An Epic Winter Tour To Skye
Having only started the new business back in August 2022 we had a fantastic start to the season albeit mid way through the season, we have been so lucky to have had such lovely folk on the tours since we started, having laughs and very interesting conversations along the way.
We have finished off this year with the most Epic winter tour to the Isle of Skye with Kevin, Claire and one of their 3 sons Finn who is currently at University studying a Photography degree so he was very excited especially to visit the Isle of Skye and not knowing when they booked the tour a few months ago that they would be graced with a winter wonderland on the way to the Isle of Skye and also on Skye to witness an absolutely stunning landscape covered in snow!
I picked Kevin, Claire and Finn up on Friday afternoon from Inverness Airport and took them to their hotel in Inverness city centre for them to relax for the evening before picking them up Saturday morning for what would turn out to be the most Epic Sgurr Tour to date!
We left Inverness early doors at 07:45 on Saturday and headed down the side of Lochness as it was starting to get light, stopping off at Urquhart Castle for a viewpoint photo, then as we headed down the loch towards Invermorriston the weather closed in on us and suddenly the snow hit us hard as we arrived at the Thomas Telford Bridge in Invernmorriston, and what a magical view that was! Thick snow coming down covering the old bridge, we got some epic shots there before heading off down Glen Morriston only to be faced by a complete blanket of snow which covered the road and trees, I quote from Finn “This looks like Narnia, from The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe” and he was dead right it really did look like Narnia, we had to stop in the road so that Finn could jump out and get some shots of the snowy road 🙂
We made our way towards the Isle of Skye taking in the snowy road and landscape as we drove down Loch Cluanie, stopping off to take some photos of the deer crossing the river then stopping off down in Glen Shiel for a photo stop.
As we arrived at Eilean Donan Castle we were met by a car park which had turned into an ice skating rink which was interesting walking like Bambi across the carpark. After a break at the castle we headed off onto the Isle of Skye and stopped off at The Deli Gasta in Broadford for a lovely lunch before heading off to the iconic Fairy Pools. The road conditions to the pools were pretty bad to say the least with all passing places covered in snow and ice, we thought we had made it to the Pools car park without meeting anyone, then we suddenly met a camper van and a car, where the van proceeded to get stuck in the snow, after waiting a few minutes we all had to jump out and push them out of the snow! As there were no passing places for us to get around them I used my amazing driving skills to reverse and reversed 0.5 miles back down the road to find a place they could pass us.
Eventually we got back on route after wasting over 30 minutes or so pushing a camper van and a car out of the snow and reversing half a mile down the road, we arrived at the Fairy Pools car park later than we would have liked and the car park which was inaccessible, so we had to abandon the van on the side of the road. We then went for a hike up to the Fairy Pools where the weather changed yet again and was hacking with rain and wind, we made it up to the Fairy Pools and took some epic shots of the Fairy Pools before heading back to the van just making it back in time before it got dark and meeting a few tourists on the way back up who clearly were not dressed for the occasion like we were!
We headed to Portree where I dropped Kevin, Claire and Finn at their hotel for a well earned rest before day 2 of the most epic adventure to The Old Man of Stòr.
We left the hotel at 08:00 and headed up to the Old Man of Stòr, the roads were pretty bad and got to the carpark ok and started our epic adventure up the Old Man of Stòr.
The weather was ok, pretty overcast but at least it wasn’t raining or battering us with snow, the main initial track was just sheet ice which took us some time to get up slipping and sliding all over the place only to be passed by some nutter running up the track with his husky dog, he clearly had spikes on his running shoes because there was no way he had some sort of Spidey feet that stuck to ice. If I said it was an easy hike up to the viewpoint I would be lying! It was hard going especially when the main path finished and with a foot of snow to hike through and in places a few feet which we all found out pretty quickly by falling into holes of snow up to our waist a few times which was rather amusing and Finn having to be rescued by his Dad after falling into a hole up to his waist and was not able to get out! 🙂
The views up the top were absolutely magical, the Old Man of Stòr with a dusting of snow and snow all around us and the frozen Lochan’s below us, it was absolutely epic, we were lucky with the weather as the snow and rain held off for us and we had some great light up on the hill. We then proceeded back down the hill and towards the Old Man of Stòr itself capturing some epic photos on the way. In all the years I have been in and around Skye and having lived on Skye I had never been able to venture up this hill in the snow so it really was an amazing experience not just for Kevin, Claire and Finn but for me also, truly magical.
We made it back to the van windswept, I even had wind burn on my face so I was looking rather flushed after that wee jaunt up the hill. We headed back to Portree for a well earned lunch at the Portree Hotel where we had fish and chips, burgers and chicken, a great lunch. By the time we finished our lunch it was onto another location which needed to be visited, down at Sligachan Old Bridge where the car park was like an ice skating rink! The weather at this point really turned on us and was windy and raining, we managed to catch a few shots at the Old Bridge for a short while before heading back towards Portree. We stopped off at what used to be the Aros centre now owned by the Isle of Skye Candle Company and had an amazing hot chocolate and cake whilst being entertained by a bunch of locals playing traditional music on guitars, fiddles, small pipes, harp and a mandolin which was a really cool experience for us all.
We then headed back to the hotel so that we could catch the World Cup final and a well earned rest before day 3.
We left the Isle of Skye on Monday and headed back towards Inverness stopping off at Plockton to take in the quaint wee village and views over the loch for a short while before heading along to the Ledgowan Lodge Hotel for a coffee break, a beautiful Victorian Hunting lodge now a family run hotel for a quick recharge before heading down into Kinlochewe and Torridon, along to Torridon for lunch at the Wee Whistle Stop cafe and had a lovely lunch there, highly recommended.
We then headed off back down Glen Torridon, stopping off at the Torridon car park where we were met by the local stag who likes to hang out in the carpark and pose for photos there and took some cool shots of him before walking around to a wee loch to capture some photos there.
It was then time to head back to Inverness and dropped Kevin, Claire and Finn to their hotel where they chilled out for the evening before the day 4 adventure.
As we had had a few epic days and early starts we decided a slightly later start would be nice so we left Inverness at 09:00 on Tuesday and headed back down Lochness to Glen Affric. The weather had changed quite significantly and all the snow had melted on the roads from the past few days and was now at a decent temperature. We got down to Glen Affric car park which was still like an ice skating rink still and took a short walk up to the viewpoint and grabbed some nice shots up there before taking a walk around the river path of the River Affric which was lovely. Finn eventually managed to get his drone up in the air which I think he was pleased about as the weather had been slightly dodgy on Skye to do so. We then headed back down Glen Affric and headed into Drumnadrochit for some great lunch at the Ness Deli and an amazing chocolate cake, After lunch it was time to head to the airport and drop Kevin, Claire and Finn back at the airport and say our goodbyes.
After spending 4 days with Kevin, Claire and Finn I realised that spending this much time with my clients I really get to know these people, hearing about their travels, their life, family and stories, and it really makes me happy to hear that they had an amazing time with me, I could not have asked for a better bunch of folk to finish off the 2022 season with, such great people, not only is Finn studying photography at University both Kevin and Claire are also super talented in the arts with their paintings and creative skills all of them had some amazing work they showed me. Please head over to see Finn’s work on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/southoptic/ a super talented 18 year old who will I am sure go a long way with whatever he does in life, a great lad and talented too. All in all an epic tour with amazing folk and amazing landscapes, thank you to Kevin, Claire and Finn for making the whole experience totally epic and being up for anything along the way. Many thanks to Finn for sending over some of his images to add to this Blog.