The Isle of Skye is a hotspot tourist destination, I knew that before I went. Loads of tourists on my tours had headed up there, and each and every one said that it was the highlight of their holiday. When I finally went with my family over the summer, I was so excited to see what it was all about! There are a million and one Isle of Skye destination guides: this is one for the weekend traveller. Here’s my advice for a weekend in Skye.
I let my sister do all of the planning. She was coming all the way from Canada, and I figured she should get to do everything she wants to as she probably won’t get to go back. I, on the other hand, can make another trip if need be. That said, we had a pretty thorough itinerary!
Where we stayed
Sam found us a lovely cottage to rent. Mostly, this was because Skye is incredibly busy during the summer months and we had left our booking to the last minute… so there were only really nice (expensive) places left! We ended up staying somewhere called “The Old Inn”. This accommodationg made the holiday. It’s located in Staffin, and it’s away from all the touristy hubbub. It’s within walking distance to a quiet beach that had cows sunbathing and dipping their toes in the water! The decor was classic cosy Scottish country seaside cottage, basically I want to live there as a hermit for the rest of my life. I think it’s worth investing in one of a kind accommodation like this if you’re going somewhere like Skye. I’d definitely book again! I could spend a whole weekend in Skye at the Old Inn alone.
How we got around
Going to Skye without a car is not a good idea. Especially a weekend in Skye. Public transport is unreliable, and the weather is even more unreliable. The chance that you might get stuck out at a bus stop in a Scottish downpour is high. You basically can’t get anywhere on Sundays, and you can only go to the biggest towns in the remote areas. It’s worth paying to have a car. *But* make sure you Google, Youtube, do whatever you can to learn how to use Scottish country roads. Especially if you’re on the wrong side of the road. There were way too many horrible tourist drivers on those roads, it was genuinely dangerous.
What We Did
As most people do, we spent our days hiking. We arrived on Friday afternoon from Inverness and stopped at a place called Brother’s Point. We went here because reviews online said there were few tourists at this spot. We parked off the main road and walked down to the start point. It was a rocky shore, and the hike started along the coast. There were a few other families down there, but once we got to hiking the crowds really thinned out. The hike takes you up to a croft and then out along a cliff edge to the very edge of a small peninsula. Having hiked the Cliffs of Moher earlier, I’m fairly comfortable on a cliff edge, but my mom doubled back, as did every other tourist we saw there. It was worth scaling the edge to reach the herd of sheep though!
This is a popular hike with tourists, so we got an early (ish) start on Saturday. PSA: Parking on Skye is atrocious. If you want a spot, go early. We luckily got a spot but it was one of the last ones, and we were there just before 10am. The hike was amazing, over hills, along cliffs, by a rocky hillface and then to the peak of a hill and back down. Manageable. The drawback to hiking in Skye is that sometime it’s like going to Edinburgh Castle. We saw hundreds of people on the hike. There aren’t any trees, so you really see everyone. Depending where you’re from, you might not get that feeling of remoteness that you’re looking for. But the views (without the people) are just as beautiful as they say.
An Corran Beach
We didn’t go all the way to An Corran, but we walked along the beach towards it in the afternoon. After the Quiraing, I was exhausted. And warm. As soon as we got back to the Old Inn I walked down to the water to cool off. I had to avoid the cows (and their poo) to get a good spot, but it was so soothing when I got in! Having cows around while you sea-bathe is something else. Also: does anyone else have the thing where you need to touch every body of water you’re near? Just me? Regardless, this was a highlight of my weekend in Skye.
Old Man of Storr
Ah, the Old Man of Storr. You can’t go to Skye and not do this classic hike that takes you towards the tall rock jutting up along the skyline of Skye. To be completely honest, on Sunday morning the last thing I wanted to do was hike straight uphill. But we went anyways. I did not do the full hike, at one point I just went towards what I called the ‘Old Man’ (the rock? Definitely actually referred to as ‘the Storr’) and didn’t bother going up for the view of it. In the end, it was a nice little hike. Again, there were a million cars with drivers who didn’t know how to drive on country roads putting people’s lives at risk trying to park here. That was the worst part.
The Tourists of Skye
If you’re going for a weekend, I’d recommend going sometime off-peak. AKA anytime that is not summer time. Loads of people go to spend a weekend in Skye because, as you can see, it’s worth it! So naturally, if it’s peak tourist time in Scotland, it’s peak tourist time on Skye. What you don’t realise is that it’s not necessarily going to be better weather. Going in October or November might be rainy, or it might be sunny and dry and cold. Plus, it’ll be quiet. On the other hand, in Summertime it could be equally as rainy, but it will definitely be busy. If you’re looking for that feeling of wild, remote Scotland, you’ve got to go during the off-peak season.
And that was my weekend in Skye! As always, if you have absolutely any questions at all just leave them in the comments. You’re also welcome to send me an email or message on Instagram – that’s where I’ll see it the quickest! Thanks for reading, and enjoy your travel planning, even if it’s just wishful thinking!