FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Skye High Adventure

by Ilona Kauremszky

Sep 1, 2018
Destinations / Europe

DON’T LET THE WEATHER FOOL YOU — Skye can be “a wee bit moist” on occasion, as 19th-century Cuillin mountaineer pioneer Charles Pilkington once said, describing Scotland’s island of adventure.

The largest island of the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye conjures images of King Arthur, fairy glens mixed with primeval myths, and Jurassic parks. The windswept island setting has been a popular filming location, most recently in last year’s release of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The other big news: The world’s largest dinosaur and the oldest dinosaur fossils ever found in Scotland were discovered earlier this year at Rubha nam Brathairean, commonly known as Brothers’ Point.

Nearly 50 miles long with a rugged coastline so deeply indented you are never more than five miles from the sea, this magical place of the Hebrides lets you easily create your own legends. Submerged in mountain ranges with miles of dramatic coastline, a jaw-dropping, page-turning history unfolds by land and sea. The place awaits those ready to wrap themselves in Hebridean adventure.

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle © THOMAS LUKASSEK | DREAMSTIME.COM

Start at the Eilean Donan Castle. Located in the Scottish Highlands on the main tourist route to the Isle of Skye, families and couples can discover a riveting Viking history at this 13th-century castle. The other big deal is the location. Situated on a wee isle at the confluence of three great lochs, it presents one of the most iconic images of Scotland, so get your smartphone ready to snap Instagram shots. The scene from this vantage point sets the mood for tall tales and strong gales.

Once in Skye, in between the heritage sites visit geological features that dot the landscape. Road trippers snake along the Trotternish Circuit, a 50-mile drive spanning the northernmost peninsula. Weekenders inch the circuitous drive, stopping at iconic landmarks like the weathered basaltic pinnacle at Storr, with a popular landmark once used by sailors dubbed The Old Man of Storr. Marvel at the perilous Cuillin Ridge along the haunted Cuillin Hills (an outlaw named MacRaing is a ghost here) and be sure to see the heavenly swath of beauty known as Quiraing.

Named from an Old Norse term, Kvi Rand, meaning “Round Fold,” within this massive landslip teetering on the Trotterernish Ridge is the film location of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Quiraing also doubles as an Earth trekker’s dream. It features one of Skye’s best-loved trails, where healthy hikers veer onto an often muddy wild path for eye-candy scenery.

Isle of Skye harbor

Isle of Skye harbor © VISITSCOTLAND

For Jess Ponting, director, Center for Surf Research, San Diego State University, family trips to the Isle of Skye include visits to Quiraing. “With miles of green hills and an array of little ponds, traveling here feels pretty otherworldly,” he says, recommending travelers get an early start when visiting to make sure they get in before the crowds.

For mellowing out and catching up with the locals, nothing matches visiting a cozy Scottish pub. One is the local watering hole at The Edinbane Inn in the island’s largest town of Portree. Diners slide into worn wooden seats to savor the tastes of cullen skink, a creamy fish stew, or another favorite dish of mussels accompanied by the prerequisite malt whiskey. Traditional Celtic folk tunes fill the rafters, ranging from musical medleys doled out by a moody bagpiper and guitarist to cheerful notes from a fiddler.

The ultimate watering hole — though technically it doesn’t achieve pub status — is the Talisker Distillery. Set on the shores of Loch Harport in the village of Carbost, couples and old friends can tour the island’s only single malt whisky distillery, where luxury malts reign. In a post-tour finale, prepare for mindbending whiskey tastings of silky-smooth single malts aptly named with local twists like Talisker Storm or Talisker Neist Point, named after a headland on the westernmost shore.

River Sligachan and Old Sligachan Bridge © VISITSCOTLAND

River Sligachan and Old Sligachan Bridge © VISITSCOTLAND

Kara Harms of Whimsy Soul, a lifestyle blog, honeymooned on the Isle of Skye last fall. “I fell in love with the isle,” she says, recounting a memorable walk the newlyweds took among the Fairy Pools, magical blue pools on the River Brittle, located near Glenbrittle. “Sheep will most likely be sleeping at the entrance to the path to add to that Scottish charm,” she adds. She recommends taking a thermos of coffee for the perfect leisurely morning stroll.

For the ultimate sunsets sure to please anyone, head to Neist Point. Drive up to the famous lighthouse teetering on the most westerly tip of Skye. Handholding couples embrace, illuminated by the golden-hued backdrop as families pile out of their vehicles, rushing off to snap that perfect family photo against the immense horizon, smiling the entire way.

Isle of Skye Info to Go

Car rentals prove the best way to travel across the island, allowing more time for leisurely visits and self-drives. Book a car from one of the rental companies located at either the international airport in Glasgow (GLA) or the nearest local airport in Inverness (INV). Expect a five- to six-hour drive from Glasgow to Portree in Skye. Fort William, a small town midway with shops and good places to eat, offers a convenient pit stop. From Inverness, the drive to Portree takes about three hours. Driving is on the left side of the road; be prepared for narrow, rural, single-track, back-country routes.

Where to Stay in the Isle of Skye

THE CUILLIN HILLS HOTEL A former Victorian shooting lodge, this charming Scottish accommodation overlooks picture-pretty Portree Bay on private grounds where luxury and seclusion fit seamlessly, like hand in glove. Portree $$$$

FLODIGARRY COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL Overnight at the turn-of-the-century former hunting lodge, once the cottage home of Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald, and sense the luxury and old-world elegance of Highland hospitality. Flodigarry $$$$

MARMALADE Travel back in time at this classic Georgian hideaway, where the zest for life pulses at the heart of the boutique property’s philosophy. The hotel is named after the marmalade once made at this private residence of the treasurer of Lord MacDonald of Sleat. Home Farm Road, Portree $$$$

Restaurants in the Isle of Skye

LOCH BAY RESTAURANT Michelin-starred after being open just 18 months, this restaurant fuses contemporary Scottish fare with classic French influences. Helmed by the acclaimed chef who put Three Chimneys on the culinary map, Loch Bay offers diners five-course degustation and set three-course menus. 1-2 Macleod Terrace, Stein $$$$

SCORRYBREAC RESTAURANT Simple, elegant, cozy and intimate define this little unassuming gem open for dinner only. Nestled between distant mountains and the harbor below, this Michelin-starred restaurant offers creative modern cooking. Reservations are essential. 7 Bosville Terrace, Portree $$$

THE THREE CHIMNEYS This longtime destination restaurant serves the best of Skye through its seasonal, freshly sourced ingredients. Voted this year’s U.K. Restaurant of the Year and winning three AA Rosettes, it’s held top U.K. dining honors for 18 years. Colbost, Dunvegan $$$$

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Daily
Jun 4, 2020

Phases 1 and 2 for Reopening The Bahamas

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is working on a reopening strategy, known as the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, alongside the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee, to welcome travelers back to the country. The collaboration will work to reopen the tourism sector and resume international commercial travel beginning July 1.

Adventure of a Lifetime with Volvo

Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.

Daily
Jun 4, 2020

Cruise Line Updates on Cancellations and Rebookings Due to COVID-19

The cruise industry responds to the COVID-19 pandemic with updates on cancellations and rebooking policies. Here’s an update.

Daily
Jun 4, 2020

Norwegian Reward World Mastercard for U.S. Travelers

Norwegian Airlines became a hit over the years as it provides affordable airfare on modern aircraft between Europe and North America. The airline offers its own CashPoints system for frequent flyers, but U.S. travelers are also able to sign up for the airline’s credit card to accumulate points for more than just flying.

Goway Offers Travelers Journey of a Lifetime

Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Daily
Jun 3, 2020

Support Black-Owned Travel Businesses

With travel picking up again in different parts of the world, it’s time to start planning your #ComeBacktoTravel vacation. If you are looking to book through a travel agent or company, consider supporting one of these black-owned travel businesses: 

eFlyer Deals
Jun 3, 2020

Seabourn’s Early Bonus Savings Promotion Available Through July 2020

Seabourn Cruise Line launches a special bonus commission offer, strengthening its commitment to travel advisors. A 4 percent bonus commission will be available for new bookings made on 2021 sailings to Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England. Learn more.

Earn and Redeem with oneworld

oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.

eFlyer Lead
Jun 3, 2020

Global Traveler Surveys Readers About Post-COVID-19 Travel Plans; 78 Percent Plan to Travel in 2020

Global Traveler surveyed its readers last week via an online survey to learn more about travelers’ plans pre- and post-COVID-19 shutdowns. According to respondents, 78 percent are planning a trip in 2020, with 55 percent saying they are more likely to travel domestically first. Nearly all, at 85 percent, canceled trips because of the pandemic.