After a long morning of exploring some of Skye’s most beautiful landmarks (The Storr, Kilt Rock, and the Quiraing), we were ready to head back to our little home base in Sconser. But first, we had a few more stops to make along the way.
Skye Brewing Company
Our first stop was the Isle of Skye Brewing Company, just 25 minutes from the Quiraing. There was no tasting room, but they did have a nice gift shop where one can pick up ales, merchandise, and, most importantly, sustenance in the form of coffee, tea, and snacks. From here, we were all set to make our way to the Fairy Glen.
Not far from the brewing company is the Fairy Glen, a lovely little glen filled with green hills and rock formations. While this excursion was high on my list of places to visit, I clearly did not do my homework in mapping out the route. So after missing the small (unmarked) road and driving well past the turnoff, we asked for directions and eventually found our way. Once we parked, there was still a bit of guesswork in finding the glen, but some wandering landed us in the beautiful, green Fairy Glen.
If you don’t mind a little climb and a slightly tight squeeze, you should check out the views from Castle Ewan, which somewhat resembles castle ruins but is actually just a rock formation. From the top, we had excellent views over the Fairy Glen and the surrounding farmland.
Red Brick Cafe
Once we had our fill of the lovely Fairy Glen (as if that’s even possible–more like once the discontented grumbling of our hungry bellies became too loud to ignore), we jumped back in the car and drove down toward the Portree Harbour. As it was well past the lunch hour, we decided on a quick bite somewhere along the way. Trip Advisor recommended the Red Brick Cafe for a fast, inexpensive lunch, so we entered the address into the GPS and soon found ourselves at… a hardware store. What?! Yes, it turned out The Red Brick Cafe is actually a small restaurant tucked away in the back corner of home improvement store. This was not what we expected, but we were committed at this point, so we headed down the hardware aisle, turned past the bathroom and home section, and into the cafe where we had a surprisingly good meal.
Our final stop before heading home was the Portree Harbour. At this point, the fair weather had given way to a good rain, and walking around getting drenched did not seem very appealing. Nevertheless, we were eager to catch a glimpse of the brightly colored shops and restaurants that line the harbor, so with rain jackets zipped up and umbrellas opened, we braved a stroll around the harbor.
After a while, the rain cleared long enough for us to pull out our cameras and take a few pictures. I love the congregation of seagulls who settled in after the rain.
When the rain picked up again, we ducked into a little shop on Quay Street called Home in the Highlands. While our husbands assumed we were just seeking refuge from the downpour, this little boutique actually turned out to be the perfect place to indulge in some souvenir shopping. If you happen to visit the Portree Harbour, do make sure to pop in and take a look around, as there is surely a tartan throw or a jar of heather honey with your name on it.
Dinner at the Sligachan Hotel
Once we made it home, we had just enough time to drop off our bags, clean up, and head back out for dinner. Of course there is always time to stop and admire a rainbow that stretches across the sky after a rain.
Our dinner plans were at Seumas’s Bar, just a few minutes down the road at the Sligachan Hotel. As the World Cup was on, we made sure to arrive early enough to snag a table with a good view of the game. Sure enough, the bar quickly filled with a lively group of soccer fans, so we were glad to have arrived before the crowds.
Seumas’s has good food and efficient service. Seumas’s is also just across the street from the Old Sligachan Bridge, which we had visited under a gray sky the day before. Stepping out from the bar, I noticed that the bridge had taken on a new character with some blue sky overhead. So of course I snuck off to walk along the bank and take some pictures.
My little detour to the bridge also found me outside at the perfect time to watch a group of fluffy sheep crossing the street. I know this is an everyday occurrence on Skye, and most people might disagree with the idea that jaywalking sheep trump the World Cup, but seriously, do you see how cute they are?
Tips and Lessons Learned:
- If you like a store or restaurant that you visit when traveling, be sure to pick up a business card or two. I love to tell people about places to visit, but nine times out of ten, my memory fails and I forget the name or location of the place. Case in point: I had completely forgotten the name of Home in the Highlands until I dug into my folder of Scotland memorabilia and found the business card.Memory: 0 Business Card: 1
- Getting to the Fairy Glen can be a bit confusing. While Google Maps is usually my friend, its directions were vague and not exactly helpful. Atlas Obscura gives decent directions: if you are heading north on the A87, turn right on the small road just before the Uig Hotel. And if you still find yourself getting lost, don’t be afraid to ask for directions–locals will gladly point you in the right direction.
- If you are heading to the Fairy Glen, consider packing a lunch. A picnic lunch would be perfect in the picturesque and peaceful glen.
From Skye to Glenfinnan