Scotland

My wife, six-year-old daughter and I are planning to visit Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye in June. Apart from visiting Talisker and satisfying my daughter’s desire to catch a fish, we don’t have a whole lot planned for the six days on Skye. Perhaps we will take a boat to the Outer Hebrides. We have plenty of ideas for the three days in Edinburgh, but we could always use tips that can’t be drawn from guide books.

Sounds like an interesting trip. I’ve always wanted to go back to my ancestral homeland myself. Be sure to post a little trip report once you return!

Count on it.

Skye is a wonderful place. Lots of great hikes, which may be limited somewhat depending on your daughter’s hiking abilities…the Quiraing is reasonably easy if you don’t go up to the summit and there are pretty spectacular views. The Old Man of Storr is a little steeper but again, spectacular views. Portree is a great little town and by far the liveliest spot on the island. Definitely stop by the Sligachan Hotel for a dram (they have something like 220) at the bar, and some local real ales. There is an easy path to stroll from the Inn towards the Cuillins across a moor that is enjoyable; we walked about 1.5 miles and came across 60-odd tiny streams or rivulets. Talisker is great of course; a drive down to nearby Glen Brittle gets you near the Red Cuillin which is very scenic, and the end of the road goes through a tiny old hamlet that is a working sheep farm - there are gates across the road to help drive the sheep to the pen. There are several glass-bottom boat trips on the island as well. Dunvegan Castle is fun (and Eilean Donan in nearby Lochalsh across the bridge.

Mind the midges.

John,

Thank you for the great suggestions! My little girl is tough as a boot. She made a 5.5 mile hike through Bryce Canyon last summer, and she is ready to better that on Skye. It is comforting to know that there is a place or two to get a dram in Portree, as that’s where we’ll be staying. I booked a room for 5 nights at the Caledonia there just today. I did so with very little info on the basis of very positive Tripadvisor reviews and the fact that they have a family room that accommodates kids.

Since you were kind enough to volunteer your thoughts, I wonder if you have been to the brewery in Uig. If you have, I’d love to know what you think of it.

Thanks again,

Brad

Well that is perfect then, because there is a lot of great hiking in Skye. This is a good site to browse: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/skye/ It’s hard not to find great ones. Quiraing and Storr are both very popular, but the views are worth it - if you have seen Highlander and recall the sword practice between MacLeod and Sean Connery on a high rock above a spectaular view, that’s the Quiraing. Lots of hikes/walks where you won’t see anyone though as well.

Sligachan Hotel is in the hamlet of Sligachan (really only the hotel, a jump-off point for climbers/hikers) on the road to Portree, but well worth a stop at the bar. Portree has plenty of things as well. Had a drink in the Caledonian and some very enjoyable chat with some of the local lads. Really nice people.

I didn’t make it to the brewery in Uig per se but their beer is widely available on-island, along with several other locla ones - although Scottish ale is generally a little sweet/malty for my taste, of course it tastes better when you’re there.

How are you getting to Skye from Edinburgh?

I’m still working that one out. We may rent a car in Edinburgh and drive to Skye, but I would consider hiring a car or bus with a driver who knows what’s worth seeing on the way. It looks like I’ll need a car on Skye either way.

I think I’ll check to see if Netflix has Highlander available for streaming through my Wii. I couldn’t be more excited about the hiking and walking opportunities on Skye.

There are many great places between Edinburgh and Skye, the west coast of Scotland is fantastic. Last trip 2 years ago we took a train back to Glasgow Queen Street station, took a shuttle to the airport and rented a car there (where we were going to return it upon leaving), then drove up thw west coast to catch the ferry at Mallaig (spending a night at Oban on the way). Driving is interesting as you’re on the wrong side of both road and car and roads are narrow - and often bordered by stone fences. You get used to it quickly enough. Most roads on Skye other than the few main ones are single-track with turnouts (kind of fun). You will need a car for certain once you get out of the central belt.

I highly recommend obtaining one guidebook - Scotland the Best by Peter Irvine. It has an amazing amount of things to do all over Scotland, including walks and hikes. Cheers!

Back in the late 70’s, as a kid, we drove all over that beautiful land. I read your post this morning and then out the blue my Brother sends me this link. It seemed fitting that I share.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2FGsPo/devour.com/video/way-back-home/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Enjoy the trip!

For me, camping on the banks of Loch Ness as a thirteen year old was amazing, even with the rain.

You are going to two of my favorite places in Scotland (attended Edinburgh University for a year a long, long time ago and, well, I had to take the ferry to Skye because there was no bridge).

In Edinburgh, walk along the High Street from the castle down to Holyroodhouse. Lots of stuff to do and see along the way (wander down the closes and the small streets off of the High Street), especially the Museum of Childhood.

Wow, folks, this is great! Thanks for all the suggestions. The Museum of Childhood definitely is on the list.

That video link is excellent, Todd. Great scenery. The guy on the bike is insane.

That video is amazing, the scenery and that dude on his bike. Wow outstanding

If you’re renting a car and driving watch out for the speed cameras and learn (or ask) the speed limits on the roads you’ll be driving on. They are quite confusing as the same maximum speed sign can be a different speed in different areas and you just have to know beforehand. Oh, the speed cameras have a bunch of painted white lines on the ground that are grouped close together. If you see those approaching on the road ahead of you slow down.

That said, there is some great hiking with almost 300 Munros, 200 Corbetts, and Graham’s so you should find something suitable for the family. Just be sure to take foul weather gear, the weather there can change quickly even in summer. And you don’t want to be in the middle of a hike without gear when that happens.

Andy,

Thanks for the good, practical information about driving in Scotland. I might never have thought about speed cameras. My wife and I are reasonably experienced backpackers, but mostly from excursions in the Rocky Mountain West (I grew up in Utah and Colorado). I had a sense that the weather in Scotland could be fickle, so it’s good to have a reminder about that as well.

Cheers!

Brad

I’ve been told that the landmass of Scotland just isn’t large enough to hold any weather in place, so whatever comes off the sea is what you get. And Skye is a small and northerly island. During one walk on a clear sunny day a cloud came in and settled quickly over the top of us. Never actually rained, but we have rarely been wetter.

Starting to plan our trip as well, this is wonderful information. Anybody eaten at Three Chimneys on Skye? The seafood there sounds amazing.

Cheers!
Andrew

I know this sounds silly but a lot of the speed cameras have signs indicating that the camera is in place. My parents both hail from scotland. I visit at least once year but only been to beautiful Skye once. As for the weather, fickle is a good descriptor. On my cousin,s wedding day ( month of April) there was rain, sleet, hail, snow, sun and a 40 + swing in temperatures all in under 6 hours.

thanks for notes re speed cameras!
Not to hijack thread, but any suggestions in Fife and nearby? Going to stepson’s graduation at St Andrews in June. Not a golfer, looking for (1)art (2)history (3) hiking and (4) food suggestions. Will have a car.
Couple days in Edinburgh, thanks for suggestions

On your way from Skye to Edinburgh (or vice versa, if you’re visiting Edinburgh first) stop at Cairndow Oyster Bar & Restaurant, if it’s not too far out of your way. Order the oysters, order a bracing mineral-laden white wine, sit back, relax, and enjoy. [cheers.gif]

http://www.lochfyne.com/About-Us/Loch-Fyne-Businesses/Loch-Fyne-Oysters/Cairndow-Oyster-Bar---Restaurant

Good recco, this is a great place. I also love the kippers.

Not far from there is Loch Fyne Whiskies in Inverary, a truly excellent whisky shop.