Scotland Road Trip | Isle of Skye | Part II
Isle of Skye road trip route itinerary. Total trip time, about 8 hours. Find everything you need to know for your Skye road trip and more, right here. Check out Part 1 here.
Isle of Skye Road Trip Route Itinerary Part 2 / Fairies in the Skye
- Skye Bridge
- Fairy Glen
- Dunvegan Castle & Gardens
- Seal Watching Tours
- Guided Tours
- Neist Point Lighthouse
- Fairy Pools
- Skye Bridge
A Quick Note
Times are approximate and vary based on individual needs. Both Isle of Skye road trip itineraries can be completed within a day, if you stick with the general timetable offered.
A map is included at the end of this post. The letters indicated on each location, correspond to those on the map and the written directions.
Although I did not travel Skye on my own, I am regularly a solo traveler. Everything on the itinerary is appropriate for solo travelers. The Island is friendly and safe (crime wise). It is not a good place to hike along public roads. You should have some sort of transportation planned ahead of time.
GPS can be dodgy in the Scottish Highlands and even more so on Skye. It really is important to read the above mentioned “Driving On Skye” to help you best prepare and understand the key challenges to visiting and driving on the Island.
8 Fairy Filled Stops on The Isle of Skye
Note: Scheduling this route back to front (starting with The Fairy Pools, works out well too)
A] The Skye Bridge / Drochaid an Eilein Sgitheanaich / A87
Take the Skye Bridge from Lochalsh. Once you’ve crossed the bridge onto the Isle of Skye, remain on A87 by taking the third (3) exit on the roundabout. After 32 miles you take a right onto Bridge Rd / A855.
Photo Alert: The lighthouse on the wee island of Eilean Bàn (White Island) below, is a particularly nice shot, as is the bridge itself. Best time for Skye Bridge photo opportunities is before you get onto the bridge.
Kid Alert: Check out the lighthouse on Eilean Ban as you cross the bridge.
Approximate time: 3 minutes
Toilet Alert: Main Rd, Broadford, Skye (about 10 minutes after the bridge) on A87 after the Cooperative, across from parking lot, next to church on right
Next Destination: Portree – Drive Time: 45 minutes
B] Village of Portree / Port Righ
Portree. An adorable fishing village. The ‘Capital’ of Skye. Portree is the only actual village on the Island. It can get very busy. Be prepared for that. It is difficult to find a sit down meal if you have not booked ahead here or anywhere on the Island. There are supermarkets, shops, petrol stations and restaurants. Portree is a lovely spot for photographs. The Visit Scotland visitor center is easy to locate.
Don’t dawdle. Enjoy it, but be on your way. You can come back later if you wish, it is not a huge detour on your way back after the Fairy Pools.
Photo Alert: About 15 minutes after Portree is where you will find some of the best views (and shots) of the ‘Old Man of Storr” if you wish to get some decent pics along the way. Once past that point, you may not be able to see it well until you have hiked up to it., which is included in this route. Isle of Skye | Scotland Road Trip | Scottish Highlands | NC500 | I
Toilet Alert: 1) Bridge Road behind Somerland Square, across from courthouse 2) Off A87 at the Aros Center. You’ll find no toilets for a bit, so make haste and be smart.
Approximate Time: 30 minutes – Total Trip Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Next Destination: The Fairy Glen – Drive Time: 25 Minutes
C] The Fairy Glen / Gleann nan Sìthichean
I adore the Fairy Glen . I spent two (2) hours romping about the alien like terrain, covered in a sea of vivid green grass and foliage. The Fairy Glen seems exactly the sort of magical landscape in which any respectable fairy would choose to dwell.
A land rife with superstition, folklore and legend. Located so near Dunvegan Castle, where an ancient “Fairy” flag is displayed with pride. It is ironic that the “Fairy Glen” is little connected with lore or superstition. It is no doubt magical to behold.
Tourists have mucked it up a bit with ridiculous stone circles, that local volunteers eradicate regularly. If you are moving rocks about in places like this, you are an asshole and the locals do not appreciate it. Neither do the visitors that are NOT assholes.
Great spot to picnic. No facilities, but there are some benches about.
Please do not utilize the Fairy Glen as your personal potty. The locals are really sick of it. Plan your bathroom breaks like a grown up ahead of time. Or give me your address and I’ll come pee on your lawn, see how you feel about it.
Photo Alert: Everything is fantastic opportunity for great photos at The Fairy Glen, but sweeping views from the top come out extraordinarily well.
Sheep Alert: Sheep roam freely on this road and during lambing season April – June. little sheep inexperienced with roads and frightened by cars are unpredictable. The sheep with horns get very protective when there are lambs around.
Toilet Alert: There are public toilets at the Ferry terminal in Uig
Parking Alert: Parking is a pain. There are a couple of broad laybys on the way and a very rough small bit of extremely rocky spot of dirt right after the little pond on the left. Beyond that, it is difficult to park when the lot fills. If you are up for a little walk, you can park in Uig.
Pothole Alert: Large jagged rocks and rough spots abound
Kid Alert: Kids will either love it or not care at all. There is a lot of space for them to run about. The hills are steep but rolling enough that there is not really any treacherous cliffs. This would be a great place to picnic and run off some steam, before locking them down in the car again.
Additional Information: If you pass the Fairy Glen (on your right) there is really nowhere to go but to turn around. You end up at a private croft. Please do not park anywhere but the obvious locations or in Uig. Do not use passing places as parking space.
Approximate Time: 1 hour – Total Trip Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Next Destination: Dunvegan Castle & Gardens Drive Time: 45 Minutes
D] Dunvegan Castle & Gardens <–Click for website
Dunvegan Castle. A privately run, magnificently beautiful destination. Full of history, lore, remarkable gardens and outstanding views. The McLeods have lived in this castle for centuries and continue to do so to this very day. Within the castle walls hangs the “Fairy Flag”
Chock full of history, Dunvegan Castle and Gardens still stands today. The McLeods chose to stay out of the last Jacobite Rebellion and in so doing, kept their amazing home. Ironically they ended up connected to Flora MacDonald and have items belonging to the Bonnie Prince. If such history is in your interest, it is really cool stuff to see.
This beautifully maintained castle is extremely significant when it comes to key points in Highland history. I found the place enthralling. The Gardens vast, diverse and extremely well tended. Loved every minute of my visit here.
Photo Alert: Photo opportunities everywhere. Check out the gardens and walk behind the castle to the edge of the waterfront. Fantastic photo opportunities. Mostly outside.
Sheep Alert: N/A
Toilet Alert: to the left just before you get the the actual castle (I believe there may also be toilets in the parking lot)
Parking Alert: Large, paved, well marked parking lot. Kinda comes up suddenly on your right. There is a gift shop and toilets in the parking area
Kid Alert: Some kids will find the castle boring. Lots of stuff not to touch. There is a special kids tour offered at the castle. I’d call ahead.
Approximate time: 40 minutes castle 40 gardens – Total Trip Time: 4 hours 50 minutes
Next Destination: Neist Point Lighthouse – Drive Time: 35 minutes
E] Neist Point Lighthouse (Glendale)
Neist Point . Stunning and picturesque. A remarkable location. If you enjoy remarkably scenic views, amazing photo opportunities, hiking, wildlife and/ or lighthouses, Neist Point is not to be missed. It is a bit out of the way and only offers views. It can get crazy busy there. You must be the judge if it is worth it based on your desires. Fantastic photo opportunities.
Regarded the finest viewing point on Skye for dolphins, whales and even sharks. The area is a treasure trove for bird watching. If you are a birder check this out.
An fairly easy 15 minute walk from the car park, but the stairs down & back up to the point are pretty steep.
Photo Alert: Endless photo opportunities. If you head to the first hill to the right of the parking lot, you can quickly get good shots of the lighthouse without trecking out to the point.
Kid Alert: Good place for a picnic or snack.
Kid Warning: There are many steep drops and ungated cliffs. The sheep can be garrulous, especially in lamb season. Keep an eye on your kids.
Parking Alert: Parking is plentiful, but the car park fills up
Pothole Alert: If the lot is full, the extended area can be a bit rough for parking
Approximate time: 1 hour – Total Trip Time: 5 hours 25 minutes
Next Destination: Fairy Pools – Drive Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
F] The Fairy Pools
The Fairy Pools are magical and lauded place for hiking and wild swimming. This collection of naturally occuring watersheds, fed by a myriad of springs and waterfalls is exceptional.
Located at the base of the Black Cuillins in Glen Brittle, near Carbost, Isle of Skye.
The site is well marked (well at least comparably) and more established for visitors. Fairy Pools “Glumagan na Sithichean” The extremely rough and rocky car park fills up quickly. There is no barrier to keep from backing up over the steep edge. At least there is signage.
Unlike the Fairy Glen, The Fairy Pools have a long history of Norse and / or Celtic fused Scottish lore connected to them. The mineral rich waters have been long known for their healing abilities. Similar to Clootie Well lore, the Fairy Pools luckily are not littered with offerings. No rotting rags hanging about.
Sadly most of the legends of the area were passed down through word of mouth in Gaelic and are either lost or not available for public consumption. None of my research brought forth any actual tales.
The hike down is easy enough for most. After a very long day the mildly steep incline at the very end with the sun beating down on me was kind of a bitch and there is nowhere to sit or get away from the sun to take a break. But for the most part anybody with average mobility can do the 40 minute walk there and back with relative ease
Photo Alert: Photo opportunities everywhere.
Sheep Alert: Sheep hop out from everywhere and tend to graze along the hiking trail. No, they are not tame, nor do they like being approached.
Toilet Alert: (Pee before you get there)
Parking Alert: Fairly large car park / parking lot, graveled with large jagged rocks. The lot gets busy, people park randomly and at the very end of the lot, it is difficult to see where the land ends, so be careful. Use your parking break and skew your wheels.
Kid Alert: I think this much for real small kids, but a solid walker can do it. It does take an average adult 20 minutes to make it to the first pool and 20 minutes more to get to the last one.
Approximate time: 2 hours Total Trip Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Next Destination: Sky Bridge – Drive Time: 35 minutes
G] The Skye Bridge / Drochaid an Eilein Sgitheanaich / A87
You’ve been here before. This road trip is complete.
Next Destination: Done – Drive Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
- Southwest of the bridge is Balmacara, where you can find petrol and a well stocked Spar (convenience store / small grocer).
- Balmacara Hotel has a nice little pub like restaurant in the back (I did not eat there)
- The Clachan and The Dornie Hotel both serve great food, just a few minutes beyond Balmacara, in Dornie. Dornie is right across the way from the Eilean Donan Castle. Check their hours. Call ahead if you can. The Clachan serves food later and both places get packed at times.
- Eilean Donan Castle is just 15 minutes SW of the Skye Bridge. The castle is extremely photogenic with fantastic photo opportunities from the outside. When the castle is closed you can get great shots and the gate (although it looks locked) is often unlocked allowing visitors to cross the walkway to the castle.
- Dornie is 15 minutes SW of the Skye Bridge. It’s a great but miniscule little village. There are a couple of shops and restaurants there. Eilean Donan Castle is across the way.
- Plockton is about 18 minutes from the bridge and is a fantastic little village with gorgeous views and a few shops, pubs, inns and restaurants. It is a heckofa crazy one track road drive (I loved driving it). Itis a romantic spot. Well worth the visit! Note: The locals are impatient with slow drivers.
A] Sky Bridge
C] The Fairy Glen
D] Dunvegan Castle
E] Neist Point Lighthouse
F] Fairy Pools
G] Sky Bridge
Skye Tours & Alternative Transportation / (Scot owned and Scotland based)
Chas MacDonald of Spirit of Scotland offers various private and small group tours with a focus in Clan history, Clan gatherings, wildlife viewing, photography as well as personally curated themes of your choice. He also offers tours by More Gay the Gordon. A unique perspective with a like minded guide that delves into history of gay Scotland as well as LGBT exclusive tours.
Rabbie’s is a highly regarded small tour operator in business for over 20 years, that has maintained their top reputation even after becoming a rather large company.
You can find information on bus services to and on Skye here
Cycling routes and bike maps, in and around Skye.
Hiking routes maps and trails on Skye.
Traveling with kids?
Gay centric tours of Skye.