitchhike trip.
Image - Jacobite Train
Jacobite Train
Silke:Look it up beforehand! Because this beauty only takes you with him if you book in advance and know where to be. It takes you over the iconic bridge of Harry Potter near Glenfinnan, so it's worth it. It's also worth it to just go and take a look, budgetwise ;)

Wonderguide map

  1. The Quiraing
  2. The Storr
  3. Fairy Pools
  4. Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint
  5. Starting point Quiraing walk
  6. The Cowshed Boutique Bunkhouse
  7. Glenfinnan
  8. Skye
  9. Inverness Student Hotel
  10. Queen's View visitors centre
  11. Edinburgh
  12. Makars Gourmet Mash Bar (Mound)
  13. The Scotch Whisky Experience
  14. Haystack Hostel
  15. Portree
  16. Greyfriars Kirkyard
  17. CalMac Ferries Armadale
  18. Edinburgh Waverley
  19. Edinburgh Airport Car Rental Centre
  20. Jacobite Train

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