Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye View slideshowThe largest of the inner isles, Skye, was known to the Vikings as "Sküyo" ("cloud island"), while in Gaelic it became known as "Eilean Sgiathanach" ("winged island") because of the irregular coastline. Thanks to the prevailing weather conditions it was also termed "Eilean a Cheo" ("misty island"). The attractions of Skye are its unspoiled natural environment, the wild, romantic mountain scenery and the green valleys, caves and attractive glens, magnificent waterfalls and sandy beaches. It measures about 50mi/80km in length and between 4 and 15mi/6.4-40km in width with many inlets reaching deep inland. To the south of the island lie the remains of primeval oak forests interspersed with birch, mountain ash, holly and hazel.The wildlife includes otters, seals, salmon and trout and well over 200 different species of birds such as red-throated divers, corncrake, solan geese and a few pairs of golden eagles.
Kyleakin - Castle Moil
Kyle House is by Loch Alsh. The splendid garden was laid out about 30 years ago by Colin Mackenzie.
Armadale - Castle & Clan Donald Centre
Armadale at the south end of Skye is often a starting point for touring the island as ferries arrive here from the mainland port of Mallaig, but it can also be reached via the A851 from Broadford. The castle that was built between 1815 and 1819 by Gillespie Graham and the Clan Donald Centre are well worth a visit. A museum illustrates thrilling tales of the "Lords of the Isles" who during the 15th century dominated the region between the Outer Hebrides, the northern coast of Antrim in what is now Northern Ireland and Easter Ross. An attractive garden is laid out in the castle grounds.
Broadford (pop. 1,250) 8mi/12.8km to the west of Kyleakin is the second-largest settlement on the Isle of Skye and a good base for tours.
One of the most interesting excursions from Broadford starts with a visit to Loch Scavaig (15mi/24km) which affords a splendid view of the Blaven (3042ft/927m) followed by Loch Slapin and finally Elgol, a tiny village with a steep descent to the coast. The breathtaking view from Elgol encompasses numerous offshore islands. "Bonnie Prince Charlie" is said to have hidden from the English in one of the nearby caves.
Sgurr nan Gillean (Glen Brittle)
Old Crofter's House
The A850 from Broadford to Portree passes the Old Skye Crofter's House. This dwelling offers an insight into the arduous life of Skye's peasant farmers at the beginning of the 20th century.The Old Crofter's House is a traditional Skye thatched house situated in the crofting township of Bornesketaig, at the north end of Skye.
The Portree Heritage Centre in Viewfield Road documents life on the island of Skye from 1700 to the present day.
Old Man of Storr
Museum of Island Life
The A855 cuts off the northern tip of the Trotternish Peninsula before reaching the seven cottages which make up the Skye Museum of Island Life. The thatched huts give an insight into the rural life of crofters in the mid-19th century.
Kilmuir - Flora MacDonald's Tomb
The Hebridean heroine Flora MacDonald is buried in Kilmuir cemetery.
Before returning to Portree stop off in Uig, departure point for the ferries to Lewis and North Uist.
Colbost - Folk Museum
About 3mi/4.8km to the west of Dunvegan on the Duirinish Peninsula the harsh deprivations of rural Skye in the mid-19th century are brought to life in the straw-roofed Black House of Colbost.
The first school for pipers is said to have been founded ca. 1500 by the MacCrimmons, the legendary pipers for the MacLeod clan in Boreraig, and to have survived until 1800. Opposite the ruins of the old piping school, the Skye Piping Centre traces the history of the bagpipe and the traditions of the old clans right up to the present day.
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