Roaming the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye

January 26, 2017

Longtime readers of my blog know that I like to take photographs from uninhabited places. Places that make you feel small and give the impression that the picture is only a fraction of a larger scene. Scotland is one of those countries that evoke the same sensation when you get lost in its vast countryside. Some regions are so remote that you can go for miles and miles through unspoilt nature and along rough coastlines without a soul to be seen. When a friend, who also accompanied me in Ireland, asked me to join him for a trip to Scotland I didn’t need to think twice.

our route across scotland

As Scotland first-timers we chose a route to gain a good initial impression of the country during 10 days of travel. We decided to make a roadtrip along the coastline with emphasis on the western Highlands and a few days on the Isle of Skye.

approach to edinburgh

Our trip started in Edinburgh and as if to welcome us warmly we were greeted with the most dramatic sunrise during our flight.
We liked Edinburgh as the city was packed with cultural events due to the Edinburgh International Festival but we didn’t want to wait to get to the Highlands and so we spent only one night before heading north.

edinburgh airportvictoria street edinburgha café in edinburghgeorge iv bridge edinburgh
bird sanctuary

Enjoying the peace in a bird sanctuary on the way up north

stonehaven

We made a stopover in the sleepy coastal town Stonehaven to explore Dunnottar Castle. After seeing the castle during daylight our plan was to wake up early on the next day to take photos during sunrise. We struggled out of our beds in the middle of the night only to find out that thick fog covered the air and it was impossible to see further than a few meters. Luckily the fog lifted after some time of waiting and we could take the photo that we came for.

dunnottar castleeastern coast of scotlandscotland coast pennanpennan

After a brief stop in the charming coastal town Pennan we drove eastwards to explore the area where Speyside whisky is made. While we are not much of whisky drinkers we didn’t want to miss out on the most iconic Scottish export. Out of all the distilleries along the way we chose Arberlour for a guided tour and had a great time tasting their range and learning about the craft of whisky making.

highlands scotland

After a brief stop in Iverness we headed to the west on magnificent highland roads and found empty beaches and coastlines all to ourselves.

a green beach on the westcoast of scotlandcoastline scotlandscottish roads

Our next stops were Inverewe Garden and Plockton. Two places that both greatly benefit from the warmth of the Gulf Stream and allow for very unusual vegetation. Especially in Plockton it is weird to walk beneath palm trees in the setting of a typical fishing village.

inverewe gardensvogue knittingfishing nets in plocktonplockton

For me the Isle of Skye combines the best Scotland has to offer on a single island. Endless coastlines, rugged mountains and charming fishing villages made me fall in love at once.

isle of skyeriver mouth on the isle of skyehighland cattle on the isle of skyeSligachan old Bridgehiking on the isle of skye
old man of storr

Ascent to the Old Man of Storr

hiking on the isle of skyemealt fallsbritish phone boothview over kyleakinhiking on the isle of skyehiking on the isle of skyecamasunary walkcamasunary bay

On that day I was hiking on my own because my friend got sick and needed some rest. My plan was to hike towards a bay with an abandoned farm but I didn’t really knew what to expect. As it turned out this is one of the best places I have ever found. After hiking over a few hills I had a clear view of a remote valley with a single farm on it and there, in the ruins of an old greenhouse, somebody built a hammock out of a fishernet. I stayed for a long time to enjoy the moment just by myself. Behind me the mountains of the highlands and the ocean in front of me.

hammock on the isle of skyeEilean Donan Castlehighlandsopel vauxhallglencoeglencoe scotland