Our Expert's Guide To The Isle Of Skye

Right from the moment you cross the bridge from the Scottish mainland, there’s something enchanting about the Isle of Skye. Maybe it’s the picturesque villages, rugged mountain landscapes, beautiful coastlines and lochs, or perhaps it’s the tales of fairy queens and feuding clans. Whatever it is, you can’t help falling in love with the ‘Misty Isle’.


In-store expert Cheryl Stewart from our Aberdeen store spends a good chunk of her free time exploring this wild corner of the UK, so we thought we’d catch up with her to share some of her favourite spots in Skye to find adventure. 

Best Walks

Old Man of Storr

“Probably the most famous walk on the Isle of Skye and definitely one of the busiest. The iconic ‘Old Man’ is a 48m pinnacle of rock that can be seen for miles around. Forming part of the Trotternish ridge, the Storr was created by a massive ancient landside, leaving behind one of the most photographed landscapes in the world. Be sure to take your camera along for that perfect shot of the Old Man overlooking those stunning views across the Sound of Raasay to the east, the flat-topped Macleod’s Tables to the west, and the jagged Cuillin mountains to the south.”

The Quiraing

“Located toward the north of the Island, The Quiraing is a truly fantastic walk for any photographer. I would choose a clear day to fully appreciate these high cliffs, hidden plateaus and pinnacles of rock. You can visit the first short section of path but if you have the time, you can complete the full circuit taking in the ‘Prison’, the ‘Needle’ and other features. The views are simply breathtaking throughout.”

Coral Beach

“If you are visiting the northwest of the island, take the family for a walk down to Coral Beach, located a few miles north of Dunvegan. This pretty, almost tropical-looking beach is made entirely of crushed white grains of coral-like maerl, that look a bit like cake sprinkles. It’s a great place to watch the sun set and enjoy the tranquility.”

Fairy Pools

“Sitting at the foot of the dramatic Black Cuillin mountain range near Glenbrittle are Skye’s magical Fairy Pools. Alluring visitors from all over the world, crystal clear waters meet rugged mountain views here, which alongside the numerous turquoise pools and waterfalls makes this one of Scotland’s most enchanting wild swimming spots. If you’re bold enough to take a dip, my tip would be to head in early to avoid the crowds.”

Best Campsites

Glenbrittle campsite

“Glenbrittle is a climber’s paradise and an ideal base for walkers to explore the nearby peaks, the Fairy Pools or Eas Mor Waterfall (Skye’s highest). Situated on the lovely, sheltered beach of Loch Brittle, it’s perfect for a swim after a day adventuring. The staff here are extremely friendly and helpful, and the campsite has its own coffee shop too. Cuillin Coffee is not to be missed!” 

Uig Bay Campsite

“Uig is nestled on the northwest coast of Skye and is a great base for exploring the other neighbouring islands, with ferries leaving regularly for Uist & Harris. With pitches right along the seashore, the village also offers a few shops and pubs before hopping on board.”

Staffin Campsite

Located beneath the breathtaking Trotternish ridge with lovely views out to the Hebridean Minch, Staffin campsite is another great spot to pitch up in. Staffin is just 16 miles north of Portree putting it in close proximity for trips to The Quiraing, the Old Man of Storr and the impressive coastal waterfall at Lealt.”

Best Views

“You will be spoilt for views on Skye and these change with the seasons and the typically unpredictable Scottish weather. Beyond the popular ones like the Fairy Pools, Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing, I’d recommend seeking out these:”


“Whether you have an adventurous streak or perhaps you're just driving to Portree or Dunvegan, from the famous old stone bridge here you can get a superb view of Glen Sligachan, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Cuillin range.”


“There are many viewpoints from which to admire the Cuillins but Elgol, down on the island’s southern tip, is one of the only places to really appreciate the horseshoe shape of the range.


“If I’m having a rest day and the weather is clear, I like to pack a picnic or grab some coffee and head to Elgol. I could sit here for hours admiring the peaks and planning the next big adventure.”

Talisker Bay

“Perhaps the finest sandy bay on Skye, surrounded by dramatic cliffs, purple rock pools and waterfalls. Located not far from Carboost, it’s a short easy walk into the beach and a great choice for families.” 

Best Climbs

“The Cuillin mountain range is unlike any other in the UK, its gabbro peaks offering some of our finest mountaineering. The main ridge itself offers 11 Munros, with one outlier - Blaven. Most will require experience and a degree of scrambling ability, but the ridge can be divided up into sections.”

The Mighty In – Pinn

“Undoubtedly the best-known Munro on Skye is the Inaccessible Pinnacle (Sgurr Dearg), so-called as it requires rock climbing to reach its summit and an abseil back down. This can be tackled as an individual goal, or part of a bigger day out.”

Full Ridge Traverse

“For the seriously bold and those with previous experience, I’d highly recommend hiring a guide and attempting a full ridge traverse. This 12km challenge can be undertaken over a couple of days with an overnight bivi.” 

Blaven (Bla Bheinn)

“Blaven may lie in solitude to the main ridge but is nevertheless a fantastic challenge in its own right. In my opinion it offers all the characteristics and excitement that you might find in the Cuillin.”

Best Swim & Paddleboarding Spots

“Skye is the perfect playground for wild swimming and stand up paddle boarding. You are never far from water with Skye’s abundant coastline and lochs. Some of my favourite spots to paddleboard include:”

Loch Duich

“Just over the bridge to the mainland to see Eilean Donan Castle from a different perspective.”


“For the best views of the Cuillins from the water.”

Loch Coruisk

“A boat trip from Elgol is the easiest way to visit Loch Coruisk, a truly spectacular location surrounded by mountain peaks. However, if you are feeling strong and conditions allow, you could make the crossing by paddleboard.”


“For swimming, I like to head to Talisker bay, Coral beach, the Fairy Pools or the sheltered beach at Harlosh.”

Best Cafes

Cuillin Coffee Café

“Located at Glenbrittle campsite, the name of this coffee shop says it all. It offers fresh bread, pastries and the most delicious cakes right at the foot of the iconic Cuillin mountains. Sit back and soak in the atmosphere or dry off in front of the stove with a delicious cup of Cuillin coffee.”

Caora Dhubh Coffee Company

“Gaelic for Black Sheep, this speciality coffee shop located in the village of Carbost is an absolute gem, focusing on ethical trading and local sourcing. It’s a perfect stop off after a visit to the Fairy Pools. Plus, it’s directly across from the Talisker distillery which is definitely worth a visit too.”

Best Pubs

Seumas’ Bar (Sligachan Hotel)

“If it’s a fine pint after a hard day in the hills you’re after, then look no further than the Sligachan. A great atmosphere and one of the biggest selections of malt whiskies in Scotland!” 

The Old Inn – Carbost

“The Old Inn & Bunkhouse offers a warm highland welcome on the edge of the loch. There is often live local music playing and their soups are incredible. If the midgies and Scottish weather allow, get yourself an outside table on the waterfront terrace for the best views.”

Pier Hotel

“Or for some local culture why not pop into the Pier hotel in Portree for some traditional live music?”

Best Towns & Villages To Stay

“Skye has you covered when it comes to amazing choices of places to stay, from B&Bs, cottages and hotels, to campsites, hostels and wigwams!”


“Broadford is a great base for visiting places on the south of the island, with a great selection of accommodation, cafes, restaurants and large supermarket.”


“As the island’s capital, Portree is the obvious choice if visiting the north of the island and is serviced daily by bus from Glasgow and Inverness. It’s a bustling town providing everything you need for a stay on Skye. The picturesque harbour with colourful houses, fringed by cliffs is well worth a visit. And you’ll find many restaurants serving fresh seafood that has been caught here daily.”

Best Festivals

Skye Live Festival

“Skye Live Festival is a unique annual two-day music festival which takes place at The Lump, the traditional home of the Skye Highland Games in Portree.”


“Here you can experience the best in Scottish contemporary folk music. Whether you're a seasoned festival goer or not, nothing quite beats bouncing along to the jigs and reels of the islands!”

Other Highlights


“The Isle of Skye is one of the most beautiful places in the world to enjoy spectacular sunsets. It’s not such a secret but head to Neist Point near the town of Glendale on the most westerly tip of the Isle for the most spectacular sunset.”

Aurora & Stargazing

“Skye is known for being a good spot for aurora sightings in Scotland, especially in the north of the island. Head away from the villages and light pollution to a more remote location and sit and wait, preferably with a dram. The best times are out of the summer season as it doesn’t get overly dark at night through summer.”

Brocken Spectre

“If you venture up high whilst on the island, you may just be lucky enough to witness a Brocken Spectre. Often confused with another person in the distance, it is in fact your own shadow projected in a halo shaped rainbow onto clouds.”

Cloud Inversions

“Most visitors will hope for cloud-free days whilst they are visiting; however, in the right conditions, inversions lead to a thick layer of mist clinging to the ground. If you take a chance, you may just climb up above the clouds and be rewarded with the most extraordinary views of a sea of cloud, with island-like mountain tops poking up out of the mist. It truly is an incredible sight.”

Check out the links below for some more of our expert guides featuring other spectacular areas of the UK to explore.

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