Would like to surprise my friend with a birthday experience on Isle of Skye in October. She has been to Skye before (and has seen the famous spots) but I'm looking for fun/crazy/creative ideas/places to visit/things to do...like your favourite beach on all of Skye, favourite pub, or place for live music (she loves a good open mic night, etc.), or favourite restaurant? We are staying near Struan but have a car so able to drive anywhere. THANK YOU!
Hello Ginger Erin
Well you have chosen a good place to stay - nice and central, so that with a car you will be able to explore the whole island. You may not have chosen quite such a good time to come as the weather is likely to be 'variable' at best and downright disappointing at worst.
I don't think crazy is an adjective I would use to describe Skye, but then I live here and it all seems perfectly normal to me.
So to tackle the music first, I don't know of any open mic locations as such, but both the Old Inn in Carbost and the Edinbane Inn in Edinbane do have live music sessions from time to time. Obviously these are more frequent in the summer, but it would be worth you checking with both to see if there is anything happening while you are here.
You don't say whether you enjoy hiking, but if you do then that's the best way to see the most gorgeous spots on Skye, and without too many other people sharing the experience with you. Check out Walk Highlands website for some ideas of hikes. If your friend has already seen the hot spots, then you will want to avoid Fairy Pools, Old Man of Storr and Quiraing, but anuy of the other hikes listed under Skye would be worth checking out. My particular favourite is very close to Struan Oronsay Tidal Island Walk Another great walk is out to Waternish Head and you can check out the ruined church at Trumpan first, site of a clan massacre. Waternish Head Walk On this walk you have a good chance of seeing whales and/or dolphins and you get great views across to the Outer Islands. There are many, many other superb walks listed on the website.
Favourite restaurant? Well there are lots to choose from as long as you book in advance as capacity is limited. My personal favourite is the Lochbay Restaurant on the Waternish peninsula. Fantastic, Michelin starred food in a cosy fisherman's cottage, not overpriced, and served with care and fun. My husband's top pick is the Edinbane Lodge (not to be confused with the Inn in the same hamlet). It serves absolutely first class food, at very reasonable prices and like all the best places here uses ingredients sourced locally whenever possible. In Struan you also have a lovely little café called Bog Myrtle, which doubles as a quirky used book shop and also sells vintage Harris Tweed jackets etc.
Favourite beach? Well Skye is not famous for its beaches as we have very few sandy ones, unlike the Outer Hebrides. You could check out Talisker Bay - which is out about 5 miles beyond the distillery. It has a waterfall that pours out from the high cliffs, at one end and some dramatic sea stacks (rocks) at the other end. It is only sandy at low tide, but the sand is a dark grey, black colour which adds to the dramatic feel of the place.
The Coral Beach near Dunvegan is also worth a look. Not actually coral, but dessicated seaweed that looks and feels like fine white sand. Good chance of seeing seals from there.
Or there's Glenbrittle beach (south of the Fairy pools) which is sandy and there's a café at the campsite. From there you could also do a spectacular walk out to the Viking Canal which the Vikings dug so they could haul their long boats out of the sea and into a sheltered fresh water loch. There are also the remains of their dry docks, that they built so they could repair their boats. It's a long walk but worth it in my opinion and again chances of spotting dolphins off the coast, and the walk passes many cascades and small waterfalls that I think are better than the Fairy Pools. Also great views back into the Cullin hills. Rubhandunain walk
I am running out of space - but also just want to mention boat trips out of Elgol. They may still be running.
Thank you SO MUCH Skyegirl!!!! I can't thank you enough for your vivid descriptions and many suggestions. Just wonderful. Do you live on Skye or have you travelled there many times?
PS: just reread your message and I see that you live there. Lucky you!
Hi again Ginger Erin
Yes we live here, having retired here from England about 3 years ago, although my husband is Scottish. If you have any questions at all about Skye don't hesitate to ask.