Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Scotland by Rail Part 4 - The Isle of Skye is Enchanting

Scotland by rail part 4, the isle of skye is enchanting, mandy charlton photographer, writer, blogger, solo travel in the Uk


The Isle of Skye is enchanting, it's the kind of place where you cry tears of happiness because you can't believe the beauty right in front of your eyes (or was that just me?). It's the kind of place that creatives yearn for and troubled souls crave to calm their anxious minds.  Skye in parts is so unbelievably beautiful that you never want to leave.

Book an organised tour

I went to the Isle of Skye on an organised tour with Wow Scotland, when you are travelling alone I find one thing which helps massively is to plan things, often if you want to remote places where there's not a regular bus service organised small tours are the best way to make sure you see as much as you can pack into one day.  Of course, it can be a little restrictive as you're subject to someone else's agenda but I'd much rather do that than risking not seeing somewhere at all and to be honest, on small tours, I find that the guides always know the best places and often they go to special photo points that the average tourist might not be aware of.

Getting to the Isle of Skye from Inverness and back is a full 12 hour day trip but the journey from the east of the Highlands through to the west and onto the Island is spectacular, you feel so tiny amongst the great Munro's and mountain ranges, there simply is no landscape the same as the highlands, yes it's got similarities to the Lake District but there's just something extra special about the Scottish Highlands.

Scotland by rail part 4, the isle of skye is enchanting, mandy charlton photographer, writer, blogger, solo travel in the Uk


Pack those snacks

Now what I will say is that the day was long, our one and only stop long enough to grab food was at 11.15 in the pretty village of  Portree with it's iconic painted houses in the harbour.  We didn't get back to Inverness until after 8pm so pack those snacks, I had an anxiety attack in the afternoon and I think it was to do with my eating, I ate way too much sugar in the morning and then when my blood sugar plummeted I ended up with shaky legs having an anxiety attack and not being able to walk all of the way to the fairy pools,  it was a fair distance and my catastrophising mind told me that I would get lost, have an accident or just not make it but I still had a lovely time and sat in one of the most beautiful places on the whole of the Isle of Skye for a while.
Scotland by rail part 4, the isle of skye is enchanting, mandy charlton photographer, writer, blogger, solo travel in the Uk


Isle of Skye tour highlights

There's honestly so much to see and do on the Isle of Skye that you could spend a week exploring, for instance, one of the Isle of Skye tour highlights was a stop to see the Old Man of Storr, now if I had been visiting and not on an organised tour I would have wanted to go there and get close up as there is a trail and it's such a spectacular rock formation, I reckon if you could get up close in the golden hour the photos would never disappoint. I also loved the Fairy Pools and would like to go back and see them up close when I'm less anxious.  Portree enchanted me with it's painted houses which are iconic and seen on so many calendars of Scotland, you never know, I might do my own calendar of pretty places I've visited over the last few months, there have been many.
Scotland by rail part 4, the isle of skye is enchanting, mandy charlton photographer, writer, blogger, solo travel in the Uk


Inspired by the Quiraing

The Quiraing is a landslip on the Meall na Suiramach, the northernmost summit of the Trotternish Peninsula of the Isle of Skye.  Rob, our tour guide said that no matter how often he went up there it never looked exactly the same because the light was constantly changing.  We were actually so lucky when we were there as the skies were clear above and you could see for miles.  The Isle of Skye is known for its mists which roll in and out so if you go, just be aware that you might not be able to see quite so far as I did. 
Scotland by rail part 4, the isle of skye is enchanting, mandy charlton photographer, writer, blogger, solo travel in the Uk


Eilean Donan Castle

The absolute highlight of my day wasn't even on the Isle of Skye though, Eilean Donan Castle has been on my wishlist since 1986 when I first watched Highlander, yes Christopher Lamberts Scottish accent was deplorable but to me, it's still one of the greatest movies of all time... 

"I am Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. I was born in 1518 in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel. And I am immortal". Which by the way is quite similar to "I'm the Doctor. I'm a Time Lord. I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I'm 903 years old and I'm the man who is gonna save your lives and all 6 billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?"  Clearly, I like an epic immortal Scotsman but you knew that already didn't you dear reader?

Suffice to say Eilean Donan Castle lived up to everything I'd imagined and the only thing that would have made it better is if I could have gone inside but it was right at the end of the tour and the castle was closed, still, it's a good excuse to come back and it did mean that the light was soft and beautiful, this photo is definitely going on my wall.

After Eilean Donan castle we also stopped off quickly at Urquart Castle but honestly, it just paled into comparison for me, I'd already peaked at the Kyle of Lochalsh with Eilean Donan.

More tours of the Highlands

I've since booked another couple of tours for the rest of my trip, both are with Rabbies , tomorrow I'm going on a tour to Glen Affric, Culloden and Clava Cairns and on Tuesday I'm going on the Cairngorms national park and Speyside whisky tour and you can be sure I'll report back to tell you what they're like

How much do tours of the Highlands and Islands cost?

I actually think tours are always reasonable because you get to see so much over the course of the day, The Ultimate the Isle of Skye day tour cost £74, the others were between £30 - £40 and I literally booked those on a whim this evening as today I walked over 20km and went on a trip to see the Moray Firth dolphins with Dolphin Spirit which cost me £19.50 and I didn't see one dolphin, I did see the heads of about 3 seals but I guess you take your chances with wildlife cruises and it was still a lovely boat trip.

Whatever happens over the next couple of days you can bet that I'm going to be shattered when I go home on Wednesday, I always go home from trips more tired than when I got there but is it even worth travelling if you're not going to squeeze every last inch out of them?

Ways to support my writing


If you have enjoyed this article or found it useful and would like to support my writing I'd love a virtual coffee
I also have a lovely Facebook group I'd love you to come and join 
You could also come and follow me on Instagram to keep up with my adventures, I really am grateful for all
of your love and support.
Oh and of course, you could just treat yourself to something lovely from Philomena's Boutique, my gift boutique
which is diverse, sustainable and totally lush!

Share:

1 comment

Porsha B. Sutton said...

Looking so natural the sky enhancing . I have seen the full post totally its so excellent. Thank you .

© Mandy Charlton - Photographer, Writer, Blogger | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig