Driving down from Plock Viewpoint, we proceeded to cross the Skye Bridge. Since October 1995, ferry services from Kyle of Lochalsh (on the mainland) to Kyleakin (on the Isle) ceased. The Isle of Skye is then connected to the mainland by a road bridge. Traffic instead began to use the new Skye Bridge which forms part of the A87. The bridge is a faster and convenient way to cross the narrow strait. Ferry services to Skye are still available from Mallaig to Armadale and Glenelg to Kylerhea.
After crossing the Skye Bridge, take the first left at the first roundabout to head to the village of Kyleakin for a quick drive through. It would not take you more than 10 minutes to do so. Kyleakin was once the gateway to Skye until the opening of the Skye Bridge. It has a small charming harbour overlooking Caisteal Maol, a ruined fortress. Not much is left of the fortress today as parts of the ruin collapsed in 1949 and then again in 1989. There are hotels, hostels and restaurants in Kyleakin.
After a 25 mile, 40 minutes drive on the main road heading to Portree from Kyleakin, you’ll drive across the ‘new’ Sligachan bridge. You’ll be able to see the ‘old’ bridge besides it. Nothing historical about these two bridges, except photographing them is spectacular. On a good day like we’ve had, the Black Cullins hills will be clear to see in the background. There is a walking path from the old bridge running alongside River Sligachan.
About 10 miles from the bridge, a slow 20 minutes drive, takes us to Grenitote B&B in Portree where we will be staying for two nights. Accommodations are difficult to get if you do not book in advance and are rather expansive in Portree town vicinity. Our B&B is a 2-storey semi-detached bungalow. Rooms are located on the first floor and are moderate in size. Free strong and stable wi-fi is provided. The town centre is a 10 minutes walk away and a co-op run grocery store will be the first you’ll encounter.
With an hour of daylight to spare, we headed to Portree Sailing Club for a view of Portree town. We are sure not many visitors ended up at this spot where you’ll see a different perspective to the town. Thereafter, we proceeded into town and spend sometime strolling around the harbour front and eventually up to Bosville Terrace for that classic shot of Portree town before heading back to our B&B for the night.
For the start of a fresh day in Skye, we were greeted in the morning with low hanging dark clouds threatening to ruin our day out. Weather forecasted rain only in the late afternoon. Having no choice, we set out to explore the island as we will be returning to Edinburgh the next day.
Our first stop is Old Man of Storr. It is a large pinnacle of rock that stands high on the Trotternish ridge and can be seen for miles around. Old Man of Storr is a favorite hiking destination. A car park is located at the foot of the ridge right by the main road 7 miles from Portree.
Driving onward from Old Man of Storr for another 8 miles with an unexpected clearing of the weather, our next stop will be at Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls Viewpoint. You’ll find a large car park nearby the waterfall. The Kilt Rock is a 90 meter rock formation, which looks similar to a pleated kilt. The other point of interest is the Mealt waterfall, which is fed from the nearby freshwater lake, Mealt Loch, which then free-fall off the cliff for 55 metres into the Sound of Raasay below.
Next on our list is a visit to Garrafad 3½ miles away. This is another location visitors rarely visits due to it being off the main road and isn’t promoted. In-fact, if you google for it, you are unlikely to get much information. However, the views of the beach is picture postcard and the cliffs at Garrafad is something to adore.
From the coast, we now start an uphill drive to the Quiraing mountains. This will be a short 3½ mile drive for which we consider has the best stunning views for all of Skye. There is a large parking area just after the end of your uphill drive. From this location, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of the mountains as well as towards the sea. So beautiful are the scenery, we spend quite a while here before driving away with a heavy heart.
The last attraction for the day is a visit to Fairy Glen in Uig. It is located in the hills above the town of Uig and is a lesser-known attraction on the Isle of Skye. The drive of 8½ miles from Quiraing entails driving from the East to the West side of the Isle of Skye. It will take about 30 minutes and most of the road is on single track just like the one going into Glen Etive, Glencoe. Here too, you’ll find plenty of passing places to allow overtaking or on-coming vehicle to pass or to take photographs. You will start your descend towards the town of Uig before proceeding to Fairy Glen.
Please be aware the road leading to Fairy Glen prohibits buses from entering as it is narrow and winding on some parts. Thus, you will never have a chance to get to Fairy Glen except if you drive or get on a tour that uses smaller vehicle like a coaster. This off the beaten path spot stands out from the surrounding farmland. You can hike up the hill or just take photos of the beautiful surroundings.
We completed our visit to all our list of attractions by early afternoon and headed back to our B&B. A while later, true to the weather forecast, it rained till late evening. What else better to do than to cuddle up in bed with the heater running. Tomorrow we’ll return to Edinburgh.