When we awoke in our Inverness hotel, I was instantly hit with the excitement of our next destination, the Isle of Skye. After researching and planning for our three days of hills and lochs and fairy lore, the anticipation had us up, packed, and on the road bright and–okay, not so bright, really kind of gray, but still–early. Skye, here we come!
If you are in the Inverness area, it would be a shame to skip a visit to Urquhart Castle. With a turbulent history dating back to the 1200s, Urquhart was ultimately destroyed in the late 1600s. The ruins of the castle now offer a glimpse of the area’s history as well as sweeping views over Loch Ness. Tickets cost £9.00 for entry to the castle, or, if you are like us, you can enjoy the views from the car park for the bargain price of £0.00. Truth be told, if we were not on a fairly tight schedule to get to Skye, we probably would have paid the entry fees for a closer look, but as it was, our view was pretty darn good.
Urquhart to Skye
Driving along the A82 and the A87 is extremely picturesque. Peppered with rivers, lochs, and roaming livestock, the countryside is the perfect setting for staring out the window and appreciating nature. Incidentally, this is also the perfect place to shriek with delight and pull the car over for various animal sightings.
While the route from Urquhart Castle to Skye may be packed with natural beauty, it is certainly not equally endowed with places to stop, so when we happened upon the Glen Rowan Cafe on the A87, we happily pulled into the carpark and made our way in. Our plan was merely to use the restroom and get back on the road, but the lure of a warm room and fresh baked treats overwhelmed us, and our plan for immediate retreat was replaced with tea and cake. Because come on, it’s always a good time for cake! So, a slice of carrot cake and a bar of millionaire’s shortbread later, we were back on the road.
Continuing up the A87, the already scenic drive somehow became even more beautiful as the terrain became hillier and waterfalls began to crop up out of the hillsides.
Eilean Donan Castle
Before heading across the bridge into Skye, we wanted to stop and see the iconic Eilean Donan Castle. Eilean Donan has graced many a picture, postcard, and painting, always beneath a beautiful sky with its stately reflection floating upon the glassy waters of the loch. We were determined to photograph our own versions of this beautiful scene, but when we arrived, a sudden downpour had other plans for us. Phones and cameras tucked safely inside of our jackets, we braved the pelting rain to snap as many pictures as we could before running back to the shelter of our car. We may not have found the perfectly reflected castle shot we were looking for, but I’d say these gray and gloomy pictures will do just fine.
My Future Home
Another quick stop of the “Oh my gosh, it’s so preeeetttttyyyy, pull over NOW!” variety brought us to this beautiful loch-front property. While at the moment we were just seizing the chance to ogle some more of Scotland’s beauty, now I am thinking maybe we unwittingly stumbled upon my future home. Seriously, I need to find a way to live here. Can I buy it as a vacation home? Should I sneak in and become a full time squatter? Maybe the kind and generous owners are looking to adopt? Any suggestions?
Although I would gladly have enjoyed the views here for hours, Skye was beckoning us and we were eager to answer its call. So off we drove, beside the hills, around the lochs, and over the bridge to the Misty Isle.
Upon entering Skye, it seemed that the abundance of greenness, hills, and lochs became suddenly amplified. And although the gray and drizzly quality of the day persisted, the weather could not dampen the rugged beauty of Skye.
When we arrived at Sconser Lodge, our bed and breakfast for the next few days, we were absolutely enchanted by the lodge and its surroundings. This old MacDonald hunting lodge on the shore of Loch Sligachan could not have been a better place for us to stay. I am telling you now, if you ever have the opportunity to stay at Sconser Lodge, do it! From the location to the comfortable rooms and impeccable service, you will not be disappointed by a single aspect of your experience.
When we first arrived, it was low tide, and the beach stretched out far into the loch. Later in the evening, the tide came in and most of the beach had disappeared. You can see how most of the dock is underwater in the picture to the right.
Sconser Lodge was the perfect place to unwind. Guests are welcome to utilize the lounge throughout the day, and we made ourselves at home the moment we checked in. It seemed almost wrong to not spend every second sightseeing around the isle, but the warm and cozy lounge sucked us in. Cards, anyone?
We followed this up with dinner at the lodge and an evening walk. Watching the evening skies turning golden over the loch was the perfect way to end our first day in Skye. I have to say that our dinner at Sconser Lodge was probably my favorite meal in Scotland. Hats off to Craig and his kitchen wizardry.
Tips and Lessons Learned:
- Pad your road trip to Skye with plenty of extra time to stop and appreciate the sights along the way.
- There is a good stretch of bathroom-less road on the way from Inverness to Skye, so make sure to take care of business before getting on the road and take advantage of any stops you find along the way.
- If you are like me and feel like you have to go, go, go on vacation, don’t be afraid to slow down and soak in the ambiance. Spending the entire afternoon at the Sconser Lodge was not in my plans, but it was so completely worthwhile!
Day 2 of Skye ❤