A profile photograph of Jamie McHale

Jamie McHale

The Isle of Skye

30 July 2021
A few days on a Scottish Island

The Erskine Bridge closed ten minutes before we were due to cross. Google Maps added two hours to our journey.

Frustration isn't the best start way to start a trip, but we took it in our stride. We've hardly been out of Edinburgh in a year, so any chance to escape the city is welcome.

We drove from Glasgow, where we had spent a day visiting friends, so we headed back through the city, then north via Callander and Glencoe.

The drive up to Skye is excellent which ever way you go, with beautiful views when you hit the highlands. The sky was blue, the light so very bright.

 

On Skye we stayed with Arcana Cabins in their "Shepherd's Hut" at Lower Breakish. Lower Breakish is at the south of the island, just a 20 minute drive from the bridge.

The shepherd's hut was small, but perfectly formed. It had a bed-nook at the far end, basic cooking facilities, and a small table and chairs. There was a deck outside with a view over the bay, and a toilet and shower block just off to the side. The first night we settled in then ate at Red Skye Restaurant, a short walk up the road.

 

On the first full day we drove up to the Quiraing at the north of the Island, a walk with spectacular views. Or, it would have been had there been any visibility. The bulk of the hike was in thick mist, with midges in the sheltered areas. Sheep lurked in the gloom around us.

We stumbled on two ladies who didn't have GPS, and who were grateful to see some other people. It was hot and clammy, and easy to get disoriented in the fog. We walked with them for a few km towards the end. One was an artist who was spending a few weeks on a retreat.

 

As we came down to the car-park the mist lifted and we were treated to a great view, with dappled light over the dramatic hillside. The clouds cleared on our drive south. It seems like a couple of kilometers can make all the difference on Skye.

 

We ate at the Hebredian Inn at Broadford that evening. We had a highland platter, followed by venison and beef. I had been worried about indoor dining again, but the tables were well spaced, and we were sat by an open window.

 

That evening we walked on the shore and enjoyed the sunset and moonrise over our field.

 

On the second day we relaxed in the morning, picking up lunch from Deli Gasta. They do great sandwiches and pastries. I'd recommend asking for the sandwich bread to be toasted. The sandwiches were packed full, so well worth calling in for.

We then drove to Portree and wandered around the town. The harbour is pleasant for a stroll. There are boat trips available here. We're saving that experience for next time.

 

We then went to the Old Man of Storr track, but again the mist descended. The ascent revealed almost nothing but disappointed walkers descending. We ran into the people who we had walked with the day before who advised us to push on.

When we got to the top the clouds started to part, and we had some excellent views back over the range. The sun came through, and we were treated to a glorious late afternoon descent.

 

That evening we had fish and chips from Siaway at Broadford harbour. They were excellent, and thoroughly recommended. Probably in my top 5 fish and chips of all time.

 

On our last full day on Skye we started with a posh lunch at the Three Chimneys restaurant. It was expensive, but a beautiful location and tasty meal. The drive out is on a single track road at the north of the island. There is virtually nothing around it. I'd recommend it just for the setting! Our meal included: pigeon pie, halibut, beef shin, brisket, barra snails, salad and mash. We had afternoon coffee in the sun and relaxed.

 

Late afternoon we drove to Coral Beach, just around the coast. The water was clear, with turquoise and blue. We went for a quick swim, and enjoyed the sunshine. The carpark is narrow, and was very busy. If you are not a confident driver then it might be best to go early!

 

Dinner that evening was burgers from the Claymore - standard pub fare. I was a bit cautious about how busy it was, so we got the food to take away. We ate outside in the sunshine, and were fortunately not bothered by any midges.

On the last morning I went for a run through Lower Breakish on a coastal track and road. There is a 5km loop back when you reach Harrapool. You can view my tracks on Strava.

 

We drove back home via Plockton on the mainland. I'd recommend stopping there for lunch. It's a charming village, with a couple of places to eat at the Harbour. It's also nice to get onto some smaller back roads for a while.

 

We've left several things to do on Skye - to ensure we have a good excuse to go back. It's well worth it!

A profile photograph of Jamie McHale
Jamie McHale

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