We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Emily, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Emily lives in South Africa and submitted the following report about the Isle of Skye. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: English, Gaelic
Reasons to Visit the Isle of Skye
I made a last-minute decision to visit the Isle of Skye after landing in Edinburgh with no real plan of what I was going to do in beautiful Scotland.
After doing some research online, I learned that Skye has some of the darkest skies in Scotland and that it would be a good place to see the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see them while I was here because the nights were overcast – but my other experiences in this beautiful place were beyond amazing.
The roads are fairly empty and narrow, and I was warned by the car rental company to be careful driving on them and to watch out for stray animals. Thankfully, I grew up in rural South Africa where the gravel and dirt roads were mountainous and practically crawling with stray animals. Isle of Skye would be a piece of cake.
I crossed the Skye bridge from mainland Scotland into the Isle of Skye and was just in awe of the natural beauty all around. It's like you're in the middle of nowhere: a beautiful, green, and unspoiled nowhere. One can also catch a ferry across the loch between the mainland and the Isle but I had to skip this on my return because of time lost after a mini-kayaking incident.
I spent an evening in Portree at one of the B&B's, where the owners gave me many ideas about what to see and do around the islands. They advised me to follow the road out of town and said “the sights will just jump out at you. You will pass Kilt Rock, a waterfall that falls into the ocean and the Storr Mountain range – including the Old Man of Storr. As you keep driving, there will be signboards pointing to various sights that you will want to stop and check out.” I did… I stopped everywhere and anywhere. It really helps that there is so little traffic there. The view of the port city of Uig is unbelievably stunning, and you can lose hours looking down at the ocean, town, and the surrounding little islands.
I eventually arrived at Dunvegan, home of Castle Dunvegan. This is the original home of the Clan MacLeod. Just before you drive over Skye Bridge, you will pass Eilean Donan Castle, which is the famous castle from the Highlander movies. As corny as this will sound, it's a truly romantic sight and visit. Dunvegan castle and gardens are worth exploring, they are well maintained and peaceful. Close by the castle, people have the opportunity to jump on a boat and check out some seals, which is always fun if you have the time.
On my last day in Portree, I had signed up to do some white-water rafting. On the morning of the trip, half the group didn't show up, so the guide took us kayaking instead. I thought, “Why not? It looks calm enough.” It was, but I am terrified of deep water, so when we capsized, all I could think was, “Sharks!” I got back to land safely and after warming up a bit, I said my goodbye to new friends and made my way back to Edinburgh.
I will definitely be visiting the Isle of Skye again. Next time, I will spend a bit more time exploring it because I have heard of these magical Fairy Pools and Coral Beaches that need to be explored…
Truly, this has to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited in my life.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 1 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 2 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)