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...
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.
The Three Chimneys, Colbost
Dining at Skye’s “World famous” restaurant is something I avoided for a long time. The place is laden with domestic and international recognition and awards. It has had countless superlative critiques in the Sunday supplements. It is the subject of its owner’s own glossy book. It is the proud holder of 5 Gold Stars from VisitScotland, a coveted Gold EatScotland Award and a 5 Star AA rating. And, for those without private helicopters, it has a car park peppered with Porsches, Astons and Range Rovers. All in all, the well developed cynic in me scented hype and artificiality.
I was wrong.
Red Hills - Belig
Belig is a shapely pyramid of a hill, rising to an interesting 702m summit between Loch Ainort and Loch Slapin. The views from the top are very good indeed, making it a rewarding outing. It can be climbed fairly easily from the shore of Loch Slapin, but the route from Loch Ainort avoids all exposure and keeps the scrambling to a minimum, making the outing 'moderate' rather than 'stretching' in the categories used by the Skye Guide. This, then, is the route described here...
Sleat - Caisteal Maol
Caisteal Maol is a prominent ruin, sitting on a small hill just east of Kyleakin. This walk is short and straightforward, though you will cross a beach which is best avoided at high tide, and the last section up to the ruin is on steep grass. Its name, which translates as 'bare castle', was given to it after it became a ruin. Formerly it was Dunakin - the castle of Haakon.