If you ever get an opportunity to visit Scotland, Isle of Skye is definitely a must-see-destination. Every tour guide in Scotland will be happy to tell you all of the stories connected with this magical place, and most of them revolve around the fascinating history and legends, the amazing scenery and the traditional music and poetry. But what exactly is this place and how to get there?
The Isle of Skye is the largest and best known island of the Inner Hebrides. Lying close to the north-west coast of Scottish Highlands, it can be reached by bridge or by ferries. Even when coming close to the island the visitor is welcomed by wonderful scenery, because the coastline is filled with bays, massive cliffs, waterfalls and other wonders of nature. A massive mountain range, called the Cuillin, dominates the landscape with its ridges and high peaks.
When arriving on the Skye, every guest learns that it’s not only nature’s beauties that make this place so fascinating. History and tradition are present on almost every corner, and it covers many topics: from dinosaurs, battles of the clans to Jacobite Rebellion. Popular Scottish system of clans was dominant on this island as well, so castles of Clan McDonald and Clan McLeod should also be visited.
There is definitely great variety of “see and do” things on this magnificent place and some of them include:
- Ancient monuments (large number of duns, standing stones, etc.)
- Beaches (great for kayaking, fishing or snorkeling during the summer)
- Castles and gardens (great for days with bad weather; most famous castles on the Skye are Armadale Castle, Dunvegan Castle; interesting garden is An Acarsaid in Ord)
- Boat trips (various companies provide boat tours around the isle; great for sight-seeing and for spotting wildlife, predominantly eagles, sea puffins, seals and occasionally dolphins, otters or even whales)
- Natural wonders (footprints of dinosaur family on the beach in An Corran; famous Kilt Rock sea cliff; astonishing Spar Cave with alabaster-like columns and stairs, etc.)
- Other interesting places (Gavin Maxwell’s Island; Flora MacDonald’s Memorial; St Columba’s Isle, and many others)
Since the popularity of this place constantly rises there are more and more tourists coming every year, and all of them usually require a place to eat and a place to sleep. This is where Bed & Breakfast businesses step up, and provide exactly that – a warm, often traditional Scottish breakfast in the morning with a clean, prepared bed for the evening. These comfortable facilities provide great service with generous hospitality and allow you to explore the island all through the day without worrying where you will spend the night. Design of these houses can vary – from small mountain houses with wooden beams to high-class hotel and motel accommodation with king sized beds and all other modern features. Most of Bed & Breakfast houses and cottages are located out of urban areas and in this way provide easy access to fascinating nature and all of the activities available.
If you haven’t been to Isle of Skye before, than you should do it as soon as possible, because describing in words something so amazing can never be enough to express all of the magnificence and beauty. As it is often being referred to as a “gem of an island”, this part of Inner Hebrides is captivating in many ways and definitely deserves such a title. Located of the west coast of Scotland, Skye has many geological and geographical characteristics which captivate tourists from all over the world.
Nature has blessed this terrain with abundance of interesting forms, whether it is mountains, lakes, peninsulas, bays or other. Mountain ranges are very famous part of this island, and the Cuillin has legendary reputation for being both available for light walking and mountaineering and also for dangerous cliff scaling. Popular rock foundations include Sgur Dearg, the Quiraing and the Kilt Rock. There are number of activities that are available for tourists, and Bed & Breakfast houses await those who decide to have an active vacation on this captivating place.
One of the ways in which active holiday can be spent is – diving, or snorkeling. Isle of Skye is one the best places in Europe for practicing this type of activities, since the perfect geographical position provides almost ideal circumstances – very clear water with great visibility (ranging from 15 to 30 meters) and with average temperature ranging between 6 and 15 degrees Celsius. Of course, most people use summer months like July and August to come here and experience the ultimate snorkeling experience. Good influence of the Golf Stream with its warm waters is highly beneficial for underwater wildlife as well, so diving in these areas provide great chances of spotting different animals and plants.
Skye offers various options when it comes to dive sites, with wreck diving being the most popular. Aside from those, there are other diving types available – such are scenic diving (with reefs, caves and underwater pinnacles) and drift diving (east of Skye, with abundance of marine life for photographers).
Some of the most popular wreck sites include:
- HMS Port Napier wreck is located on Kyle of Lochlash in depths from 0 to about 20 meters, and it presents a wreck of a ship sunk in 1940. Since there are no tides here, diving is fairly easy for beginners, although precautions should always be taken.
- SS Chadwick wreck is located south of An Caennaich and is lying in waters ranging from 15 to 25 meters. This old lady was sunk in 1892 and is in pretty shabby condition, which offers habitat to great variety of wildlife.
- SS Doris wreck rests south of Nest Point, at 6-30 meters. It sunk in 1909 due to foggy weather and special care should be taken when snorkeling at this site.
- SS Urlana wreck sunk in 1943 which makes her the youngest of all mentioned, but it also offers great landscape for those who are in search of amazing underwater photography. She is located north of Mac Leod’s Maidens in 5-15 meters.
There are many more places to visit on this island, and diving is just one of the ways in which you can experience an active and exciting holiday here.Read More