Following a trip to the Orkney Islands for a friend’s wedding, I was half way through a 7 day small group tour of the Scottish Highlands with Macbackpackers. Since leaving Edinburgh we had travelled north past Inverness to Loch Ness before catching the ferry across from Ullapool to the Isle of Lewis and Harris.
Today, after waking up in our blackhouse accommodation on Lewis, we were travelling south into Harris to catch the ferry from Tarbert to Uig on the Isle of Skye in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides.
Arriving in Tarbert, we were told we’d once again be boarding the ferry on foot, our guide driving the minibus on and meeting us on board. Tickets in hand we had a bit of free time before the departure so we spent it looking around the gift store at the nearby Isle of Harris Distillery before settling down at a table in its cafe for a mid-morning snack of tea and cake!
The ferry crossing took just under 2 hours. It was a much nicer day than it had been for our crossing to the Isle of Lewis and Harris a few days earlier and I spent most of the time out on the deck hoping (but failing) to spot some wildlife.
Once on the Isle of Skye, we didn’t waste any time, continuing our Scottish adventure by driving to Duntulm Castle. Along the way, we made a stop at a cemetery to see the grave of Flora Macdonald, our guide telling us the story of how she famously helped ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ evade capture following the Battle of Culloden in the 1700s.
Then it was on to Duntulm where we were dropped at a nearby viewpoint from which we walked along the coast path towards the ruins of Duntulm Castle.
After spending some time enjoying the views and taking photos of and with the castle ruins, we walked back to the minibus ready to continue to our next stop, The Quiraing. Formed by a huge landslip, The Quiraing is now said to provide some of the most spectacular landscape in Scotland.
After parking in a nearby road, our guide led us towards the rocky hills and cliff in front of us and started following a steep path up into them.
While it was difficult to keep up sometimes, most of the group having to stop to catch our breath as we climbed the steep, grassy hillside, it was definitely worth it as we were soon met with stunning views stretching out in front of us.
Sitting on a cliff top, we then downed water and caught our breath again before beginning the almost as difficult descent and returning to our bus. We then continued our drive through Skye.
Our next stop was at Lealt Falls. Just before we arrived, we spotted some sheep shearing going on at a farm we were passing so pulled over to get a closer look!
Arriving at the falls, we followed the path to a viewing point from where we could see the waterfall in the distance then carried on following the path around to a coast path with some pretty views of a beach below.
With early evening now approaching, it was back on the bus to drive to the nearby town of Portree. We made a quick stop along the way to see famous Isle of Skye landmark, the Old Man of Storr, a distinctive rock formation high up on a hillside then arrived in the pretty harbour town of Portree for a spot of shopping to top up on snacks for the next day.
Our final destination on the Isle of Skye was in Kyleakin, a seaside village on the east coast.
Here, we were spending one night in a local hostel. Unlike at other hostels where the only other people in our dorms had been other members from our group tour, here we found we had all been split up with some of us sharing dorms with other people who just happened to be staying there that night but it was nice to get the chance to speak to other people and hear their stories of their experiences in Scotland so far.
We had arranged to all meet to walk to one of the local pubs for dinner. When we arrived it was way busier than we had expected but after a bit of a wait, we were eventually all seated in small groups and couldn’t wait to tuck in to our ‘pub grub’.
As we walked back to the hostel afterwards, the sun was just starting to set.
It had been a busy but fun day exploring the Isle of Skye.
Tomorrow, we’d be up early to drive to Armadale and catch a ferry back to the mainland and continue our adventure.