The last time we were on the Isle of Skye it rained non stop. I don’t recall seeing a signal mountain because the cloud and rain were so persistent. My cheap mobile phone died due to my cheap coat leaking on a very rainy hike. So we left Skye feeling like we didn’t know what all the hype was about…so of course we had to return and give it another chance. We had a bit of a rainy first day, why was I expecting anything else? So we just managed a very short stroll that offered nice views of the Skye bridge that we’d just driven over.
The forecast was looking appalling to be honest but we picked one morning to visit the Old Man Of Storr which is a large pinnacle of rock on a hillside. We had beautiful blue skies as we drove there but as soon as we pulled up it began raining. We had to pay for parking which is very rare in Scotland and then we set off, hoping the rain would pass. It’s one of Skye’s top sights and there were lots of people to prove that so.
After gaining a little elevation we entered a cloud which we remained in for the rest of the hike. The interesting rock formations were just about visible but overall the views were a 1/10. We got back to Helga absolutely drenched and flashbacks of our time here in 2014 were coming back to me! Our second hike of the day was a short coastal stroll to a little headland called Brothers Point. It gave us a great view across to the cliffs of Kilt Rock and Mealt Waterfall plummeting straight down into the sea. We continued our drive up the road to stand above the cliffs right beside the waterfall but I could barely get a photo before the heavens opened again. What a miserable day!
The following morning we woke early and drove up to the steep single track road to Quiraing. The area was formed by a landslip millions of years ago and apparently it’s still moving today, creeping towards the sea a few centimetres every year. We were the first people to arrive so we took a brief walk for a little view of the road wiggling between the dramatic green hills and then we had some breakfast.
The heavy rain still hadn’t come so we decided to chance a longer walk. We ended up climbing up a steep hill and walking beneath the huge rock pinnacles. It was a nice walk actually but the hill was a bit of a bitch to do in wellington boots – I hadn’t anticipated the detour.
Feeling like we’d seen the east side of Skye we headed west and stopped for a walk at Coral Beach. We were surprised how popular the area was considering the access road was an awful single track covered in potholes, the car park was almost full. It was a nice, easy stroll along a muddy dirt track but the sight itself was a little basic. Maybe it was due to the weather as it was blowing a gale so the sea was quite choppy and the mountains kept disappearing from passing rain. Luckily the journey wasn’t totally wasted as on our way back we found a lovely spot to camp with a view of the sea and a castle. We also finished the day with a lovely sunset where a big rain cloud turned pink.
We had one more popular sight to see in Skye before we hiked some proper mountains. This time we were heading to Fairy Pools. When we visited in 2014 I think there was just a small free carpark, now they had a huge one and charged £8 for motorhomes. Hell no were we paying! We drove back up the road to a free parking area which just added a kilometre onto our walk. It was extremely busy with people when we arrived and we were remarking how they were all so lazy, just going 100m down to the river and then turning back to their vehicle. Well, we were soon corrected as they weren’t being lazy, everyone was trying to figure out a way to cross the river. It’s been raining so much lately that the river was swollen and very tricky to cross if you wanted to keep your footwear dry. We spent a while walking up and down trying to figure out the best place to cross. Thankfully I wore welly’s so I managed to very slowly work my way along some rocks with water gushing over my feet. Craig however was in hiking boots so we had to find the narrowest point where he could jump across, which he just about managed. We ended up on an area of land which appeared to be an island and we had yet another stream to cross. Finally, we were on the main trail which headed up the valley alongside the beautiful river. It cascaded down in a series of waterfalls with crystal clear pools beneath each one.
What made the route even more impressive was the backdrop of the Black Cuillin mountains, looking almost inaccessible with their jagged peaks. We walked quite far up the valley until hail began hammering down on us, at which point we decided it was a good time to go back. Obviously we had to cross that damn river again and this time Craig wasn’t so successful and he managed to slip so his foot dragged right through the rapids. Oh dear.
With the weather still looking terrible and being rather fed up with getting soaked on the walks and all of our gear being wet we decided to wait out the next couple days in our van. We found a lovely spot to camp with an incredible view of the mountains which were constantly changing as weather systems rolled through. One day we had torrential downpours and gale force winds while the other was passing showers and the most vibrant rainbows we’ve ever seen.