If standing at Neist Point in Scotland’s Isle of Skye, facing the emerald Atlantic Ocean, the Adele song “This is the End” for the Bond film Skyfall plays on your mind, do not be surprised.
“...for this is the end”, it might seem to you in this dramatic landscape of Isle of Skye where the world seemed to have ended before the deep blue North Sea.
That Scottish highlands are panoramic is known to all, but if you are making a trip there, a three-day trip to the Isle of Skye is certainly going to be your icing on the cake.
Skye is a magical island and the largest of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, now connected to the mainland with a bridge. Meaning ‘cloud island’, Isle of Skye is 50-mile-long tapestry of jagged, craggy mountains, moors, lakes (lochs) and scary sea cliffs that offer views like the one at Neist Point. The population of the island is around 10,000.
The capital or the major town here is Portree, which is also a bustling port. Villages in the north of the Island include Dunvegan, Edinbane, Uig and Staffin, all of which offer some spectacular landscapes spiced up by the sighting of dinosaur fossils or dramatic history about clan warfare, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite uprisings.
While you should be staying at Portree, reaching there by evening from Edinburgh, set out early in the morning for exploring places like Neist Point and Quiraing.
Your first stop should be the Neist Point. Only here in Scotland can you find a stunning view of a high cliff overlooking the emerald blue sea.
The steep steps of concrete leads to a lighthouse built in 1909. Neist Point is famous for its rock formations offering the dramatic landscape. As you start walking, Neist Point’s sweeping beauty unravels before your eyes. So walk up to the lighthouse or stand before the sea cliff to breathe deeply.
And between Neist Point and the Quiraing mountains, a must visit is Ferie Glen, which is a miniature landscape of grassy, cone-shaped natural mounds. Ferie Glen or the Fairy Glen is a beautiful halt for grassy walk, with a fairy story from one of the many Scottish fairy folklores and a huge rock that looks like a castle, said to be the abode of fairies.
Next on your list should be the Quiraing, which is a part of the panoramic Trotternish ridge. This place is famous for hiking and walk.
This Trotternish Ridge escarpment has been formed by a massive landslip, which has created high cliffs, hidden plateaus and rock pinnacles. The Quiraing walk is a loop, returning you to the same point (the carpark). It covers 6.8 km. The Quiraing is situated in the north of Skye and as you look down from the cliff top you are treated to a panoramic view of the ‘Table’, a flat glassy plateau surrounded by rock formations and sea cliffs.
Next you can head for Staffin, a place set beneath the wonderful Trottenish Ridge. If you are staying there, you can explore perhaps the spotty houses, the beach and amazing geology. If you are halting here as part of sightseeing, what you see from a top viewpoint are the cliffs and waterfalls along the coast.
The famous Kilt Rock is a sea cliff in north east Trotternish where you can also see the Mealt Falls, a spectacular waterfall.
And yes, dinosaur footprints found here made Staffin so famous. With the rugged but beautiful scenery, the place boasts amazing views and the Hebridean Minch cuts through the Highland retreat close to Staffin Bay.
On the day you return, you will be passing through Cuillin Hills back to the mainland. On way back to Edinburgh, you certainly will enjoy the halts at the points like Loch Duich, Eilean Donan castle (most photographed in Scotland and a Bollywood favourite) and then Loch Ness, famous for the “unseen” Loch Ness Monster called “Nessie”.
HOW TO GO
You can fly directly from India to Edinburgh or to London and then take a train to Edinburgh. Take the Isle of Sky tour from Edinburgh. The Scottish Tourism Board recommends Rabbie’s small group personalised tours in mini-buses.
WHERE TO STAY
There are several good hotels in Portree, but go for home stays (can be through Rabbie’s or other operator) if you want to enjoy some warmth of your host who can make you a good Scottish breakfast in the morning.
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