The Northern Highlands and the Western Isles: Places to Explore

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Isle of Skye

The misty isle, Skye is full of romance and myth, lush gardens and steep, magnetic mountains (a compass is useless in the Cuillin Mountains). It ranks near the top of most visitors' must-see lists: the romance of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (1720–88), known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, combined with the Cuillin Mountains and their proximity to the mainland, all contribute to its popularity.

Today Skye remains dramatic, mysterious, and mountainous, an island of sunsets that linger brilliantly until late at night, and of beautiful, magical mists. Much photographed are the old crofts, one or two of which are still inhabited. It also has an increasingly impressive range of accommodations and some excellent restaurants that show off the best in the island's produce and culinary talent.

To reach Skye, you can cross over the bridge spanning the narrow channel of Kyleakin, between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin, or in summer you can take the more romantic trip via boats between Mallaig and Armadale or the little old ferry between Glenelg and Kylerea. You can tour comfortably around the island in two or three days, but a bit longer would allow time for some hiking or some sea kayaking.

Orientation is easy: in the north, follow the roads that loop around the peninsulas of Waternish and Trotternish; in the south, enjoy the road running the length of the Sleat Peninsula. There are some stretches of single-lane road, but with attention and care none pose a problem.

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