Deep in the farthest reaches of the Scottish Highlands. Tucked between the gold, amber and brown monolithic peaks of t-Eilean Sgitheanach. Across winding, single track, sheep filled roads. There is a land that the Fae call home.
The Fairy Glen
Where eerily ridged and ragged, irregularly shaped hills and dales are flocked by mossy green vegetation. An alien world, amongst an already seemingly alien background of monochromatic tones and craggy mountains.
There it is, blanketed in a lush and vivid velvet verdancy. Castle Ewen calls to you, so you begin to climb. You wander through the worn paths of those that graced this mystical expanse before you.
Time stands still, sheep bah and graze. New lambs bleat, suckle and frolic in the sun. As you climb you periodically gaze up at the flat topped peak, drawn.
At certain angles the tower above appears to be man made (Fae made?) as do the miniature rock fronted burrows below (Fae den?). As a result of the scenery, atmosphere or perhaps something even less tangible, you get a sense of magic.
The hills are steep but not too daunting. You stop to catch your breath. A calm falls upon you. A cool wind kisses your cheek and there you are at the apogee of The Fairy Glen.
Gazing out across the greenery, to the brown and golden ranges that surround you. Waterfalls, pastures, bluffs, lochs and roadways are all in view. Yet none of what you see beyond the point at which you stand is in any way as green or as lush.
The Fairies of the World
There are so many things one could say about the Fairy Glen. If only one could find the words. So easy tis it, imagine magical, delicately winged creatures living here. Like “The Glen” in Ireland, it is simply surreal.
As you stand there, communing with whatever it is that seemingly created this magical place, it is hard not to believe that if the Fae lived anywhere, this would be a place of choice.
Each little mound, sculpted by their wee fairy hands and tamped down by their wee fairy feet. Every rock flown by iridescent wings and tapped into place with fairy spit and fairy dust.
It takes little imagination to know this place as The Fairy Glen.
Science? Magic? Or a Little Bit of Both
In the non magical world, The Fairy Glen is a geological anomaly. An ancient landslip, that landed in just the right location to create a semi micro climate, allowed simple mosses, grasses and lichen to flourish and grow on the rock. As the plants broke down and rock eroded, the rocky base became rich with fertile soil, encouraging a normally much more hostile environment. Years of sheep poop likely helped too.
Yet even though the rational mind knows the scientific rationale behind the flourishing surroundings on which you stand. It remains difficult not to feel a sense of the unreal and revel in the magic of such an pleasingly atmospheric quarter.
Directions to The Fairy Glen:
The Fairy Glen is located in the North West of the Isle of Skye. Sadly, it is not as obscure as it was once, so to get there you can simply enter it into your GPS as The Fairy Glen.
It will likely take less than an hour to get there from anywhere on the Island of Skye by automobile.
Take A87, which at one point turns into Dunvegan Rd (but also remains A87). Just follow it around until you see the sign for the Fairy Glen. You will see cars parked about 1/2 mile before the actual location, but I was able to park on a dirt patch directly in front of the sight.
Please PLEASE do NOT park in any passing places. It is illegal, dangerous and just plane rude. Do not park in a way that obstructs the road, obvious sheep crossings, or that in any way negatively impacts the locals or the environment.
To Know When Visiting The Fairy Glen:
There is no admission fee or attendants there. There are no toilets or parking specifically for The Fairy Glen. It still can get very crowded. Even tour buses show up there.
There is really no need for a walking map once there, but here is a link nevertheless. If you get turned around, just a small trek up one of the hills will allow you a view to anywhere you need to go. It is easy to traverse the area by meandering. Some may find it difficult to get to the top, but that is ok, there are plenty places to walk that are only mildly hilly. It is worth the viewing, even if you do not intend to, or cannot walk around.
I think kids would enjoy it there just as much as adults.
Although you could essentially walk for miles around The Fairy Glen, you likely could walk around, climb and photograph within an hours time. I personally spent 2 hours there and enjoyed it.
I suggest you wear hiking shoes if you have them, it can get pretty muddy.
A rain jacket is also suggested.
Photography Advice for The Fairy Glen:
When on the road facing the glen, there is a hill behind you. This hill is an excellent location for snapping shots, as is the top of the glen itself atop Castle Ewen.
Good to Note:
Be careful that your GPS does not confuse The Fairy Glen in Uig with the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle (also on Skye), nor the Fairy Glen Park in Wigan, or The Fairy Glen Hotel in Penmaenmawr.
Other places to visit when in the area Dunvegan Castle and the Fairy Pools.