Isle of Skye By Motorhome – Scotland 2010

Several things were noteworthy about the Isle of Skye:

  1. It was hillier and more scenic than I expected.
  2. The number of foreign tourists in rented cars and motorhomes was surprisingly high.
  3. The condition of many of the roads was the worst I have ever driven on, anywhere in Western Europe.
  4. Despite it being peak tourist season (mid-July), most businesses were still closed on Sundays. In the main town, Portree, almost everything was closed. This was despite the large numbers of visitors who were milling around the town, looking in shop windows and trying locked cafe doors (really). These people were  just itching to be allowed to spend some money. The one cafe that was open was packed. Surely the residents of Skye aren’t all such devout Christians that no one can be found to open up on a Sunday and make some money?

That aside, here are a few memorable highlights of our exploration of the island.

Fairy Glen

Like something from a children’s book, Fairy Glen is made up of miniature pointed hills, rocky outcrops and even a tiny lake. Access is by a narrow winding single-track road and isn’t recommended for larger motorhomes but if you aren’t too large, then definitely take a look:

Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye
The pictures don't convey the real novelity of the landscape of Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Coral Beaches

Continue driving down the minor road beyond Dunvegan Castle and you will (eventually) come to the parking area for the Coral Beaches. From the car park it’s about a mile’s walk to two beaches made up entirely of dead coral – or “bleached exo-skeletons of coralline algae known as maerl”, as Lonely Planet describes it.

The beaches are a strange anomaly – all the others nearby are bog-standard shingle – and really are made up of dead coral, not sand or stone:

Coral beaches, Isle of Skye
Coral beaches - yet on either side, the beaches are just shingle
Closeup of coral on the coral beaches, Isle of Skye
Although it looks like sand from a distance, it really is all coral

Well worth a trip – although access and parking isn’t ideal for larger motorhomes.

Visiting The Outer Hebrides – Or Not!

The next stage of our trip was going to be a series of ferries to the Outer Hebrides, starting from the Skye port of Uig.

Up until this point, our strategy of not booking a single ferry in advance had worked well for us. However, on Skye, our luck ran out! A combination of one broken-down ferry, cancellations due to gales the previous week and the mid-July tourist season meant that we would have had to wait four days for the next ferry. This was time we didn’t have, so we abandoned the Outer Hebrides and will return to visit them at some point in the future.

5 thoughts on “Isle of Skye By Motorhome – Scotland 2010

  • Pingback:The Outer Hebrides By Motorhome (Part 1) – Scotland 2010 - Motorhome Planet – Travel, self-build conversions & more

  • January 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm
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    We’re staying in a cottage, but are travelling up from South Wales with 3 kids and a dog is going to be a mighty haul all in one day. My Dad has a Motorhome and he has offered it to us to drive up and around in, enabling us to stop overnight en route. However, having taken it to Anglesy last year, we’re wary of access issues. We don’t want to travel all the way up to the Isle of Skye and come away having missed out on certain places because we couldn’t get there. Can you advise, please?

    Reply
    • January 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm
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      I don’t remember access being a particular problem on Skye. Most of the roads we used were proper two lane roads and there were plenty of coaches around, too, giving you an idea of size. The only place we went that would not be suitable for a larger motorhome was Fairy Glen, which was a pretty narrow single track road that ended in a dead end with a smallish turning space.

      Some of the inland roads will be single track, too, but we found throughout the highlands and islands that there were always plenty of passing places, so I wouldn’t expect any major problems, as long as your motorhome is not really big.

      Hope this helps.

      Roland

      Reply
      • March 20, 2011 at 6:51 pm
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        Larger motorhomes? What size is that? We plan on visiting Skye in june with a motorhome.

        Reply
        • March 21, 2011 at 11:29 am
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          @Cecilia,

          I would say that standard European motorhomes up to 6m long will be fine and up to 7m will be ok with care. Anything over 7m will be awkward at times and an American RV will be worse (unless you are a professional coach driver!).

          Hope this helps,

          Roland

          Reply

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