Located among the northwestern islands off the coast of Scotland, the Isle of Skye is a sought after destination for outdoor enthusiasts and weekend roadtrippers looking to soak up beautiful scenery. There are plenty of activities for everyone.  If you love to take nature walks, there are hundreds of options on both paved and dirt paths.  Hikers can choose from trails of varying difficulties and lengths, perhaps on the Trotternish ridge to visit the Old Man of Storr rock formation. Cyclists may enjoy the challenge of the winding and hilly roads to get to the Quiraing, though be aware that you are going to be sharing these narrow paved passages with tour buses sometimes.  Mountain bikers may want to check out the Black Cuillins.  And for those seeking relaxation, there are several beaches, including Talisker with its grey sand, and boat cruises to see dolphins, seals, and/or whales. Oh, and I must mention the island's breweries: Isle of Skye Brewery in Uig and the Cuillin Brewery at the Sligachan Hotel (which also happens to be the location of the photo above).

My priority is always photography, so for my trip to the Isle of Skye, I opted to go with someone who knew from experience where to find the most picturesque views.  Since we only had two days, our stay focused only on the western side of the island, so I unfortunately did not get a chance to photograph the very popular Fairy Pools.  The other days we spent in the mainland highlands wandering the loch regions and the eastern coastline. What we did cover, and shown in the photos below, included lighthouses and ruins with rainbows coming out of them...



The Black Cuillins in long exposure...


Dancing light around the Old Man of Storr...


Views of green from the Quiraing...


Coastlines during the day...


And the etched Elgol coastline at sunset...



This last photo was my absolute favorite of the bunch!


Skye can be very busy during the summer months when weather is more likely to be better than the Scottish average of cool and rainy.  Book accommodation early, or you may be across the bridge like we were.  Also, plan for crowds at the major parking areas.  If you are uncomfortable driving, know that many of the roads are single lane where you have to mind the passing pull outs to let drivers through.

Finally, since this is my first of two posts on the Scottish Highlands, I have to mention the MIDGES! These are tiny little gnat-like insects that are not only annoying because they seek out your mouth, ears, nose, and eyes, but some of those suckers bite!  The solution: bug spray and a midge net.  First, bug spray.  There are two options I was able to find: (1) Avon Skin So Soft that was not intended to ward off the wee beasties, but inadvertently does or (2) Smidge repellant.  I went with Smidge because it seemed in my research to work slightly better.  Plus, it smells great.  Sometimes the swarms are too much for spray to handle alone.  So, that's when you plan ahead with clothing choices to cover arms and legs, then reach into your bag for the oh-so-attractive head net.  Most outdoor stores in Scotland have all of these solutions.  Finally, you may want to check out the forecast for midges.  You will immediately see how the western highlands are the primary area plagued with midges.


Despite the bite(s) themselves, the midges don't have long-term effects, thankfully.  It's just annoying.  The good news is that they can't fly in a breeze, so you can move on that information.  But with a breeze, you won't get the great, mirror-like water reflections, so it's really a "you can't have it all" situation.  Midge numbers are also contingent on other environmental factors, as you may guess, like rainfall.   With all that, I feel good that I can now say I have officially warned you, my reader!  Good luck with the pests!
Reactions: