This season has been a different one for us. Including closing altogether from now (October) until March 29th 2024. There were All of the Reasons for that, but we’ve opened our diaries for 2024 (29/3-31/10) and I’m going to pop little suggestions of things to make your Skye time (and wider Scottish explorations) richer and more full of joy.
Some of you might know that I’m a super fan of the Scottish Travel Facebook pages. True there’s a lot of facecloth/top sheet/coffee creamer drama, but it’s brilliant to see people grow in confidence through the advice on the pages, try new things and sometimes improve their cultural sensitivity. This last part works both ways with both those asking the questions and locals with the know-how having things to learn.
A question I often see asked is recommendations for ‘hidden gems’, non-touristy experiences and ‘must sees’. I’ll deal with the term ‘must see’ in a later blog but….oh…how hidden gems rips my knitting. Credit to the extraordinary Gary Larson for the cartoon below.
You won’t find true hidden gems on a tourist tips page with possibly hundreds of thousands of members. And if occasionally one does slip through then it probably won’t be hidden for long. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about keeping Skye’s beauty to ourselves, it’s about managing the flow. Also, our not so hidden spots, like the Fairy Pools and Neist Point are still gems and can still be magical if you follow the advice of your cheery (if sometimes weary) breakfast waitress.
So how do you find those places? First of all talk to people, me at breakfast, me by email once you’ve booked, your friends who’ve been to Scotland. Then read – not the Lonely Planet type guides which can be quite terrible (a shocking evening in flamenco bar in Seville comes to mind), but travel books and walk books from smaller publishing houses and /autobiography/fiction that will give you a rounded picture of our landscape and history. If you like Outlander then take the tour but don’t confuse what’s real and what isn’t – cultural sensitivity and all that.
I’m absolutely not saying that there’s anything wrong with going to the top spots, but if you’d like to take a sunset picture without sharing your space with lots of other photographers I might be your woman.
If you fancy a distillery tour that maybe isn’t the most well known one but which comes with added adventures then why not ask me?
If you’d like to take the smalls or the dog to a beach with a bit of swimming or paddling, some rockpooling and stunning views did you know you can just walk from the hotel?
Google is your friend here, but be ready to scroll on past pages of well known places to find what you’re looking for. Or why not book a personal tour, with pickup from the hotel with Tony of Skye Personal Tours? (skyepersonaltours.com) We can work together to build you an itinerary.
See you on the Travel Tips pages. I’ll be the one telling you not to turn your knickers inside out and that you pet the “hairy coos” at the risk of impalement.