I have many good memories of Isle of Skye - the second largest island of Scotland where I spent two nights at the Portree Hotel in Portree city which is the island's capital. We departed from Edinburgh by a rented car in the early morning and drove for more than 6 hours.
During the journey, when we approached the island's territory, the expressway turned into a road with nature on both sides.
On the way, we stopped our car at the Eilean Donan Castle. Legend says that the castle is an inspiration for Princess Merida's castle in the Disney animation "Brave".
This castle is located on the west of Highlands, Scotland. It is a small castle on a small island where three lakes meet. There is a large stone bridge connecting the castle and the lake's bank. The most prominent point of the Eilean Donan Castle is the castle's location and atmosphere around it. The castle is very beautiful and has a calming atmosphere. The ancient and beautiful castle was built in the thirteenth century and was used as a fort in the war. So, we had the opportunity to have breakfast here...
The atmosphere around the castle.. if you want to visit inside the castle you have to pay an admission fee. However, we didn't enter the castle as the outside was beautiful enough to look at.
The entry to the castle where you have to pay the admission fee:
When we got there, a young man filled the atmosphere with a true Scotland air by playing the Scottish bagpipes.
Another photo taking spot is the bridge that connects the Scotland mainland with the Isle of Skye.
The bridge is almost two hundred years old and was built in 1820. The bridge crosses over the Sligachan river and connects Portree city with Bradford. Under the bridge, there are three arches. There is also a new bridge nearby which was built in 1930. It is said that if you dip your head into the water for 7 seconds, your face will be forever young.
This man is showing us how to make our face look forever young..
It is noon so we went to eat seafood at a restaurant named 'The Oyster Shed'.
Along the way, the view was so pretty.
The Oyster Shed - You can eat in or take away as they offer paper plates. The shop is open from 11 AM - 17.30 AM.
The atmosphere inside the shop;
After ordering here, you have to get your order the at white car outside.
You can sit or stand while eating. Tissue paper and a place to wash your hands with soap are offered in this area.
There are all kinds of dishes offered: shrimp, mussels,oysters, crabs and fishes. We planned to have some lobster but sadly, the shop had run out of them and will stay that way for five weeks... So we ordered a mixed platter as listed below which costed 20 pounds.
For us Thais, spicing up with squeezed lemon juice won't be enough. So we brought this bottle;
(Spicy Thai seafood sauce)
To sum up; The meal was delicious. What I really loved was the scallops which were very large and sweet. However, the others weren't that special. Ayutthaya prawns and mussels in Thailand are way better in my opinion. (Sadly, we didn't get to try the lobster).
After we had our meal, we continued on with our trip for fear that we would waste time. We went to the Fairy Pools. We parked our car in the parking lot and walked for 15 minutes. The view was amazing and grand.
From the parking lot, we could see that the way in (that we have to walk) is so far. But the view was amazing so we continued on.
In the middle of the Scotland mountains in the Glen Brittle valley which is a large valley in the South of the Isle of Skye (the largest island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago which is an off coast archipelago on the west side of Scotland). The Fairy Pools allow tourists to play in the natural pool. However, you have to follow the rules to "be responsible to nature" too. If you put on sunscreen or any kind of cream, you should wash them off as well as you can so that the water won't be tainted with unwanted chemicals. If you have to use the toilet while in the water, you have to hurry up and use the toilet 100 meters away from the pool and keep the area clean.
We walked on the path in front of us surrounded by mountains. For me, it was amazing- the weather was nice and there are both young and old tourists alike on the path. Nothing beats going on a trip in nature!
On the way in, there is a small stream that flows from the Fairy Pools.
When you walk further in, the stream will get bigger, wider and steeper. The water will fall from higher cliffs and the water will be very clear. If the weather weren't so cold, I would have seen tourists playing in the stream.
End of mission: Fairy Pools - I couldn't find any fairies, but I loved the raw nature. Because I live in the city, I like to find raw places like this. For those who like to exercise and take in the natural view, I recommend this place. Especially in the period when the grass is green. It should be amazing.
At the end of the day, we decided to rest at the Portree Hotel in Portree city. We drove into the city and parked in the free parking lot.
<p style="text-align: center;"><strong> Portree city </strong></p>
Even the view in the car park was amazing. Just looking at it makes me happy.
From the parking lot, we just had to take the stairs up to the Portree Hotel as seen in the photo.
Let's rest today and start again tomorrow!
We woke up to a new day on this paradisiac island. We woke up very early to look at the sunrise at Quiraing.
On the way, we passed the Loch Leathan lake and the soft light of a coming sunrise and the dark shadows of the Old Man of Storr. It was so beautiful that I had to take a photo.
We hurried to the Quiraing. It is not difficult to get here. You just need to park you car and walk for a bit to see the beautiful view.
When the light comes, you can see the lines of the surrounding mountains and the tourists who camp without fear of the cold. When the daylight has gotten brighter, I took a photo of the parking lot for those who worry and wonder about the parking.
We went back to have breakfast at the hotel, but on the way we decided to stop at the Kilt Rock Waterfall. However, when I took the car into the parking lot, I found out that we couldn't walk in to visit because the door was locked. Maybe it was too early in the morning. At least, I got to take some photos of the view.
Loch Leathan Lake in the morning.
We arrived in Skye and they said that we have to look at the mountain cows. Their fur is so long. Maybe it's to protect them from the cold? But how can they see where they are going with their eyes closed?
According to the original plan, we would go up the signature mountain called the Old Man of Storr. However, it would take a whole day so we chose not to go with this plan. So we just looked at it from far away. 'The Storr' or in Gaelic 'An Stor' is a long range of rocks high up the ground. The most famous rock is called 'The Old Man of Storr'. It is said that the rock resembles an old man.
The next destination is the Dunvegan castle and a boat tour around the castle. We drove to the castle and parked in front (free parking). It is so nice to park for free and the nature is superb.
Next, we bought our tickets. Our main goal is to see the seals. We had to buy tickets for the castle as well. The castle depends on the kind of visit you want to have. You can visit only the garden or both the garden and the castle inside. You can use the ticket to get a discount for a boat tour to see the seals. So we bought the garden-only ticket to get a discount for the boat tour. So you have to buy the tickets here then get the boat tour tickets inside.
It costs 12 pounds for the garden-only visit.
In the Highlands area, there are many castles which are more than hundreds of years old. Many of them are considered as 'Scottish Heritage' which is an association of the government that takes care of these castles. While many of them are private castles (they have owners) that are inherited from the past. The Dunvegan castle is one of the private castles in the far North of the West side of the Isle of Skye.
It is time to walk to the port to get on the boat to see the seals. The boat fee costs 7.50 pounds. The boat tours are held in rounds (6 passengers per boat). The staff will arrange the schedule and inform you about which round you have to go on.
After being informed of the tour round, you have to wait for a while so we had time to look around the pier.
When it is time to start the tour, we put on the life vests and listened to the staff's advice. Then, we got on the boat. The boat captain will arrange the seats for you so that the boat will be balanced and safe.
Around the Dunvegan castle, there is a colony of seals (around 300 of them). If you go on the boat tour, it only takes 5 minutes to see the seals. The boat that we went on was a small boat with a motor and can carry no more than 8 people. You can see the seals closely without startling them. The seals were around 5-6 meters away from the boat. The seals sleep on the rocks all year long even in the summer as the water temperature is always under 10 degrees.
If you look behind the boat, you can see the castle as you can see in this photo:
hahaha... from a far distance, I could see the seals sleep together as a group. They were so cute!
The boat went near the seals slowly and quietly. The captain warned us to be quiet so as not to startle them. The seals were cute and the view on both sides were beautiful.
When I looked up the sky, I saw a large eagle flying around. Ah.. the beauty of nature. The boat tour took around 20 minutes.
The next destination is the Neist Point Lighthouse - a lighthouse on the on the far west of the island. They say that the sunset here is very beautiful but we didn't stay late enough to see it. I hope that the photo I took can replace that.
We finally arrived! We found a place to park and walked in by foot. Everything was amazing! The parking (by the road) is also free. The path is along metal fence in the photo.
See that path? You have to go to the end of it.
We went back to the hotel with our hearts full.
For us, this trip on the island was amazing. The nature was beautiful and wonderful. If you like to travel in nature like us, we recommend this destination. However, we advise you to rent a car and drive around as it might be more convenient and saves you money because you don't have to pay the parking fee or admission fee in many places as they are mostly free. Also, the best and most appropriate duration to visit this place is at least 2 nights and 3 days so you will not be in too much of a hurry.
I hope that this destination will be a choice for many of you.
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