The Ultimate Guide To Skye, Scotland
Located in the far west of Scotland, a few hundred meters from the coasts of the Lochalsh region, Skye (the Isle of Skye) represents one of the frontiers of British tourism. In a land perpetually beaten by the wind, where the landscape is rugged and wild, it takes on epic connotations, almost legendary.
Skye is part of the Hebridean archipelago, usually divided between the Inner and Outer islands, and Skye is the largest member of the Inner Hebrides.
The history of this island is lost in the mists of time. However, there is still no reliable explanation for the origin of the name since, in the Gaelic language, the island is “An t-Eilean Sgitheanach,” on whose tradition there are still no unique interpretations. But Skye had been mentioned by the Romans, who had gone as far as these latitudes with the name Scitis, which had been translated into Celtic as Skitis.
This word indicates “wings,” with references perhaps to the island’s shape, endowed with various “appendages” that branch off like peninsulas from the center of its territory. Or its name could derive from the Norwegian word “Skuy,” meaning “foggy island,” or “Skyey,” which is the island of the clouds.
These words could also be used to describe the island, at least in terms of how it usually weathers.
Whatever the origin of the name, enchantment is the common denominator that every traveler feels when he disembarks on a fragment of the Highlands catapulted into the sea and finds himself in the presence of valleys surrounded by sharp mountains, lakes with crystalline waters, precipices, and cliffs from which they dive into the sea, all made changeable by the sky, which is never equal to itself and often contains the essence of the four seasons in a few hours.
To get to Skye from the north, along the Inverness route, you can use a recently built bridge that stretches between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin town and overlooks the stretch of sea that separates Skye from Scotland, Loch Als.
For those coming from the south, specifically from the Fort Williams area, the ferry that connects the town of Mallaig with the village of Ardvasar, on the south-eastern edge of the island, is more convenient, or the ferry between Glenelg and Kylereha. You can easily reach Kyle of Localsh and Mallaig by train, but you have to rent a car or a bicycle if you love pedaling in the wind!
What does Skye offer to tourists?
Skye is divided into four distinct geographical areas: the south, the central area, the north-east, and the northwest, each with its own morphological characteristics and landscape peculiarities, all waiting to be discovered. The south will amaze you with its climate, unusually mild due to its latitude, which benefits from natural protection from the cold ocean winds given by the mountains of the region and the generous contribution of the Gulf Stream. The southern part is relatively flat, but there are also splendid views, such as in Armadale, on the beach at Tarskavaig, and at Ord Bay, where you can enjoy unforgettable sunsets with “the Cuillins” in the background.
The Cuillins are fascinating and disturbing mountains with dark colors that tend to be black and sharp and jagged shapes, and they are one of the central region’s main attractions.
The best view is in Sligachan, where the view is truly stunning and one of the most poignant in the entire UK.
Central Skye is full of villages with colorful and quaint houses, especially in Portree, which retains an old-world charm. Also interesting is the town of Broadford, the most developed and modern center.
While in Carbost, there is one of the most famous industries on the island: the Talisker distillery, which produces one of the strongest, most typical, and most renowned Scotch single malt whiskeys. The distillery has a visitor center and is happy to welcome thirsty tourists!
The northern extremities of the island possess the charm of a primitive land, where the wind and the changing weather make the days always an adventure. The north-eastern coast is known for its unique rock formations. You can find some of them at The Storr, the highest point on the coast, which has pinnacles and rocks like the nearby Quirang formation that you will never get tired of taking pictures of.
Staffin is a lovely village, possibly the most typical of all on Skye.Nearby, there are some beautiful waterfalls, like Kilt Rock, which are thrown directly into the sea with a jump of almost 50 meters.
The northwest coast is the wildest and least hospitable part of the island, with jagged rocks beaten by strong ocean winds. Neist Point is very scenic. It has a large lighthouse on its tip.
The site is characterized by outcrops of basaltic lava of the columnar type, such as the famous Giant’s Causeway on the coasts of Northern Ireland (Giant Causeway).
What is the end of the mythical staircase here?
If you can’t come up with a good answer, it’s not a big deal. You can always move to nearby Dunvegan, which has a great view of the Cuillins.
Even people who aren’t interested in castles will find some interesting ones. Some of the best places to go are Dunvegan Castle in the northwest of the island, Armadale Castle, and the mysterious Duntulum Castle, which sits on a cliff overlooking the sea.
As for the climate, the Isle of Skye does not have great excesses or temperature variations. Minimum winter temperatures rarely fall below +2 °C, and maximum summer temperatures rarely exceed 10 °C. The maximums in January, the coldest month, are around 6-7 °C, while in August, the averages indicate maximums around 15-16 °C. So, a short hike, typical of an oceanic climate. The rains are reasonably distributed, even if the period from September to January (120–140 mm per month) is about 30–40% rainier than in spring and early summer (80–100 mm per month).