Skye is so accessible from Plockton and out of the summer season so much easier to get around. The early Autumn light also shows the mountains and lochs in a slightly different and enchanting way. It is not by mistake its called The Misty Island!
A late departure from Plockton, after a lovely evening spent with friends from the village, we headed over the “bridge” heading for the north of Skye. A quick stop for lunch in Portree (Central Restaurant, simple but good food and great for the kids) and then off along the Staffin road to the Old Man of Storr. The path is steep but with a good surface but be careful during or after heavy rain as it will be slippy. The views are very spectacular and looking east over Rona and Raasay to Applecross simply sublime. From Storr further north to Staffin we did not stop to hunt for the dinosaur footprints on the beech because the tide was in and I’m told you need to get some local knowledge to find them. Next time. From Staffin you can either keep going round the coast or hang a right and take the narrow alpine pass like road over to Uig. Again amazing views in every direction as you climb over the Trotternish ridge just to the south of the famous Quirang and then slowly descend to the west arriving in Uig. A quick coffee stop here but do make the time to stop and visit the Isle of Skye Brewery. I highly recommend Skye Red but it would be churlish not to sample more than one of their lovely creations. Heading south with bright and clear views across Loch Snizort, is this really October?, back down the road past Portree and eventually stopping at the Sligachan Hotel. The hotel sits at the head of the sea loch it was named after and is dwarfed by the mountains around it. Apart from more refreshments the huge adventure playground allowed James and Sarah to let off steam after quite along time in the car. The drive round along the east side of the Cuillin is always breathtaking and before you know it its back over the bridge and home to Plockton.
Don’t try to rush Skye, you would be missing the point. It will take you longer to get about than you think. The roads are good but they do involve a lot of single track roads as soon as you stray away for the main north-south route. They are also mountain roads, even though not very high, so surface water, mist and wind are more common than uncommon. There are a lot, and I mean a lot, of visitors who don’t know the road and are also amazed/distracted by the views too. Be patient and give cyclist’s plenty room, look out for deer at night and please let the Islanders get by and on with their day to day to business. They do know the roads like the back of their hand so give them room to overtake. But its so worth the effort to visit.
Simon, October 2016