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Isle of Skye, Old Man of Storr and Fairy Pools

Is it best to go on a tour to visit these sites or attempt to go it on our own? We want the most out of our time. We will arrive at Broadford (lodging) in the afternoon and will have the rest of that day and all of the next before moving on to Inverness the next morning.

Posted by
1227 posts

If you have a rental car you can easily do it yourself. Old Man of Storr is north of Portree on the Trotternish peninsula. Fairy Pools is north of Broadford and then left at Sligachan and left again to head towards Carbost. Both sites will be incredibly busy.

Posted by
321 posts

The best view of the Old Man of the Storr is to hike to the top, but that is just my opinion. I doubt a tour would give you the time to do it.

I doubt a tour to the Fairy Pools would give you much time to hike to all the falls there either. Won’t lie, Fairy Pools was a bit hairy to get to as a good section is single track with pot holes and there is a lot of traffic.

Was at both sites last week with a rental.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you both for your suggestions. We will go it on our own.

Posted by
1667 posts

Yes, definitely drive yourself. This way you can stay as long as you want. We found the driving to be quite easy. Not scary at all. My husband and a friend shared the driving. I don't recall potholes on the way to the Fairy Pools but this was June 2023. The carpark at the Fairy Pools is quite large. There were lots of cars when we were there, but honestly, once you start walking you don't really notice the people because the area is large, and people are spread out. You won't be walking shoulder to shoulder.

When you are at the Fairy Pools, depending on what else you do that day, you can have lunch at The Old Inn located on Loch Harport. We had a table outdoors overlooking the loch and all 4 of us loved our meals.

If you are whisky drinkers, you could also have a tour and tasting at the Talisker Distillery.

Posted by
1227 posts

Sadly the roads have deteriorated a lot this past year and I see many rental cars with blown tyres as I go about the island. Best advice is not to get too near the edge of the road as the edges are very rough and can easily shred a tyre.

The pub in Carbost is a good recommendation. Talisker distillery now have a pop up restaurant in partnership with The Three Chimneys, reservations essential. Tours of the distillery also require reservations. The drink drive limits in Scotland are low so the driver should ask for a driver’s dram to take away.

Posted by
28 posts

Both times I hiked the Old Man was starting from Portree. First time I took a local bus from Portree to the Old Man. The bus dropped me off at the furthest stop and I walked across a long grassy expanse of terrain before actually reaching a trailhead. Once on the trail I worked my way back towards the other side ending up at the actual trailhead where a car park is near by. Before setting foot off the bus you have to know in advance where the bus stops are located and the times they run. Very crucial. Because I had to walk down from the car park which took a decent walk down to a gift shop and even a little further to a small grocery store located off the main road leading back to Portree. The bus stops running at a certain time so know when and how long you’ll be hiking for. I made the last bus in the nick of time or else I had to walk what I think would have been 8-10 miles back to Portree. That or hitchhike which I don’t recommend.
Second trip four years later my wife and I drove our rental car and that was the best thing we did because you have the freedom of knowing you’re not restricted to the schedule of a bus route. Because we had a car we managed to hike both the Old Man and The QUIRIANG on the same day.
Hopefully my experiences helps your decision making to Skye.