The fabulous Fairy pools and Neist point
The landscape and scenery of Skye are iconic and world-famous. None more so than the beautiful Fairy pools in Glen Brittle, nestled in the epic Cuillin Mountain range. We had heard from locals, that this is one of the most popular places to visit. Unfortunately, because of its popularity, it can get really busy! We hoped that as we were a bit ‘offseason’, it might not be too bad. Also, the timing might also be key. Hence we had decided to visit fairly early in the morning.
This was the reason we had driven all the way over to a fairly isolated spot near the fairy pools the night before. This way an early start would not be too much of a shock to the system. We had arrived at our secluded camping spot in a forest at dusk with just another solitary van for company. Perfect we thought, not too busy.
Having prepped the bus for the night, I was just making a final hot drink for the night, when out of the failing early evening light, four other large vans rocked up to join us for the evening! Turns out it was a group of climbers with a similar idea to ours. Their mission was to complete a fairly challenging climb first thing tomorrow. A bit more of an ambitious plan than ours mind you!
Skyes Cinematic landscape
Turns out I’m not so bad at getting up early in the morning. In part, it was the excitement of wanting to get up and take in our surroundings in the daylight. The Cuillin mountain range was epic. Not in terms of height especially, more in its volcanic craggy shapes, colours and forms. It was almost otherworldly in some ways.
Not that I know what other worlds actually look like obviously! Maybe I’ve just seen too many Sci-Fi movies. I get why movies like Transformers (The Last Knight), Alien/Prometheus, 47 Ronin etc. have used Skye for some of its locations. It really does have an awesome cinematic landscape! That and great waterfalls! Can’t get enough of seeing waterfalls! These will be very different from the stunning ones at Eas Fors so I’m really looking forward to getting to see them.
So a quick breakfast and we were ready to rock. Always nice when the walking adventure of the day starts off in a downward direction. Not sure if it will be so much fun on the upward journey on the way back! It was overcast, but dry which was good. It sort of added to the epic look of the mountains!
Once the downhill section of the walk was done, it was a gentle trek to follow the stream up into the hills with the pools and waterfalls that lay ahead. Could not help but love the natural colour palette of the landscape. Our early start seemed to have worked well, as there were only another couple of (crazy) people up and about this early in the morning!
As you’ll know by now, I’m a big fan of structures, especially bridges. Well, this has to be the simplest and most effective bridge thus far!
The magic of the fairy pools
It wasn’t long before we started seeing some of the fabled fairy pools. The mountain-fed streams are a striking mix of vivid blues and greens. I wonder if this might be due to mountain minerals in the water. Something like the famous Moraine Lake in Canada?
The stunning coloured, crystal clear water does give it a very ethereal feel. Not surprising that they’re called the ‘Fairy Pools’, they do have a very magical appearance to them.
Apparently, there are some crazy people who love to do some ‘Wild Swimming’ in these pools. That is not me! Mountain fed water pools are going to be cold… very cold! I guess it takes all sorts!
At first glance with the picture above, it looks as if the rock is simply reflected in the mirror still water surface. Look carefully again. You will see that it is not actually a perfect reflection, but just perfectly clear water where you can see straight through to the bottom! That is in fact, an underwater rock arch, and the water is plenty deep enough to easily swim underneath it. How cool is that! 🙂
It was great fun scrambling around the various parts of the river and seeing the different waterfalls along the rivers meandering course. It all made the early start well worthwhile.
Magical moments in the mountains
After all the walking and scrabbling around the fairy pools, it was most definitely time for something to eat! Unfortunately, that meant a long slow walk back up the hill to the camper. Today, we would be hitting our step counts real hard!
Mind you it was well worth it. Nothing tastes as good as a hard-earned mug of tea. After the early start and all the exertions of the mornings’ activity, sitting down with a hot mug of tea was a wonderful reward. Sometimes, it really is just the simple things in life that make all the difference.
Going out West to Neist point lighthouse
With our early start to the day (and the longer daylight hours), there was still time for a bit more exploring today! After a bite to eat obvs. After looking at our maps, we decided to head up the west coast of Skye to Neist Point. It has one of the most famous lighthouses in Scotland and can be found on the most westerly tip of Skye near the township of Glendale.
The early morning cloud soon began to clear and we had a great drive out to this most westerly tip of Skye. Lots of single-track roads, ‘blind summits’ and spectacular views all around. I was really loving the driving on our Highlands and Islands experience! 🙂
Arriving at Neist Point lighthouse we were greeted by some more epic scenery and views. Scotland really does that all the time for you. A wild unspoilt coastline with a remote lighthouse at a seemingly inaccessible point. There were the remains of an aerial cableway that was used to take supplies to the lighthouse and cottages below the clifftop edge. This has been updated with a long winding set of steps down to the beginning of the lighthouse peninsula. It would be fun and games going up those on a daily basis!
This wasn’t quite the culmination of the day. There were options to stay overnight at this clifftop location. It would have offered an amazing view first thing in the morning. However we were feeling more recharged now, so decided instead to head off one last time for the day to somewhere new. Somewhere with facilities. Now when I say ‘facilities’, I mean a tap with running water!
Time to head back on the beautiful highland roads of Skye again. It had been a long-ish day so we decided to stop off in Portree to grab a bite to eat en route. Here we came across the fantastic Cafe Arriba in Portree Bay. What a fantastic cafe and place to eat! 🙂
Awesome soup, quite possibly the best nachos, salsa and sour cream ever, plus a top-notch coffee. That is how to end a great day off, perfect! We shall be back here again real soon! Fully fed for the evening, it was time to find our latest stopover for the night with it’s fully functioning tap and running water!