A Day Driving the Trotternish Peninsula

On the far northeast side of the Isle of Skye, the Trotternish Peninsula features some of the most epic and gorgeous landscape of this Scottish island. One way to take in the mystery of this island is to make a day trip of driving around it, stopping for a couple hikes and look-outs.

This was one of my favorite days of our honeymoon . If you have a car I recommend the following tips and stops for a self-drive tour. We chose to go counterclockwise around the peninsula, so switch around my directions if you go clockwise.

The Old Man of Storr: 

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Now this is probably one of the busiest hiking trails I've been on and we went at midday. I would highly recommend going early or late. I go on many hikes in my home of New Mexico, a mile above sea level, so I was expecting this to be a piece of cake. But rather than having moderating switchbacks, it is very much a straight uphill hike. I was gasping for air by the time we reached the infamous looming rocks. On the day we went fog flirted with us, by falling and lifting, but when it was clear the view looking east over the ocean and rugged cliffs was lovely, and the face of Old Man Storr snored at us through the mist to the west. 

Skye Pie Cafe: Tucked into an Inn called the Glenview, the Skye Pie Cafe offered one of the best meals I had while in Scotland. Ben and I shared a lamb pie, a highland beef pie, and an almond/raspberry pie with warm custard. Complete heaven! The meat was fall- apart tender and well-seasoned, the pie crust flaky, and the warm vanilla custard blissfully harmonized with the raspberry and almond marzipan pie (Are you salivating yet?).

 Almond marzipan and raspberry pie with a lovely pot of tea

Almond marzipan and raspberry pie with a lovely pot of tea

I've been watching The Great British Baking Show all spring, which created some pretty tantalizing pastry and pie fantasies in my head. This was the only place in Scotland that made all my pie fantasies come true. 

Brothers Point: This is another possible hike just 7 miles north of Old Man of Storr. It treks out to a gorgeous point. The parking for this is just to the right of the road from Culnacnac on Google Maps. We skipped this one, but could see it from Kilt Rock. 

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls: To get to Kilt Rock continue on A855 and just south of Staffin; next to Loch Mealt turn right just before the baby loch to your right. There are signs to help you drive right up to this gorgeous look out.

To your right you can see Brother's Point in the distance, if the gods of mist allow it and to the left you see Kilt Rock. The basalt columns, named after the pleats of a kilt, rise out of layers of Sandstone flaring out into the sea. Just before it, with misty spray coming up to kiss you, is Mealt Falls, drastically plunging into the ocean. The sounds at this particular look out are hauntingly magical; the wind floats through the pipes of the fence and against the cliffs to create an ethereal lullaby to fill the ears. I was overwhelmed by the ancient magic and history of this misty island as I gazed at these cliffs rising out of the ocean and the water falling back to the sea. My senses buzzed with the sounds of this place, the brushing of the cool spray against my face, and the smell of the ocean permeating my being. 

 Castle Ewan

Castle Ewan

Fairy glen: After circling around the north edge on a one-lane road with plenty of pull-offs and passing-stops, you will reach Uig. If you want to add the Quiraing mountains to your day, they offer some glorious hikes. You can also see these mountains as you drive around the northern edge of the peninsula. However, I was on a mission: I really wanted to find the Fairy glen, but it was not easy. Finally, we figured it out:

Just past the Uig Hotel take a sharp left (if going clockwise around the peninsula reverse the directions) and follow that road all the way to the end and you will see the fairy glen. 

The fairy glen was my favorite place in all of Skye. Rather than because of any particular feature, it just felt magical. Not named because of tales of fairies in the glen, but for its magical and unusual rock formations, it appears myth-like. It was wonderful to wander around the rocks, climb to the top of Castle Ewan (not an actual castle, but a basalt rock formation), and sit on one of the cone shaped hills and look out at the gorgeous waterfall to the east as the mist wandered around us. The fanciful part of me really did believe this to be a place where fairies would create a fairy city (not the mischievous fairies of Scottish and Irish folklore, but the Peter Pan type fairies).

There are man-made spirals on the ground and some balancing-stone towers that tourists have left during the years, which I must say I did not like  It took away from the natural magic of the place. Please be aware of the beautiful countries you are visiting and mindful before you put a mark on them.

 

At the end of the loop, the quaint town of Portree is waiting to overwhelm you with color, inns, pubs, and some Scottish music if you are lucky.

 Did this post inspire your marvelous wanderings? Let me know!   

Did this post inspire your marvelous wanderings? Let me know!