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The Mythical Isle of Skye

By on Apr 9, 2013 in Travel | 14 comments

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Myth, magic and legend – welcome to the Isle of Skye.

I’ve just returned from a week-long tour of Scotland and I have so much to share about the country, my head is spinning. It is without doubt, one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. I’ve climbed a mountain, found my ancestral home, whale-watched and walked barefoot on a deserted beach, among other things.  But the place which stands out most in my mind as I think back over this extraordinary trip is the mythical Isle of Skye.

Skye Reflection

The Isle of Skye – windswept, wild and utterly glorious

Skye is windswept, wild and utterly glorious. If you only have a short time to see the Highlands, this is the place to go. I was on a Haggis Adventures tour, and our guide, Andy, a native highlander, declared this ‘winged isle’ to be his favourite place.


Kyleakin village, Isle of Skye

As we had already seen lochs and mountains of breathtaking beauty, Skye had a lot to live up to. But it was love at first sight. We arrived into Kyle of Lochalsh in the early evening, just as the sun was bathing everything in a golden glow. This village is actually still on the mainland, but it is the point of entry to the Isle of Skye, just a few metres over the bridge. It was the perfect introduction.

Sunset in Scotland

Sunset in Kyle of Lochalsh

Andy took us on one of his ‘romantic walks’ – for which he became famed over the 5 days – to the undeniably romantic ruins of Castle Moir, which sit atop a small island, on the stretch of water between Kyle of Localsh and the Isle of Skye. As the tide was out, we were able to walk to the castle, past two stranded ships and across a beach littered with shells, driftwood, and even crab pincers.

Kyleakin, Scotland

A boat waits patiently for the tide to return

According to legend, this was the castle of Saucy Mary, who would apparently expose her chest to sailors in return for a toll charge for the crossing. The boys in the group requested that the girls reenact this historical scene, but we politely refused.

Saucy Mary's Castle

Saucy Mary’s Castle

The following day, we set out to explore the Isle of Skye properly. Appropriately, given that the island’s other nickname is the ‘Misty Isle’, a veil of mist hung over the early-morning landscape. In fact, though blue sky broke through, the landscapes on Skye looked like a giant had painted them in watercolour.

Isle of Skye

Skye’s extraordinary landscapes

Perfectly still lochs reflected the landscape like mirrors, so clearly that it was rather disorienting – there was no longer a fixed sense of up and down, of what was land and sky and what was water. But it was beautiful.


Reflections on the Isle of Skye

It is no wonder that myths and legends abound here: The Old Man (and his wife) of Storr, turned to rock by the gods, the fight between gods which resulted in the flat top of Mcleod’s ‘table’ mountain.

Storr Mountain

The Old Man of Storr and Storr Mountain

There is even a  faerie river which will beautify anyone who dips their face in for seven seconds (some of our group tried this one, despite the chilliness of the morning!)

Faerie River, Skye

Faerie River

We walked alongside a canyon and drank from a waterfall, then wound our way to the Quiraing mountains on the Trotternish peninsula, in the very north of the island. We were to climb one of the mountains in this range, close to Storr mountain.

Waterfall Isle of Skye

The freshest, prettiest water to be found

The mountain and surrounding landscape feels at once completely ethereal and strikingly familiar; perhaps no wonder, since it has been used as the setting in films such as Prometheus and Stardust. You can see why it was chosen – it is a fairytale land which is somehow unreal.

Skye views

Familiar and impossible – only on Skye

It was a tough climb to the top. but worth it for the breathtaking views of the island in all its mythical glory.

Quiraing Mountains

Reaching the peak and enjoying the views

We only had one day on the Isle of Skye, but it is somewhere I know I will visit again. The island demands longer, in order to fully experience its magic.



    • Katy

      9 April 2013

      Post a Reply

      Thank you dearest! Quite honestly, the photos more or less took themselves – Skye is so beautiful I think it is impossible to take a bad photo there!

  1. Fiona

    9 April 2013

    Post a Reply

    This looks amazing! You really bring it to life – so much so, i wish i’d been there too. Lucky girl

  2. Margo Millure

    10 April 2013

    Post a Reply

    What an amazing sounding trip, Katy! I’ve heard about Isle of Skye before and for the first time, really understand why everyone raves about it. (PS – Did you try Haggis on this Haggis adventure tour? What is Haggis, anyway? – Okay, I don’t really want to know.) Both your photos and your words are complete magic.Take me here, now!
    Margo Millure recently posted..A Visit to Palazzo Parisio in MaltaMy Profile

    • Katy

      10 April 2013

      Post a Reply

      Thank you, Margo :) Haggis is a small animal with roams the highlands… actually it’s a type of round sausage, made mostly from lamb and that’s all you want to know! I didn’t have any, because it generally contains flour which I can’t eat, but I have tried it before and it is tasty!

    • Katy

      10 April 2013

      Post a Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Sam! The Highlands truly are a magical place – I’d love to live there too someday!

    • Katy

      27 April 2013

      Post a Reply

      Hi Cheryl, thanks for commenting! I haven’t met anyone who didn’t fall in love with the Isle of Skye and I can see why! I’m glad you enjoyed it too :)

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