Skye

Walking | Cycling | Fishing | Climbing | Boat Trips | History & Archaeology | Wildlife | More to do | Souvenirs

Visit Skye's official website: www.skye.co.uk

WALKING

Walking on Skye is a pleasure. Vast open spaces, stunning scenery, castles and, of course, the abundant wildlife. Based at Torwood, you are well placed for access to any part of Skye.

John & Anne will be only too pleased to help you plan walks whether its a stroll on the hill or trekking through the world famous Cuillins.

Don't forget to see the Red Cuillins at sunset - and, remember too that in some areas of the Cuillins the rock is magnetic and so your compass (always carry this and a map) cannot always be trusted!

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CYCLING

Bicycles can be hired from a number of cycle hire shops on the island. The cycling on Skye is fabulous, especially along the single track roads and, of course, off road!

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FISHING

Fish is plentiful in and around Skye. Trout, Pike and other coarse fish can be had in the Lochs and rivers and of course Sea Angling is available off the rocks or by chartered boat.

Anne and John will help you organise a fishing trip and tackle if required.

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CLIMBING

There are 30 peaks and 11 Munroes in the Cuillin Hills of Skye, assuring some of the most spectacular climbing in the world. Climbing in the Cuillins provides difficulty ranging from gentle hill walking to severe mountain climbing on the Cuillin Ridge, culminating in The Inaccessible Pinnacle.

This is the only Munroe in the country that is thought to be a bit beyond all but the most experienced rock climbers, being a very exposed climb. Other climbs include the Quiraing (pronounced 'kirraang'), Trotternish Ridge, Torrin, Blaven and the 'Old Man of Storr".

Skye and the NW area of Scotland are renowned world-wide as a Mecca for climbers.

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BOAT TRIPS

There are many exciting boat trips off Skye. Try one of the unique boat trips from Waternish with Divers Eye Boat Trips to possibly see some whales in the Minch??

Try an exciting trip on the 'Seaprobe Atlantis' with its underwater viewing gallery, or journey to Loch Coruisk with MV Bella Jane.

Even on a simple trip on any of the small boats you'll probably see seal, otters, dolphins and porpoises, possibly even sea eagles, basking sharks and whales.

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HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY

Skye has been home to people since 6500 BC! At this time the Mesolithic people ate, among other things, shellfish and we know this because of the shell midden recently uncovered at An Corran close to Staffin in the north of the island.

Later around 3000 BC, the Neolithic peoples built more permanent homes although we do not even to date know much about their shape or form. Traces of the people can still be seen in the form of chambered cairns and mystical stone circles, suggesting that they stayed permanently in one area and were less likely to be nomadic.

Next came the Bronze Age peoples at around 2200 BC and they too lived in similar dwellings although not much is known exactly what form those took as remains are few and far between.

We do however know that around this time single burials began to take place and that often a highly decorated pottery drinking 'beaker' accompanied the body, an expression in the belief of an afterlife. Before this people were buried in a common grave area. These stone slab coffins can be seen at Drinan and the summit of the cairns at Kilmarie and Kensaleyre.

The iron age began about 700 BC and this is where Skye stands out in that it has numerous examples of Brochs, Hut Circles, Duns and Souterrains (underground rooms). The latter can be seen at Ullinish, Tungadale and Claigan. Brochs can be seen at Glenelg, Struan and Duns at Rudh' an Dunain, Dun Grugaig.

Vikings came, as they did to most of the north islands in the 8th century, and Skye place names reflect their occupation, although little else remains.

Mediaeval period - During this era castles aplenty were erected and most survive in some form or other today. Castle Maol or Moil is a fine example of this period and can be seen from the windows of the White Heather Hotel proudly perched on a rocky outcrop across the bay.

In 1715 and again in 1745 came the famous Jacobite Risings the second of which spawned the saga of Bonnie Prince Charlie (Edwart Stewart) and Flora MacDonald.

This was to be followed by the darkest period in the history of Scotland called the Clearances. Whole communities were uprooted by landlords, thrown out of their houses and moved physically at bayonet point off the land (- or worse) who wanted to graze sheep thereon. This horrific scenario lasted almost 100 years from 1770 - 1850.

Finally in 1995 Skye was connected to the mainland by the controversial Skye Toll Bridge although travellers can still come 'over the sea to Skye' using the Kylerhea or Mallaig ferry connections from Easter until October.

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WILDLIFE

Its difficult to know where to start as Skye has so many attractions for the naturalist. Sea birds abound - Herons can be seen standing in the bay outside the hotel and Oyster Catchers wander around the beach like clockwork models on orange legs. 

Otters play in the lochs and can also be seen wandering along the banks of a burn. At Kyleakin in the South of the island is the Bright Water Visitor Centre and Sanctuary where you will see otters aplenty.

The author Gavin Maxwell lived and worked here and inspired him to write the book Ring of Bright Water which subsequently became a film of the same name. Find out more about otters and the work of the International Otter Survival Fund.

On the rocks, seals bask and boat trips regularly go off for a closer view. For keen photographic hunters, Sea Eagles can be seen on the more remote lochs and Golden Eagles are 'out there'.

Other animals include Pine Martins, Buzzards, Porpoises & Dolphins, Minke & Killer Whales, Basking Sharks, Deer, Foxes, Hen Harriers, and Weasels to name but a few. In general, the further you go from the beaten track, the more interesting things you will see.

Oh ... and don't miss the fabulous coral beaches at Dunvegan, the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing at Trotternish.

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OTHER ACTIVITIES

EATING & DRINKING: famous for its hospitality as well as the fresh local food, good drink and, quite often, live traditional entertainment, there are countless places around Skye to eat, drink or just enjoy the evening.

The Three Chimneys at Colbost is a world-renowned restaurant, as is the Lochbay Seafood Restaurant at Stein, next door to the Stein Inn, Skye's oldest inn. Both the Edinbane Hotel and Dunvegan Hotel nearby offer traditional live music most nights as well as food and drink.

Portree offers no shortage of hospitality, including the Harbour View Seafood Restaurant and a host of others to choose from.

HORSE RIDING: Along the road in Suladale, the Isle of Skye Trekking Centre is well worth a visit whatever your level of experience - seeing Skye from horseback is certainly an exhilarating and worthwhile experience.

GOLF: Rounds of golf can be played at Skeabost House Hotel and the Isle of Skye Golf Club.

DUNVEGAN CASTLE: historic seat of the Clan MacLeod, this is an unmissable place of historic significance - find out more about Dunvegan Castle here.

TALISKER DISTILLERY: out at Carbost, why not take a tour of the Talisker Distillery, where Skye's very own malt whisky is made?? Find out more about Talisker here.

AROS HERITAGE CENTRE: souvenirs, gifts, live and film entertainment and an exhibition showing the heritage and wildlife of Skye: read about the Aros Heritage Centre here.

CLAN DONALD CENTRE: historic seat of the Clan MacDonald at Armadale, with Castle, Gardens and Museum of the Isles set in a 20,000 acre estate.

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SOUVENIRS

Hand knitted jumpers, Tartan in all shapes and forms, Paintings (try Diana Mackie or Peter McDermott), Whisky and Beer (try the Isle of Skye Brewery), Batik (try Skye Batiks), Sculpture, Literature and Poetry, Fossils and Stones, Pottery (try Edinbane Pottery or Halistra Pottery), Jewellery (try Skye Jewellery or Skye Silver) and Music are all produced to the highest quality on Skye.

Bring your credit card - you'll be glad you did. Craft shops are located all over the Isle of Skye and are usually the focus for local craftspersons.

Finally.... The best souvenir of all is of course free - the memory of Skye itself; an island steeped in heritage, shrouded in mystery and of course filled with the warmth of Highland hospitality.

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Failte!