The Skye Guide is an independent and personal view of the Isle of Skye. It is written mainly with visitors to the island in mind, but I hope it is useful to residents and potential residents as well.
I love Skye, and have chosen to make my home on the island, so my views are not dispassionate - but neither are they uncritical. Places are included in the guide because I like them - and because I think you might too. If something is not included, it may be because I would not recommend it to you, but it may be simply that I have not yet experienced it. I am happy with that ambiguity...
Although categorised here under 'natural wonders', this place is actually supernatural. It is also not well known - there are no roadsigns to point the way. Luckily, it isn't too difficult to find, just a short way off the main A87 south of Uig.
Leave the main road at NG397633, just by the Uig Hotel, climbing the hill on the wee road signed to Sheadar and Balnaknock. The fairies live about a mile up here. You'll certainly know when you have reached their special place.
Spar Cave is an astonishing, cathedral-like structure, some 50m long, with a marble-like flowstone staircase and huge columns formed from the centuries of water dripping through the limestone. In places the roof of the cave has been discoloured by the candles and torches of visiting Victorians, who also removed as souvenirs many of the stalagmites and stalactites. They didn't manage to destroy the magic though.
The cave was visited by Sir Walter Scott in 1814. He later described it in “The Lord of the Isles” as:
The mermaid’s alabaster grot, who bathes her limbs in sunken well, deep in Strathaird’s enchanted cell.
You'll find Spar Cave near Elgol, at Glasnakille on the western shore of Loch Slapin - NG538128. Park just south of the road junction in Glasnakille by the old (uninhabited) house on your right.
Strath - Camasunary (from Elgol)
This is one of Skye's outstanding walks in terms of views. The path along the east shore of Loch Scavaig gives probably the best of all vantage points to see the southern end of the main Cuillin range. As a bonus, Bla Bheinn, Marsco and Sgurr na Stri are also prominently in sight in the later part of the walk. To the left, and behind you, the islands of Soay, Canna, Eigg and Rum are all clear. And the destination - the beach at Camasunary - is a very worthwhile objective for the trip.
Trotternish - Rubha Hunish
This is an outstanding walk to the furthest north point of Skye. From the end of the point I have seen dolphins, whales and a basking shark, all at close range. The walk is around 6 kilometres return, with fairly easy going for most of the way. A steep section down an inland cliff looks more daunting than it is, but it will test those with no head for heights. Begin from the small car park just off the main road between Duntulm and Kilmaluag, at NG422742. A path runs pretty much due north from here, keeping to the high ground.
Kinloch Lodge, Sleat
In January 2010, Kinloch Lodge was awarded Skye's first ever Michelin star - a fantastic achievement on this island of wonderful restaurants. The accolade, reaffirmed for 2011/12/13/14 and now 2015, sits with the three AA rosettes that Kinloch and head chef Marcello Tully had already earned.
Kinloch Lodge stands in a wonderful setting on the shore of Loch na Dal. It’s a hotel, a restaurant, a shop - all overseen by Lady Claire MacDonald, the food commentator, television presenter, writer and cook.