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Over The Sea To Skye

 

Skye - History, Romance and Wildlife

 

Mist shrouded moors and mountains; Otters swimming in secluded havens and a Prince fleeing through the heather all contribute to the magic of this island as Hugh Taylor and Moira McCrossan discovered on a recent visit.

‘Round Cuillin's peak the mist is sailin'
The banshee croons her note of wailin'
But my blue een wi' sorrow are streamin'
For him that will never return – MacCrimmon’

?

MacCrimmon's Lament

 

Cuillins of Skye

 

Skye - The Cuillins © Hugh Taylor

 

The landscape of Skye has scarcely changed since the legendary piper, Donald MacCrimmon, foreseeing terrible slaughter following the Battle of Culloden, composed his lament. It’s an island steeped in history where you can walk along deserted beaches or over lonely moorland in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie. You’ll still find plenty of evidence of the Highland hospitality, which sustained the footsore prince on his wanderings.

Travel Facts

 

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Talisker Distillery Visitor Centre

Tel:01478 614308

Open:

November - end March. Set tours at 10.30am, 12.00pm, 2.00pm and 3.30pm.

 April - 31st October. Mon -Sat, 9.30am -5.00pm. Last tour 4.00pm.

Also open on Sundays during July and August, 12.30pm -5.00pm, last tour 4.00pm.

Admission £5.00

Bright Water Visitor Centre

The Pier, Kyleakin, Isle of Skye, IV41 8PL

Tel: 01599 530040

Email:

enquiries@
eileanban.org

Opening times vary. Call in advance.

Free admission.

Further Information: Skye and Lochalsh website

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Skye Bridge

The Skye Bridge  © Hugh Taylor

From Kyle of Lochalsh cross the Skye Bridge and tour the narrow, winding, single track roads along the coastline to Portree, or cross the moor through small townships that amount to no more than a handful of cottages. Don’t expect great weather. When the sun shines Skye is glorious with clear blue skies, a perfect backdrop for the stark, jagged peaks of the Cuillins. Even when it’s raining, the atmosphere will capture you - when the stark lines of the Cuillins are softened by swirling cloud, half hidden by fine drizzle or obliterated by sheeting rain.

Curlews call out on the moor and in early summer the unique song of the cuckoo reverberates on every side. From the coast road, turn left at Sligachan, through Glen Drynoch to Dunvegan with its famous castle. Look for signs for the Talisker Distillery near the end of the Glen and take the short detour to the shores of Loch Harport. You can tour the distillery here and try a small dram of Skye’s Uisge Beatha, the Water of Life.

Talisker Distillery

Talisker Distellery © Hugh Taylor

                  

Returning to the main road continue to Dunvegan, a great place to view a classic west coast sunset. Then continue, via Uig and the Museum of Island Life, round the strange Trotternish Peninsula, where you’ll find the Old Man of Storr, a column of rock precariously balanced, and looking about to topple at any moment. Nearby the weird rock formations of the Quiraing evoke images of giants and legends. Heading south you pass through the main  settlement of Portree, with its colourful houses and elegant town square. The main road runs south back to tiny Kyleakin, its white cottages clustered round the small harbour with its fishing boats and visiting yachts.

From the Bright Water Visitor Centre on the harbourside you can visit Eilean Bhan, the White Island, last home of Gavin Maxwell author of Ring of Bright Water. His long sitting room in the former lighthouse keeper’s cottage has been restored as a museum and there is a nature trail and the grave of Maxwell’s Otter Teko.

 


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