Are you looking for new or exciting things to fill up your weekends? Skye & Lochalsh is the perfect winter destination. Taking in majestic scenery and fascinating history around this magical island, searching for fossils and peaceful beaches.These suggestions are not just for visitors - if you're lucky enough to call this region home, then these ideas are for you too!
Hidden Gems on the Waternish Peninsula
The Waternish Peninsula is one of the most magical places on Skye. Home to majestic seascapes and fiery sunsets, it’s a place where you can slow down and soak in Skye’s natural beauty. It is also an area steeped in history. One of its most compelling historic sites is the ruined church of Trumpan which harks back to what was once a thriving medieval town. Follow the walk to Waternish Point Lighthouse, admire views to the Outer Hebrides and spot ancient brochs, wildlife and ruined steadings along the way.
Where will you explore?
- One of the loveliest views can be found at Dun Hallin, an Iron Age hill fort which overlooks the sea.
- The pretty stone Fairy Bridge features heavily in the folklore of the area. According to legend, this is where the fairy wife of the Chief of Clan MacLeod departed the mortal realm to return to the land of faerie folk.
- The western side of the peninsula has amazing view of the Trotternish peninsula and is a great place for a picnic. Look for golden eagles perched on the crags!
For incredible views of the stars, planets and Milky Way, head to Steinn Jetty and Knockbreck.
Dinosaur Hunting on Skye
Fascinated by dinosaurs? You don’t have to visit a museum to come face-to-face with the remnants of these beasts which once roamed the earth 66 million years ago. With so many dinosaur footprints being unearthed, Skye is quickly becoming the “Dinosaur Isle”. Whether you’re an avid fossil hunter yourself, or you’re looking for something to do with the kids, make sure to include a spot of Jurassic fun.
Where will you explore?
- At Brother’s Point, you can find a number of prints, most of which appear to have been made by four-legged sauropods. These immense terrestrial creatures were as tall as 60 ft and could stretch to 130 ft!
- Dinosaur prints are most often located around coastal areas. Look out for fossilised tracks at Staffin Bay, Score Bay and Duntulm. Be sure to plan your visit at low tide when the prints are uncovered.
Hike Ben Tianavaig
Skye is without a doubt a paradise for walkers and there is no need to tackle the challenging Cuillin muntains to experience its beauty. Bein Tianavaig is a wee coastal peak near Portree which offers a tantalising taste of what Skye has in store for walkers. The route follows the rim of a dramatic escarpment above the sea, with wonderful views down to the water where porpoises and dolphins can be seen. At the top, take in the view of Portree Bay.
Where will you explore?
- Talisker Bay is home to one of the few sandy beaches on Skye and is perfect for leisurely strolls at dawn or dusk. You can even take an exhilarating dip in the sea!
- When the tide is out you can walk across to the tidal Island of Oronsay to discover beaches, archaeological remains, sea caves and spellbinding clifftop views.
- Follow the short walk to the dramatic ruins of Dun Scaith Castle at Sleat. The views are quite simply sensational.
A great way to blow away the cobwebs while also enjoying spectacular coastal scenery is by sea kayaking! You can explore cliff and rock crevices, spot curious marine life and stop for a beach picnic. Go on a leisurely guided kayak trip around the Isle Of Ornsay on Sleat or have an epic adventure along the sparkling waters from Elgol to Loch Coruisk at the foot of the Cuillin mountains.
Where will you kayak?
- Support local businesses and take a guided day trip, sea kayaking lessons, private sessions and even courses from providers including South Skye Sea Kayak, Sea Kayak Plockton or Whitewave Outdoor Centre. An exciting adventure awaits!
- Get up close to sea birds, otters, dolphins and inquisitive seals, who are known to show a keen interest in paddlers!
- Kayaking isn’t the only way to get out on the water. Check out Bella Jane Boat Trips in Elgol or Calum’s Seal Trips in Plockton.
Find out more about outdoors adventures on Skye.
Armadale Castle & Gardens
Clan Donald is one of the largest Scottish clans, and historically controlled the lands and waterways of the west Highlands and islands. Situated on the Sleat peninsula, the romantic Armadale Castle was the seat of the clan through the turbulent times of the Jacobites. Today it is famous for its grounds and gardens. Spanning 40 acres, this horticultural haven is filled with centuries-old trees and array of stunning blooms in spring and summer. Wander the terrace and woodland walks and take in the simply breathtaking views across the Sound of Sleat.
You can explore inside the house to see some impressive artefacts including a 17th century firearm used in the Battle of Culloden.
Did you know?
- Established on Skye since the 15th century, Clan Donald’s history stretches back long before records begin! Of Gaelic and Viking descent, the clan chiefs were known as ‘Lord of the Isles’.
- You can follow in the clan’s steps at the atmospheric cliff-top ruins of Duntulm Castle on the far north coast, which was the seat of the chiefs of Clan MacDonald of Sleat in 17th century.
- Duntulm Castle is said to have many ghosts, including the 8th chief Donald Gorm who was notorious for brawling, and a murdered nursemaid whose wails are said to be heard late at night.
The Skye Art Trail
Throughout its history, the natural beauty, rich history and legends of Skye have inspired generations of visual artists. The island remains a magnet for creatives, many of whom base their studios, workshops and galleries here. In fact, there are so many that the island even has its own dedicated art trail allowing you to explore the local arts and crafts scene and maybe even purchase a unique artwork or beautiful handmade object to take home with you.
Where will you go?
- At Skye Weavers you can witness weavers at work producing stunning woollen and tweed scarves.
- The Croft Studio in Portree has been showcasing original paintings, prints, greeting cards and more inspired by scenery, wildlife and mythology of the islands for over 55 years.
- Learn how traditional methods are still used to craft sumptuously soft sheepskin products at Skyeskyns.
With so many places to visit across Scotland, will you head to one of your favourites or try somewhere new? Share your ideas and fascinating facts on Skye & Lochalsh in our iKnow Community or on social media.