Two Night Break Camping in Isle of Skye
This year so far has not been abundant with holidays and the time off from work has been for sad events rather than joyful ones so a break was well in order before we both fell over. Me & Dave both work at the same place so it can be challenging to get time off together and we are so busy that finding a whole week off at short notice doesn’t really work so we settled for a long weekend at the start of June for at least a little break.
We had the Friday to the Wednesday off and I left all of the organising for the nights away up to Dave, this in itself was a total luxury and massively appreciated. The Friday morning was made up of a high intensity run around the block and then dress shopping for Ascot next weekend (I came home with 4 to choose from, oops). We then headed into Edinburgh for lunch at Ox184 (review coming soon) and a cocktail at Juniper before heading to the Edinburgh Zoo Night.
On the Saturday morning we got up, packed the car and headed along the road to Mannerstons, the new farm shop / deli that has opened up, for breakfast (review coming soon). Full Scottish for the both of us and then the drive up to Skye started. The drive took about 5.5 to 6 hours with a stop off in Fort William for waterproof trousers as it poured with rain the whole way up – beginning of June and it was properly like winter.
About 15 minutes from Skye you come to Eilean Donan Castle, which Dave tells me is the image of Scotland that people have from all around the world. I have to say I thought this was a whopper but it turns out if you google ‘scotland‘ and go into images then it sure appears to be a pretty popular image and I can see why it would be high up the images to pick for our country as it is really striking. Unfortunately on our way up and back down the tide was out so it wasn’t quite as beautiful as it could have been with the reflection in the water.
From Eilean Donan Castle it is about 15 minutes to the Skye bridge and then about 45 minute drive up to Portree to where Dave had looked at a eco campsite that we could maybe stay on. As we drove North through the island we passed Sligachan campsite which is one we had been recommended (due to the pub opposite) and from there it is about a 10 minute drive Portree. As we drove I kept my eye out for a B&B that had a vacancy as the weather was not in our favour and neither were the B&Bs – Skye was fully booked!
We made the decision to turn back to the Sligachan campsite and set up the tent. When we got there there was a large amount of the campsite that was actually boggy due to the amount of rain that there had been – it was crazy weather. There was a kind of a little raised bit which looked like the best choice. As we got out the car and stood looking around at our spot for the night with the wind battering sheets of rain down on us I couldn’t figure out if I was going to cry or start hysterically laughing.
Laughing it was.
Putting up the tent in the rain and wind was a bit of a test on our relationship, I think boys and girls minds work in two different ways when it comes to practical things. Boys like to pile in and girls like to figure out what they are trying to do first (some may say we fanny about). I was trying to put the poles together whilst Dave wanted to secure the outer tent to the ground. I was trying to push the poles through and so was he from the opposite end. I was trying to click the inner tent into the outer starting at the back of the tent and Dave wanted to start from the entrance. As I said, we think / work in different ways.
I am glad to say though that even with the two different ways to tackle the tent that we got it up securely (with the car blocking the wind from totally battering it & all our stuff in it to weight it down), we made it through with only minimal bickering & we were talking as we headed to the pub for a well earned drink and dinner.
Sligachan pub is a busy place with the biggest collection of whiskey we have ever seen anywhere, it is properly impressive! We opted for a couple of pints of Pinnacle, a beer that they brew in their own micro brewery, to start with and managed to grab the last seats in the place. After a couple of pints we ordered a munch – fish and chips for me and Dave went for a beef rib with mash, haggis and neeps. The fish was beautiful, soft & delicate (batter was a little thick for me) and chips (not homemade) and Daves beef rib was delicious and really hearty, although he felt the portion was on the small side. After a portion of pudding to share, a whiskey for Dave and a gin for me it was time to retire to our boudoir for the evening to listen to the rain pattering on the roof and the trickle of the stream nearby snuggled up together (doesn’t it sound lovely when described like this?).
The reality was a rather loud, cold night with not the biggest amount of sleep but it certainly wasn’t the end of the world and the tent kept the rain out (great test for it) and we both woke up in pretty good moods, the rain had stopped, packed up the tent and hit the road – good bye campsite, hello B&B for the second night (or so I had thought as we packed up the tent).
We drove into Portree for breakfast at the Granary to fuel us for the day of climbing ahead. Dave went for the full breakfast and I went for the smoked salmon, haggis and tattie scone stack. Other than his breakfast missing the black pudding and even when he said it was missing and still not getting a piece it was alright – nothing special but certainly filled us up.
First stop for the day was the Storr and the Old Man of Storr. Again, this is one of the images that come up when you google ‘Scotland’. It is a group of rock formations just North of Portree. The first part of the walk up the hill is all up a zig zag path that is now surrounded by what must have been a forestry commission area and has all been tore down reasonably recently. It looks a bit scrappy and sad to be honest and I can imagine that the walk up would have been lovely when all the trees were there just getting little peaks of the rocks every so often.
As we were walking up the sun kept half peaking out and the mist was rolling over the top of the hill, all very mystical and atmospheric. I really liked it. Once up to the old man we climbed up to the base and just took in the views across the island. Its pretty spectacular and even though the weather was not the best you could still see for miles. There is an option to walk right up behind the rock formations and walk along the ridge. We didn’t do this as the wind was wild and I wasn’t too keen as we only really had one full day on Skye and wanted to see some more of the island.
Once we got back to the car we carried on the road North to see where we would end up. As we were driving along there was a sign for the Mealt Falls and a view point. It was pretty cool so worth the couple of minute detour.
From there we continued North up the road until we reached a sign for the Quiraing which is another place Dave had read about so we turned up the little single track road and wound our way up to the car parking for the walk. You can do a loop walk around the Quiraing with an optional detour to go and see the table top (we didn’t actually see the table top as there are no signs along the walk ways and we though it would be pretty obvious but managed to miss it). We chose to walk along the lower path and then at the end of it we looped back on ourselves but over the ridge. Its quite gruelling on the legs so be prepared if you are going to do this too and hopefully you do spot the table top.
Once we had descented from the Quiraing we decided that was enough for the day and it was time to go and find somewhere to stay – this ended up being camping again at Sligachan as Skye was still fully booked and we couldn’t be bothered to drive around for ages and maybe not find anywhere. One bad thing I would say about Sligachan campsite is the ground is shit! We couldn’t get our pegs into the ground and ended up bending almost all of them. Best thing about it – pub across the road where we spent the evening again.
The start of the next day was certainly a little brighter than the day before.
Once we were up and showered and packed away we headed up to Dunvegan for breakfast, problem was it was still pretty early and there was nowhere open (seems that places don’t open until 10am on Skye – note for the future). We decided we would go and see Claigan beach and then go and find somewhere for breakfast.
Claigan beach from the photos I had seen on google is spectacular. You have to drive up a single track road for a couple of miles and then you will find a small car park. The sign at the car park said the beach was 1 mile walk away and it was raining again. We headed off along a beach track and at the end of it we found a rather disappointing beach as you can see from the pics below that did not match the photos we had seen. We did see a pretty mental face-huger looking bit of seaweed though.
I have since found out after our visit that the actual beach is over a little hill and dirt path (we were about 3 minutes away from it).
After the beach we headed South via Talisker factory for Dave to get a bottle of Skye Whiskey and then we were going to go to the fairy pool but when we got there the weather was pants and I really want to see them for the first time in the sunshine – I will be back.
And then it was time to make the drive back down the road to home and that was the end of our couple of nights camping in the beautiful Isle of Skye. Amazing time and we most definitely will be back – fingers crossed the next time will be better weather for us.
Just for giggles