The Isle of Skye, the largest and most northerly of the Inner Hebridean islands, is a stunning island with hundreds of miles of rugged shoreline and towering black cliffs interrupted by sheltered beaches. Vast stretches of peat moor and swathes of forest contrast with the jagged peaks of the Black Cuillin and rounded summits of the Red Cuillin, the mountains whose 20 Munros dominate the island’s skyline and provide a year-round challenge for climbers of all abilities.
The spectacular scenery provides a backdrop for a diverse range of wildlife. Seals, sharks, otters and a variety of cetaceans flourish in the fertile waters, with rare seabirds and birds of prey circling the skies and deer roaming the many forests.
The island is steeped in history and famed as one of the final hiding places of the retreating Bonnie Prince Charlie, after Flora MacDonald smuggled him from Benbecula “over the sea to Skye” disguised as a maid.
Skye’s rich Gaelic heritage is reflected in a number of attractions across the island, and the island is one of the most important centres for Gaelic in Scotland.
Portree, the island’s principal settlement, is a thriving and popular town set around a stunning natural harbour. Home to over 2,000 of Skye’s residents. The town supports a diverse range of hotels, restaurants, banks and specialist independent retailers, as well as two supermarkets.
As well as walking and climbing for all abilities and all levels of fitness, scuba diving trips and PADI diving, are available by arrangement and you could spend most of your holiday just visiting all the wonderful craft galleries and workshops which are situated the length and breadth of the island.
Not only are adults well catered for in Skye, there are plenty of places of interest for the younger members of the family.
A small selection includes:
Seaprobe Atlantis at Kyle of Lochalsh has underwater windows giving you the chance to explore the hidden world beneath the waves in complete safety and comfort. See fish, otters, porpoises and seals in their natural environment. Skye Serpentarium in Broadford, is an award winning reptile centre with snakes, frogs, lizards in their natural surroundings. The staff is well informed and offer supervised snake-handling sessions. Bright Water visitor centre offers information on many topics including Gavin Maxwell and the flora and fauna of the island. Skye museum of island life, 6 miles north of Uig on the A855, is an open-air museum and gives an insight into what life was like at the close of the nineteenth century. The Giant MacAskill Museum in Dunvegan tells the story of Scotland’s tallest man, Angus MacAskill who reached a height of 7 feet and 9 inches.
For the more active riding is available at Suledale, just 15 minutes out of Portree on the Dunvegan road. For keen golfers there is a 9-hole golf course at Skeabost House Hotel and the 9-hole Sconser golf course. For lazy sunny days (yes we have them) there are beaches to while away the hours at Orbost, Fiscavaig, Talisker, Elgol and Staffin, not forgetting the beautiful coral beaches north of Dunvegan, where the white ‘sand’ is actually Maerl which is calcified red seaweed.