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24 hours in Isle of Skye

During spring 2017,I decided to visit the highlands with my friends during a bank holiday weekend. After spending couple of days in Glen Coe, we decided to go Isle of Skye, which is about 3 hour drive.

On our way we stopped by the Eileen Donan castle which is a picturesque Scottish castle by the lake. We arrived during midday, so photography wise it wasn't very appealing, I wish I came during twilight hours so that the castle is lit up with warm tungsten lights which with the blue hours will give a nice contrast. If you are planning to photograph the castle from the lake, which will give some interesting perspective make sure you keep an eye on the tide, as the tides tend to rise fairly quick. I almost lost my camera after I left it on a rock shooting a time-lapse.

After taking a short break having an ice-cream by the lake, we continued our journey. Next stop was the iconic Slingachan bridge. Its a postcard perfect scene in Isle of Skye. To capture stunning pictures of the bridge, it is recommended to get down under the bridge by the river to get some photograph with the mountains as background.

Our plan for the night was to camp at the old man of storr to catch the sunrise. We passed by the beautiful Scottish village of Portree, and reached the old man to storr car park, which was empty when we reached. Make sure if you are visiting this area during day time this car park is generally packed, so its recommended to arrive early or arrive really late so that you can camp up on top for the night. We started our our hike after a little stretch, Its a very straight forward hike, well marked trail with slight ascend. Usually it would take about 45 mins to get to the top, but with a heavy backpack with photography gears and camping equipment's it took us about an hour and a quarter. By the time we found our camping pitch, sun already went down the horizon, but still there was plenty of light. We found a tiny little lake by the foot of the giant granite walls and pitched our tent and had our dinner which we prepared earlier. Just after we pitched our tent we realized, it wasn't the best spot as it started to get windy, we could have avoided it if we found a place by the other side. So just a little note to whoever planning to camp up here, make sure you take your time to find the right spot.

Before it got dark, we scouted the area and found couple of locations to shoot sunrise the next morning. It was already 12 o clock midnight by then and the sky still had that deep blue twilight colors to it. I managed to do a night time lapse before I went to sleep at 130 am.

It was very windy at night but somehow managed to sleep properly for couple of hours and got up at 4 am to shoot sunrise.

The moment I stepped out of the tent the sky was on fire, after grabbing a quick shot of the tent with the beautiful sky we literally ran to the viewpoint to see the the golden rays lighting up the iconic old man of storr. This is exactly why I came here, I live for moments like this.

There was couple of other photographers shooting the sunrise, we had a nice little chat with them. After getting the main shots, we walked around that area to get any bonus shots. Coming back to my tent I managed to get some sweet aerials of the area, then went back to sleep for an hour or so.

By 8 o clock other hikers started to come up so we started to pack our tent and headed back down after having our breakfast.

We drove up to the east cost of the island, first we checked out the Mealt waterfall and kilt rock, which was very touristy as most of the tour buses stop here. It was 12 o clock already and the grey clouds started to roll in. We headed back to Portree for lunch and was recommended by a local lady at the souvenir shop to try out aroma cafe right in the heart of the town. We were so glad we listened to her. Food was delicious and affordable especially the pork belly dish 10/10. By the way, I forgot to mention one thing, there is no mobile reception in Isle of Skye, so you are completely left at peace, which can be good and bad. Good cause you don't have to worry about any notifications, bad If you are relying on google maps for navigation. So I would recommend while you are at a shop with WiFi , load your google maps.

Next stop was Fairy pools, after a very delicious lunch we drove all the way to Fairy pools. Its a half an hour walk from the car park to the main waterfall you see it in the postcards. There are a lot of midges in this area, so be prepared, wear some insect repellents. There are few small and big waterfalls on the way to fairy pools.

We saw some crazy people jumping into the ice cold water. It started to rain half way through. Once we finally reached the waterfall, I was a little disappointed, as the size of the waterfall is not as big as we see in pictures, but as i photographer I should have known this. Anyhow I started to photograph the waterfall, trying out different compositions. I decided to get my feet wet for a shot and guess what, that was the best decision, even though the water was freezing cold it had this healing power, it literally woke me up and I felt refreshed. May be its just my mind, aah I don't know, you have to try it out for yourself If its true or not.

My friends felt the same too. Anyhow after spending about half an hour 40 mins playing around we walked back to the car park and headed back to Glen Coe. I know there is more to see and experience in Isle of Skye, but If you have 24 hours in your hand this mite be the best itinerary. I am so thankful to god as we were blessed with sunny weather, as its usually wet and windy in this part of the world. I will definitely come back to Isle of Skye to explore the Quaring and the west coast but for now I will explore other parts of this beautiful world.

Nevin Xavier

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