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What to see in one short day on The Isle Of Skye at the end of October?

We will only have a few hours to see anything in the Isle Of Skye at the end of October.

We will have a car. We were wondering what route would be the best and where to you recommend stopping.

The night before we plan on being in Fort William if that helps. We are hubby 48 ( some mobility issues) me (45 and not as fit as I once was) and my 72 year old mom who loves beautiful views and quaint main streets with souvenir shops.

I know this is not much time. We are in the U.K. for 31 days but 10 are in London and 21 days to see as much as possible Of England Wales and Scotland are making things tight.

Also, if it's a cloudy day, would you still visit Skye if you were in our shoes?

Posted by
5678 posts

Where do you need to be next and when. Skye is a big island. The drive from Fort William to Mallaig is gorgeous. You need to ride a ferry to to get to Skye, so check the schedules. It's abut an hour to drive there, but you'll want to stop and Glenfinnan so factor that in. I've not done the drive from Armadale up to the A87, but all the drives on Skye are beautiful. I suggest that you drive up to Sligachan. You'll get wonderful views of the Cuilins. You could go on to Portree, and see the painted houses, or you could turn around and go to Elgol and get a good view of the Black Cuilins. It too is a pretty drive. I think take you to Kyle of Lochalsh. Eilean Donan Castle is just down the road. If you're pressed for time take a pix and move on. The castle is okay, but there are lots of castles in Scotland. This one is all about the location.

If it's cloudy I would still go. Clouds come and go rather rapidly in the west. But if it is pouring rain, then maybe not. Check to the forecast and see when that black cloud is moving on.

Pam

Posted by
776 posts

We are going on to Eileen Donan and then Loch Ness then onto Inverness.

Posted by
776 posts

We plan on seeing as much as we can in one day ( no hiking) and then plan to make our way to Inverness the next day if that makes sense.

Posted by
9720 posts

You're driving from Fort William and going to Skye and staying in Skye that night?

It's a bit of a drive. And remember the days are getting shorter in late October. I found the drives in Scotland at least that way always took longer than I thought and were more stressful than they might have appeared (small roads, lots of curves, and BIG TRUCKS AND BUSES coming from the other direction).

Posted by
776 posts

Yup, that is the plan. We are in Fort William and want to get to the Isle and see what we can then go to bed. Next morning drive to Eilean Donan, then onto Loch Ness and hopefully sleep in Inverness.

We are 2 drivers and that is the only time we have available.

Posted by
3122 posts

I suggest you stay in Dornie, next to Eilean Donan. Get an early morning start from Fort William and either take the Mallaig ferry or drive to Isle of Skye via the Kyle of Lochalsh bridge. If you take the ferry, you'll see some scenery just driving from Armadale to the Kyle of Lochalsh bridge. You can pretty much plan on cloudy weather if not actual rain, but don't let that stop you.

I would have said you might have time to drive up to Dunvegan Castle before day's end, but I see that Dunvegan is closed from October 15 until springtime.

I can recommend the Dornie Hotel, literally walking distance from Eilean Donan Castle, which is open all year. The hotel is affordable, clean, has a good restaurant/pub.

Posted by
1650 posts

Please note Eilean Donan closes on 29/10 this year for the season.

Posted by
776 posts

Can you still see these castles from the outside even if they are closed?

Posted by
776 posts

Looks like Eilean Donan Castle is open past October with times of 10 am to 4 pm.

Sniff sniff, we are not able to see Dunvegan castle. Is there somewhere to drive to that has a view of the castle so we can at least take a picture?

Posted by
9720 posts

I just don't know that I would make all that effort to go that far at that time of year for that little time. You are going to be exhausted, just so you can check it off your "list."

Why not go to Glenfinnan instead - you could drive as far as Mallaig if you insisted and back to Glenfinnan, or just go to Glenfinnan itself . .stay at the lovely Glenfinnan House and enjoy a cozy evening there . . . .

I'm really worried that Skye is just a bit too far with the time that you have.

Posted by
6113 posts

Skye is a huge distance out of the way for so little time there. You will be able to tick the box that you have been there, but you will have little time to enjoy it, particularly if you are stopping at Eilean Donan. Many roads are narrow, single tracks and it takes time to navigate around. I was there last July and the Cuillins were covered in cloud for 2 entire days, so they weren't visible at all, despite standing at over 3,000 ft, so be prepared for limited /no visibility! I would not visit if the forecast were for fog. Expect cloud in Scotland!

In October, it will be dark by 5pm.

A more stunning route rather than the cheesy Loch Ness with its traffic problems is to take the A835/A835 to Inverness and stop off at Rogie Falls. It is about the same distance and travel time.

Posted by
776 posts

I guess we will see what the forecast calls for but this is disappointing.

We planned to leave Fort William at 8-8:30 in the morning. Then hopefully be on the Isle in 2 hours so around by 11 at the latest. We figured we would tour around until dark and then head to a pub then bed, get up the next morning and head out to Eilean Donan for a couple of hours then onto Inverness with a quick stop in Loch Ness for a stupid photo opp. Mom and Hubby really want to go and to admit it so do I. Plan on sleeping in Inverness for 2 nights.

It seems possible on paper but everyone here seems to think not.

We will have to think about it.

Posted by
18 posts

Actually, we did exactly what you want to do in 2014 and plan to do it again the first week of September this year - taking my 84 yr old mother with us this time! We slept in a cute B&B in Fort William, drove to Mallaig (STUNNING drive!), took the ferry to Armadale, drove to Portree (we are stopping in Sligachan this time as the drive to Portree wasn't worth the time), then took the bridge at Kyle to Dornie to spend the night at a B&B. Got there around 18.00. Will stay at the Dornie Hotel this time as ate dinner there and the people and food were wonderful.
It was a fairly long day but we cannot wait to do it again!

Posted by
69 posts

So, we did something similar in April 2015 on the spur of the moment. Ditching our previous plans, we left very early (~8-9 am) from Inverness (taking a lesser known route to Kyle of Lochalsh and then over the Skye Bridge) then followed the A87 all the way up to Portree, then taking the A855 to a road which is not showing a name on Google maps, but which goes through the Quiraing to Uig and connected back to the A87, which we followed back down and onwards towards Inverness via A87 to A82. This route was recommended by the tourist office in Portree (they also have free maps, stop there!), and it was perfect. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, though obviously we'd like to go back and spend much more time on Skye.

It was a massively long day and we were blessed with beautiful weather, but we absolutely do not regret it. It was probably the highlight of our trip, but given it was spring, the sunset around 8 pm, so a little different from October. We also hiked up to the Old Man at the Storr (which took awhile and btw you can see from the road if you drive PAST where everyone parks), stopped at Kilt Rock/Mealt Falls (virtually no walk, you will be able to do this) and several other very beautiful sites. The only thing we didn't get to do was walk to Fairy Pools.

I can verify that even if Eilean Donan is not open, you can stop in the parking lot and take pictures, as we did this right as the sun set (with a ton of other tourists). I wouldn't waste time on Dunvegan when there is much more to be seen.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
776 posts

Awesome.....

Thank you so much for the great info.

We are planning to do the route that Pamela explains in her response and then sleep in Kyle of Lochalsh for the night.

See Eilean Donan Castle the next am, drive to Loch Ness for a quick stop and photo opp then sleep in Inverness for 2 nights.

Sounds magical.....Can't wait.