I’ve visited, or passed through Skye a number of times over the years, but I’ve yet to fall under the spell of the island. It’s never got under my skin like some of the other Hebridean islands I’ve visited. And it’s not just me, as Mr G’s feels exactly the same about The Misty Isle. So would a spot of glamping on Skye change our minds?
We were willing to find out after visiting the island back in February while staying at Glen Affric. We’d left the the glen on a hellish, rainy morning in search of sunshine. It’s not often you’ll hear of anyone heading to Skye for good weather, but on that occasion we were lucky.
A hike up the Old Man of Storr
We hiked up to the Old Man of Storr and for the first time started to appreciated the rugged beauty of the landscape. I’d visited the Old Man of Storr before, so could I be starting to see the island in a new light?
After our hike that morning, we had lunch in Cafe Relish in Portree. The soup and sandwiches we had were fab and the staff couldn’t have been friendlier. It was nice to leave with a positive memory of Portree, as up until that point the town symbolised everything we disliked about the island.
A few years earlier, we’d spent a disasterous weekend at a grubby inn, in Portree. The accommodation was substandard and the customer was never right. It was like something out of the British comedy ‘The League of Gentlemen’. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find Tubbs and Edward running the place.
Glamping on Skye here we come
Fast forward to September and we were back on Skye. This time to stay in Uig, before catching a ferry to North Uist.
We left Edinburgh, driving north through heavy rain and dark skies.
After a quick pit stop for coffee and cake in Spean Bridge, we continued our journey north.
On through Kintail we drove, with Mr G ranting that there was no need for people to drive at 20mph because it was raining.
The boy struts his stuff at Eilean Donan
As we approached Eilean Donan the sky began to brighten. We stopped at the castle for a leg stretch and also because we can never pass without photographing it.
To say the boy went down a storm there, would be an understatement. People were drawn to the wee Scottish dug beside the iconic castle like moths to a flame. At one stage he looked like a celebrity with a press pack surrounding him. Accustomed to the attention, he took it all in his stride.
We met a couple from Canada who were also Westie parents, so we lingered a while chatting and singing the praises of our much-loved wee white beasties.
Plockton for lunch
It’d been several years since our last visit to the pretty village of Plockton, so before crossing the bridge to Skye we decided to visit for lunch. The sky was now bright blue – it was definitely an al fresco lunch type of afternoon.
Sitting outside the Plockton Hotel it finally felt like summer. Being sun starved Scots, it was wonderful to bask in the sun’s rays once again.
I broke with my usual lunchtime tradition of soup and sandwiches and had a delicious Talisker whisky pate. The Wee White Dug definitely approved. His sad eyes earned him a few scraps of ham hock. Mr G tucked into a fish soup and sarnie combo.
Lunch was washed down with a can of fizzy juice each. Now, if you’re not a Scot, you’ll probably be wondering what fizzy juice is. Fizzy juice is Coke, Pepsi, Fanta etc, and here in Scotland – Irn-bru (which is made in Scotland from girders).
A game of wasp baseball
Our enjoyment of lunch and the unexpected sunshine was interrupted by the demon of outdoor dining – a persistent wasp. While I’m not afraid of them, the aggressive buzzing followed by swiping, leaves me exasperated. Arms flailing like a woman possessed, I grabbed hold of a wooden spoon with our table number on it. Bzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzzzz – BAT. The wasp jettisoned out of the beer garden faster than a fighter jet. Five minutes later it was back. Bzzzzz, bzzzzz, bzzzzz – WHAM. Off it hurtled at G-Force. Mr G wanted to play wasp baseball too. A quick lesson in technique later and he was hitting them out of the
ball park beer garden like a pro. Who knew you could have so much fun in the company of wasps? Please note that you can’t play this game with bees, as bees are good guys.
After lunch we enjoyed a walk around the village, soaking up the sun. Plockton sits in a sheltered bay on Loch Carron. Protected from wind, the village has a mild climate which has allowed palm trees to flourish. Despite the presence of palm trees the village looks typically Scottish.
A walk in the Fairy Glen – Uig
Sun still shining, we crossed the Skye Bridge to the not so ‘Misty Isle’ and headed towards Uig and the Fairy Glen.
The Fairy Glen is a popular tourist attraction on Skye. On a beautiful, blue sky day it’s easy to see the appeal. While I find the equally popular Fairy Pools at Glen Brittle decidedly underwhelming, the same can’t be said for the Fairy Glen – I love it.
We parked the car and followed the single track road up into the glen, sheep eyeing us suspiciously as we passed. On either side of the road, weird conical mounds rose into the air. The magical, otherworldly landscape of the Fairy Glen was created by a series of landslides.
By the time we caught a glimpse of the prominent rocky outcrop known as Castle Ewen we were melting under the warm September sun. We stopped for a rest to let the boy cool off a little.
Sufficiently rested, he was ready to scramble up and down fairy hills in the glen.
We followed a narrow path leading to the summit of Castle Ewen. The view of the glen was beautiful and we stood looking down on the ant-like people below.
In the distance a piper began to play. The sound of bagpipes floating across the glen added to the magical feel of the place.
As I stood listening to the piper playing, a man began wheezing his way uphill behind me, his Darth Vadar breathing shattering the magic of the moment.
Mr G’s obsession with viewpoint you can fall off, led him to linger on top of Castle Ewen far longer than was necessary. At one point I though he might plant a flag on the summit and rename it Castle Grant.
Back at ground level the boy and I played a game of ‘where’s Dad?’ as Mr G waved furiously from his lofty perch.
We soon tired of waving back at him and went off to find a vantage point of our own. Spotting us on high ground was all it took to get Mr G down from Castle Ewan. Worried he was missing out on a better viewpoint, he rushed to join us.
We wandered a while longer, but we had a drooth on (Scots for thirst) and it felt like wine o’clock had arrived, so we left the Fairy Glen to check-in to our accommodation.
Posh camping on the Isle of Skye
Our home for the night was a dog friendly glamping pod at The Cowshed – a boutique bunkhouse on a hillside overlooking Uig Bay.
Our pod was like Dr Who’s tardis – tiny on the outside but deceptively roomy inside. It had a comfy sofa, a dining table and chairs, a double bed, a compact kitchen area with fridge, sink and microwave oven plus a WC which also doubled as a shower room. There was under-floor heating too just in case it got chilly through the night. We were absolutely delighted with our choice of accommodation. The boy checked out his mini dog pod with interest (and no, he didn’t sleep in it. He’s too much of a mummy’s boy to sleep alone).
Before dinner, we sat out on the decking enjoying a drink. It was wine o’clock and the sun was shining – bliss. It was lovely sitting there admiring the view, wine in hand and my two favourite boys by my side.
Hitting the high spots in Uig
That evening we enjoyed a tasty dinner in the sunny conservatory of the Uig Hotel, which was a short walk from our accommodation. The boy snoozed under our table, plum tuckered after his fun day out. Despite it being late in the season the hotel was busy, giving it a lively vibe.
After dinner we decided to pop down to the The Ferry Inn for a nightcap. They’re Twitter buddies of mine and Westie owners too.
The last time we were in The Ferry Inn it was old-fashioned and in dire need of renovation. Now under new ownership it’s been given a tasteful, modern facelift. It’s welcoming and cosy and that’s probably why we found it hard to leave. Our nightcap turned into three nightcaps. I acquainted myself with a smoky single malt from Talisker (when in Rome), while Mr G sampled a few gins from the inn’s impressive selection. We spent a lovely evening listening to music and chatting. Sadly, the boy didn’t get to meet resident Westie Archie as he was tucked up in bed fast asleep and we didn’t want to waken him.
Starry, starry night
We finally tore ourselves away from the Ferry Inn, saying our goodbyes and promising to return. It was pitch dark outside so we switched on our iPhone torches to light the way. As we were walking Mr G looked up and remarked “look at the stars”. He quickly regretted opening his mouth.
I looked up and was completely wowed by what I saw. Above me was the brightest, most star filled sky I have ever seen. Even with my shortsighted eyes I could clearly pick out the Milky Way. I went into hyper, wax-lyrical mode, like I’d never seen stars before. Our pogress was slow after that. My efforts to walk uphill were hampered by me constantly stopping to look up, oohing and aahing as I went.
By the time we got back to our pod Mr G was exasperated and sick to death of hearing about the night sky. Before bed I stood on the decking for a while, gazing skywards. It’s a night I’ll never forget and it made the perfect end to a perfect day.
The next morning, we packed and reluctantly left our wonderful wee pod and Uig behind. We vowed to return and stay longer next time. We’d enjoyed every second we spent on the island. Had we just fallen in love with Skye?
If you enjoyed this post you can read about another of our glamping adventures here.
Until next time …