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Isle of Skye

Posted by Brad Matthews on
Isle of Skye

We continue our Scotland Road Trip on the Isle of Skye. Skye had been one of my dream locations to photograph ever since seeing a few fellow photographers shots from there on Instagram. Exploring this place was an unforgettable part of our trip.

 

But First, A Quick Stop Off

Before heading over to Skye, we made a stop at Eilean Donan Castle. It just so happens to be my Gran’s favourite place in Scotland after she visited over 30 years ago, so I was desperate to get some nice photos for her. After taking a walk around the grounds we parked the van up in a lay-by, overlooking the castle which is situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by phenomenal scenery and epic highland roads.

 

Walking across the Eilean Donan Castle Bridge

Eilean Donan Castle Wedding

 

The castle grounds closed earlier than usual as there was a wedding taking place. What a treat this turned out to be. The roads and nearby village seemed to be quiet that evening, and when the wedding commenced, the sound of bagpipes played as the bride made her way over the bridge to the castle. An incredible Scottish experience to say the least!

 

Parked up in the camper van at Eilean Donan

 

Finishing up a nice dinner in the van with a sunset view of Eilean Donan Castle, it was time to make our way over to the Isle of Skye, where we’d planned to stay the night at Fairy Pools. The sunset was absolutely phenomenal as we left Eilean Donan. The mountains appeared like triangular layers, fading into the horizon. Driving down open roads into a golden sunset felt the start of a great country song.

 

Eilean Donan Sunset

 

On The Road to Skye

As we crossed the Skye bridge, the last remnants of the sunset faded into night. The first thing we noticed on Skye was that it seemed to have a different presence to mainland Scotland. Almost all the houses were white and somewhat consistent in size. It was like people had only recently settled on this enchanted island. That being said, the island is actually only populated by 12,000 people. Apparently there are more sheep than people!

Fairy Pools Fine Art Print

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Arriving at Fairy Pools in the pitch black (not even light pollution could be seen from this place), we managed to find a spot to pull up for the night. The following morning we were blessed by a cold, but stunning sunrise. Although the popular waterfall there didn't seem to be flowing as much as usual, it still made for a beautiful photo with the mountain piercing the rising sun in the background.

 

Stopping off for lunch after visiting Fairy Pools in yet another lay-by - This one could have been given 5 star review though if there was an app for such a thing. Out the back of the van were the views of an incredible mountain range, and out the front, in the distance, was our next destination.

 

Isle of Skye Rest Stop

 

While stopping off for lunch, we met a delightful Scottish gent called Ian McNeish who had stopped to take some photos of the mountains. He had some great stories from Skye, and turns out he’s a published author of two books which tell the stories of his travels and life experiences.

 

We sat in the van catching up on some emails and taking a moment to read before making our way to the Trotternish Ridge. A massive ancient landslide that almost runs the full length of the northernmost peninsula of Skye (roughly 20 miles). The landslip contains two of Skye's most famous landmarks: the Old Man of Storr, and the Quiraing.

Highland Layers Fine Art Print

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The dramatic geology of the Old Man of Storr and The Quiraing make up an extraordinary assembly of epic pinnacles, rock towers and secret places that feel otherworldly. It’s no wonder these impressive landmarks have been used in Hollywood films such as Transformers: The Last Knight, Prometheus, Snow White & The Huntsman and The BFG - Just to name a few.

 

Old Man Of Storr 

We planned to shoot both sunset and sunrise at the Storr. The sun didn’t make an appearance either time sadly. However, the landscape is so epic that no matter the weather, it is still breathtaking.

 

Taking photos of the Old Man of Storr

 

When we first arrived at the car park for sunset, the only thing we knew was that it took roughly 30 minutes to get up to a good view point. Optimistic we could shave some time off that record, we set out on a fast paced walk to the top.

 

The blog we read with the walking times must have been written by a seasoned mountain climber as we were gasping for air moments later. Either that or spending the majority of the past year indoors due to the covid restrictions had ruined our fitness levels. We made it up eventually though and boy was it worth it. 

 

The Storr Fine Art Print

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Navigating the paths between the tall pinnacles of the Storr felt like a portal had been opened into jurassic park. The landscape has a real prehistoric essence, and further up the coast are said to be dinosaur footprints preserved in the rocks.

 

Hiking The Storr

 

Getting to a higher vantage point with panoramic views of the Storr as well as the endless mountain ranges that stretch across the horizon leaves you speechless. The Storr is a place you really have to visit for yourself to appreciate the scale and beauty of this natural wonder of the world.

 

The Quiraing

Moving on to our final location on Skye, the Quiraing, is where you start to get a sense of the epic landslide that happened here thousands of years ago. In fact, the earth at the Quiraing is still moving - The road at its base has to be repaired yearly because the land still shifts a few centimetres each year.

 

Preparing for our hike at The Quiraing

Hiking The Quiraing

 

Although we started our hike at The Quiraing in questionable weather conditions, the sun broke through eventually and cleared the fog revealing incredible views for miles of the Trotternish Ridge.

 

Hiking The Quiraing

Hiking The Quiraing

 

The views are spectacular from any angle here. The main trail leads to the base of ‘The Needle’ - Which hence the name, is an isolated 120-foot rocky pinnacle nestled along the ridge. If that number didn't give you a sense of scale, see if you can find Izzie walking along the bottom on The Needle in the photo below.

 

The Needle Fine Art Print

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For an island that is only 50 miles long, we only scratched the surface of what is left to experience on Skye. It was time to leave Skye though and head back to the mainland for the final stop of our Scotland road trip. We decided to pass back through Glencoe, and explore its neighbouring village, Kinlochleven. Read the next story: Last Day Of Our Scotland Road Trip.

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