Isle of Skye Scotland
An t-Eilean Sgitheanach / Eilean a’ Cheò
The Isle of Skye. Awash with astonishing scenery, enchanting locations and otherworldly landscapes. Skye also holds historic significance in the tumultuous story of the Highlands of Scotland.
Brimming with pure splendor. Packed into a mere 650 square miles of immutable space. Skye is quite simply a wonder.
Driving the magical island is truly a one of a kind experience. Staying there is simply brilliant.
The Island may be compact, but it is filled with resplendence.
And… don’t forget the fairies.
Skye’s deep connection to fairies, prehistoric archeology and geological anomalies is as entrenched in its heritage and lore, as is its formidable terrain. With such mystical vistas, it is no surprise that Skye is rich in ancient Norse, Celtic and Pagan lore.
Skye’s distinctive topographies are both lush and barren, contained and wild. A perfect analogy for much of Scotland and the Scottish Highlands. Historically, environmentally and geologically.
Abundant in wildlife, including Red Deer, Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles, Gannets, Seals, Whales, Puffins, Otters, Pine Marten and a large variety of birds. The Island offers much to do and see.
It is not difficult to imagine a fairy choosing the Isle of Skye as their home.
Everybody Wants a Piece of Skye
Since the Norse stepped foot on this ethereal land thousands of years ago, the magic of the Island has been a fairly well kept secret. First savoured by the Brits, then by parts of Europe. This is no longer the case.
More than 600,000 vehicles cross the Sky Bridge / Crossing every year. Scotland’s boom in tourism is indeed taking its toll. Its effects can be seen on the environment as well as on the infrastructure. A common plight with which all of Scotland is now attempting to cope.
An Enduring Skye
Yet unlike the ever unstable and inimical Quiraing, created by ancient rock crumbling beneath the weight of the invading rock above. The people of here remain warm, welcoming and unremitting. I imagine it is difficult to feel overcrowded with views like this.
The largest, northernmost, major island in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. Skye has been inhabited since the Mesolithic period. Much like the Orkneys, Skye’s ties run deep with early Norse occupation.
The Powerful Clans of Skye
Skye’s legacy includes a lengthy ascendancy with Clan MacLeod and Clan MacDonald and was greatly impacted by the final Jacobite uprising. You can find Flora MacDonald’s grave site here, as well as fascinating relics of her history in Dunvegan Castle . This ancient fortress and home to Clan MacLeod, is a fantastic visit. I should know, I’ve visited a lot of Scottish Castles. And within the walls of antiquity, this formidable castle, that remains inhabited by MacLeods yet to this day is the prized Fairy Flag
After the the failed rising and the tragic end at Culloden. Flora, dressed the Bonnie Prince in women’s clothing and helped to secret him away and out of Scotland. She is seen by many as a brave Jacobite heroine. Ironically she was not likely a jacobite at all, just a very sweet, nurturing woman who liked to help people. But regardless, she likely saved Prince Charles life and her connection to the Island of Skye runs deep.
The resulting clearances that continued for over 100 years after the uprisings tragic end, resulted in a huge population decline on Skye, the effects of which are still keenly felt today.
Most of the land is still owned by those that do not live on the Island. The sheep farms are mostly (if not all) tenant run with little rights over the whims of the land owners. And although the island is teeming with tourists, much of that money does not find its way to the crumbling infrastructure, nor to the people that live there.
Wages on the island are lower than average and rents are much higher (so tip… yes you should indeed tip). Long term rentals are nearly non existent. Nonetheless, the people of Skye seem to maintain an indubitable spirit. As do their sheep.
Visit The Isle of Skye
It is well worth a full day, if not two, to explore this magical place. In fact, you certainly would not run out of things to do or see, if you spent an entire week there. Sky offers endless attractions for young and old alike.
If you are planning to visit Scotland, do not miss out on this stunning place. I suggest you do it soon. For even the most enduring of communities can only bare the weight of such a severely overburdened infrastructure and countryside, for just so long.
Routes for traveling this gorgeous little island will be added to RootlessRoutes very soon and then linked here.