Olivia Papp ’23
If you ever find yourself traveling in Scotland, the Isle of Skye is a must-see. Known for the scenic views, outstanding hikes, and great small towns, this place will leave you stunned every step of the way.
The first place you must visit on the Isle of Skye is the Quiraing. What is nice about the Quiraing is that it is an activity that can be as strenuous as you want. If you are an experienced hiker, then you could hike and explore for about five miles. If you are not an advanced hiker, then there is still scenery that can be explored throughout a mere few tenths of a mile. The rolling green untouched landscape makes for a spectacular hike. Massive cliffs along with huge rock formations appear at every winding turn of the path, leaving all hikers in complete awe every few seconds. This hike is located on the very northern tip of the Isle of Skye near the village Uig. The weather is extremely temperamental, so make sure to prepare accordingly and bring the hiking gear necessary for each possible situation. During my hiking experience, for example, the skies were a beautiful blue when I started. Within the hours I was hiking, however, I witnessed a few heavy rainstorms, snowstorms, hailstorms, and even walked beneath a rainbow for a while. There are two lakes, many mountains, and endless miles of blue ocean which can be viewed from the summit if the weather cooperates. Not only is this a tourist destination, but the Quiraing is also a gorgeous film set location. There have been a few movies that have been filmed at the Quiraing including Stardust (2007), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Macbeth (2015), and Transformers: The Last Knight (2017).
The second place that you must take a trip to on the Isle of Skye is the Fairy Pools, located on the west coast of the island in Carbost just beneath the Black Cuillins mountains. The Fairy Pools are a set of small waterfalls which stream into gleaming crystal clear blue pools on the River Brittle. The short one-and-a-half-mile hike runs right along the river, averaging about a forty-minute walk across the flat ground for the most part. With breathtaking views, the Fairy Pools is a great place to see, and, perhaps if you are feeling brave, a great place to go for a swim. According to legend, a local clan MacLeod chief decided to marry a fairy princess. As such, there are several places named after fairies on the Isle of Skye, including the Fairy Pools. In other old legends, mythological creatures would disguise themselves as seals during the day; at night, these supposed seals would change into humans and bathe in the Fairy Pools beneath the moonlight.
The final destination in the Isle of Skye that I would highly recommend visiting is Old Man Storr, which is part of the Trotternish ridge. This group of rocks stands at 164 feet tall, making it the highest mountain on the Trotternish ridge. The unique name of this mountain is derived from the face of an old man which can be seen on the large stone if you look closely enough. This is another hike that is a bit longer than the Quiraing—but the view is worth it. Once you arrive at the heart of the hike, you are surrounded by huge, beautiful sedimentary rock formations. These rocks are so large that they can be seen from miles away. The Storr was created by a substantial ancient landslide, which resulted in it becoming one of the most visited areas in the entire world.
All in all, the Isle of Skye is a beautiful place made to be explored. There is a certain beauty in this place given its remoteness. The uncivilized nature of this island makes the destination seem like a journey to the past. Hands down, this area of Scotland has been my favorite, and if you get a chance to visit this country, make sure to take a trip to the Isle of Skye.