If this is your first trip to Skye you may be wondering how long to stay.
You may be thinking of combining your stay on Skye with a visit to other islands or the surrounding Highlands. So we would like to offer you some advice on how best to experience this beautiful island…..
How many days should I spend on Skye?
Bearing in mind that Skye is approximately 50 miles (80km) in length and 25 miles (40km) wide, that many of the roads are single track and used just as much by sheep as by traffic, you will benefit from being realistic when planning your time. Skye is not an island which lends itself to rush and hurry!
Here are some typical scenarios depending on how much time you decide to spend:
Spend 1 day on Skye and you’ll be in your car most of the time, dodging sheep on the road and other tourists pootling along as they soak up the scenery and you get hot under the collar. If the weather is really bad then you probably won’t get to see any of the fabulous scenery or even get a chance to take a breath of clean air, without a full-on shower. If you really only have one day to spend on the island, then head towards Glen Brittle, drive past the majestic Cuillin mountain range and stop at the beach looking over to the islands of Canna, Barra and the Uists. Now breathe. You’ve arrived. What a pity you are just about to leave again….
Spend 2 days on Skye and you will begin to get a feel for the unique atmosphere of the island. Choose your destination, whether it be of historical, cultural or scenic interest and confine yourself to one area. You may want to visit Dunvegan Castle, home to the Clan McLeod for over 800 years, visit one or several of the many brochs and cairns dating back to the Bronze Age or set off on a coastal walk. Make sure you include dinner at one of Skye’s award winning restaurants, The Three Chimneys near Dunvegan or Kinloch Lodge in Sleat.
Spend 3 days on Skye and you may actually be starting to relax and appreciate the full scope of what the island has to offer. You may get a sense of creeping frustration that you will not be able to pack in even a fraction of all the special places you are beginning to hear about. Remember some of Skye’s most spectacular sights are often not found in the guide books….. You will spend some time looking for the Fairy Glen and the Fairy Bridge (no, of course they are not signposted) and possibly reward yourself with some delicious oysters followed by lobster and chips at the Oyster Shed in Carbost. In the evening you may listen to some live music at the Old Inn after taking in a tour of Talisker Distillery, also in Carbost.
Spend 4 days on Skye and you will now be trying to tick as many boxes as you possibly can so that you feel you have not missed anything. Simultaneously you will have developed a strong sense of curiosity about the surrounding islands and marine and wild life. Again, ward off feelings of frustration by promising yourself to come for much longer the next time. You may take a boat trip to see basking sharks, whales, dolphins and otters or visit the small isles of Canna, Egg, Rum and Muck. You realise that a trip to Lewis to see the magnificent Callanish standing stones requires more time which you will be sure to plan in the next time.
Spend 5 days on Skye and you are beginning to recognise the locals and feel at home. You have identified your favourite bakery, know where to buy local seafood and meat and have discovered some secret wonderful hand made products made on Skye. You have embarked on Skye’s gallery and studio trail with their inspiring craftsmanship and artwork such as the beautiful wool products made by the Skye Weaver, the paintings of Diana Mackie or the ceramics of the Edinbane Pottery. In fact you’ve had so many lasting impressions since you got here you decide to sit down with your binoculars and wait for a Golden Eagle to pass by.
Spend 6 days on Skye and now you’re really wondering why on earth you decided to come all this way with so little time to see so much. The thought of packing your suitcase tonight fills you with dread. You are aware you are wasting precious time brooding and reprimanding yourself. Instead of enjoying what little time there is left, you study that guide book and make sure you have left nothing out, only to realise you have only scratched the surface. The dramatic landscape of the Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr on the Trotternish Ridge have provided the backdrop for many a film set, Neist Point with its iconic lighthouse, the beguiling Island of Raasay, the Fairy Pools, the Clan Donald Centre, Flora McDonald’s grave, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Grave, dinosaurs’ footprints…..The list is endless. There is nothing else for it than to drown your sorrows with a dram.
Spend 7 days on Skye and you will leave with a longing in your heart to return to this most magical of islands with its secrets and traditions, song and dance, stories and legends. You are well aware that the photographs you have taken will never transport the sound of the silence, the scent of the meadowsweet or the light as it melts into dark.
You are already planning your next trip….