The dramatic, rugged landscape of the Isle of Skye draws many visitors every year and it's not hard to see why. Despite being one of the most visited places in Scotland, the island retains a special remote beauty and isolation. The island comes with everything you'd expect from Scotland- historic castles, lochs and dramatic mountains, as well as being home to abundant wildlife such as the golden eagle, red deer and otters.
One of the best ways to experience the Isle of Skye is by foot, and walks range from easy and relaxed to more challenging treks across the island. The wet and moody weather is all part of the experience, so be sure to bring a rain jacket. Even the easier walks offer beautiful views and fairytale scenery.
If you don't have your own car, buses from Portree, the capital, stop at the beginning of many walks and popular spots. You can ask the bus driver to drop you off anywhere along the route, and if you're lucky, you might get a bus driver that enjoys doubling as a tour guide. Don't be afraid to talk to the locals, they're a friendly bunch.
One of the most popular walks on the Isle of Skye, the walking track can become quite crowded on busier days. The Old Man of Storr is a distinctive pinnacle of rock that forms part of the Trotternish Ridge. It can be seen from miles around, especially on a clear day, and is located a few kilometres from Portree.
It's a relatively easy, but uphill walking path up to the Old Man of Storr which begins by the main road. It takes around a hour and a half return, with fantastic views from the top of the Cuiliin Hills and Storr Lochs. The final climb to the base of the 'Old Man' is quite steep and rocky, so you might choose to admire from a distance instead.
A fairly easy 6km return journey, the walk out to Rubha Hunish will take you right out to the northernmost tip of the Isle of Skye. This is a magical walk that's of special interest to wildlife lovers, as the tip of the headland is the best place for spotting dolphins, porpoise and whales, especially in July and August.
Beginning at the small carpark located near the Kilmaluag phone box, take the path that crosses over the fields, where you'll get some great views of the abandoned settlements of Erisco to your left. You'll soon reach a gate and after passing through, the path that follows will eventually lead you to the summit of Meall Tauth.
Climbing up you'll reach the look out 'bothy', a type of Scottish mountain hut that offers walkers both shelter and accommodation. The bothy is maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association and if you're adventurous enough (and the bothy is free), you might like to settle in and stay the night.
Heading back down the path, you'll reach a series of gates that leds to the start of the descent to the headland between large boulders. While it may look too steep to scramble down, it's actually a lot less challenging than it seems. The faint hearted may want to skip this part of the walk, but those that make it down will be rewarded with spectacular views. There's also the chance to spot otters and birdlife such as shags, gannets and razorbills. If you're really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a whale or dolphins.
The fairy glen is a bizarre and unique landscape of distinctively shaped hills that could have been plucked straight from a children's story. The glen was actually formed by a series of landslides which were then smoothed over time. There are no signs to the fairy glen which makes it something of a hidden gem, but it's easy to find if you know the way.
Starting on the A87 main road, take the path that leads up from The Uig Hotel (the sign is marked for Sheader and Balnaknock). Passing a series of farms and houses, you'll eventually reach the start of the glen which is impossible to miss.
Explore the hilly landscape, where you'll find a loch, a small brook and stone circles full of wishes from visitors. You can also climb Castle Ewen, the rocky tower that sits near the middle of the glen and provides great views of the surrounding area. The Fairy Glen helps you understand why the Isle of Skye is so immersed in fantastic folklore and legends.