- Isle of Skye

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Kilt Rock Waterfall
Kilt Rock Waterfall
Skye is the largest of the Inner Hebrides islands at 48 miles in length. Its width varies from 3 to 25 miles. Mountain, sea, and history combine to give the island a mythical image. Much of the land, still wild, is bare of human habitation. Many of the people speak Gaelic.

The bridge to Skye is located at Kyleakin, the former ferry port. A drive from here to Portree unfolds the splendid beauty of Skye's scenic wonders. Portree is the main centre on Skye and a good base for exploring the island. Begin an island visit with the Aros Experience where AV presentations and information boards tell of the history and way of life of the people and the Gaelic language.

Traveling north up the coast road on the Trotternish peninsula brings into view an area where mountain slippage holds sway. The 20-mile drive is replete with seascapes and unusual rock formations such as the Storr with its basaltic rock columns and towers. Piles of boulders, scree, and pinnacles dominate the landscape.

Portree View
Portree View
The escarpment known as the Storr is 2363 feet high; the Old Man of Storr is an 160-foot high pillar of note. Further along the road is another similar area known as the Quiraing where the land features are called the Table, the Prison, and the Needle. Everywhere arresting seascapes are on view.

Skye Museum of Island Life
Skye Museum of Island Life
At Kilmuir, the Skye Museum of Island Life exhibits many photographs and documents, and visitors can see an authentic late 19th century crofter house, a weaver's house, a smithy, and a ceilidh house. A Celtic cross monument to Flora MacDonald sits in the churchyard. Her role in spiriting Prince Charles Edward Stuart's escape to Skye is an oft-told tale. It is the theme of the song, 'Over the Sea to Skye'.

Dunvegan Castle
Dunvegan Castle
On the northwest coast of Skye, Castle Dunvegan, beside the loch of the same name, has served as the home of the chiefs of the Macleods for 800 years. Alterations were made in mid 19th century. Flora MacDonald lived here at one time. Here is the Fairy Flag, reputed to have magical powers. The legend of the flag is that a MacLeod married a fairy, and, when she returned to her people, she left behind the flag to protect the family from harm. Clan mementos, ancestral portraits, and a dungeon complete the picture.

In the southwest, Skye's Cuillin hills are its defining feature. More than 20 peaks reach 3000 feet in height. The Black Cullins are horseshoe shaped; the Red Cullins are named from the pink granite of their stone. They are popular with climbers and hillwalkers who enjoy the challenge of the steep ravines, scree slopes, and gullies. Further south at Torrin, climbers are enticed by the 3044-foot mountain known as Bla Bheinn.

At Armadale near the southern tip of Skye, in the Castle Gardens is the Clan Donald Centre. The Museum of the Isles contains an exhibition on the Lords of the Isles and the Gaelic culture. Woodland walks and nature trails are an added attraction.

Destination guide and photographs by kind permission of Barbara Ballard of Destinations-UK

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