I have been to the Isle of Skye several times and I can admit it’s a magic place which well represents the Scottish feel.
Simply known as Skye by the Scottish, the isle boasts small towns with natural charm, amazing waterfalls, mountain routes to steep and sharp peaks, corners full of legends, unforgettable sunsets, deserted beaches where the green of the pastures contrasts with the turquoise of its waters, wildlife and also lighthouses that defy the vertiginous cliffs they overlook.
Despite the reputation of being a mecca for lovers of mountaineering and trekking, on Skye one can find hiking trails for all fitness levels, many of them suitable for families with children or beginners to nature walks.
Skye has the same variable climate of Scotland, with some drastic changes in temperature, which force people who go there to be well equipped with warm clothing and hiking boots.
The fauna is stupefying: seals approaching the coast, burrows of rabbits everywhere, whales and dolphins that circulate under the cliffs, hairy cows that graze in the fields without flinching, and dozens of species of birds that find refuge on Skye, form part of a habitat rich in variety, a true delight for sightings.
On the Trotternish peninsula, a handful of viewpoints trace a tremendously interesting circular route. You can start at Hugh's Castle and drive along the coast to the cave of Gold with its basalt columns that recall the Causeway of the Giants in Northern Ireland. With some luck, dolphins or whales can provide us with the most valuable treasure that this grotto may hide.
Further on, there is a tongue of land that on clear days allows us to see the Hebrides islands. Abandoning the northernmost point of Skye, we continue along the coast to a set of stone pinnacles that invites one of the most spectacular hiking excursions on the island.
From the top of the pinnacles peninsula it is possible to find fossilized dinosaur footprints on a flatland where the sheep graze next to a steep esplanade in the same place where the first Christian monks had their improvised cells upon arriving from Ireland.
The grandeur of the isle can be measured by the tall chute of the waterfall which “fills the sea it bathes in”.
But undoubtedly, the highlight of this area of Skye is The Old Man, a steep spear-shaped rock one can climb to have one of the most majestic views around. From the Old Man, the road goes down to the coquettish port dotted with colourful houses of a pretty fishing village.
In the northwest of Skye we find Dunvegan, one of the main populated towns on the island, and its castle from the sixteenth century, infamous for its massacres.
The south central region of the island does not disappoint either because here we find whiskey distilleries such as Talisker - one of the most famous in Scotland -, that bears the same name as the Scottish elixir. Its black sand beach with white pebbles is gorgeous and at one end a waterfall flows on the pebbles from the top of the cliff.
Immediately behind we find the Cuillin Hills, which stand out from the mist. The hills look like they flowered over the clouds and this view was the reason why the Vikings gave this isle the name of Skye (sky).
Photo courtesy of: Patrick S.