Monday, January 26, 2015

Isle of Skye: The Fairy Pools

I can't even tell you how excited I was to visit the Fairy Pools. (!!!!!!!!)<--- that excited.

There is surprisingly little information about them online, or there was a year ago. We asked some people on the Isle of Skye how to get there and some of them didn't even know what we were talking about. It came down to a B&B owner and some American tourists to get us pointed in the right direction.

All of that to say: It's really not that difficult to find; you just have to be looking for the itty bitty sign. I'm actually pretty sure that the sign is right off the main road and there's even a small gravel parking lot.

We got there around 11:00 on a Friday in the middle of summer and there were about two other people on the trail. As the day wore on (and we took our time), a few people passed us on the trail there and then back. I couldn't help but stop to take pictures of every single pool we passed.

It's a pretty easy trail; most of it is pretty flat or there are slight hills. We hiked it in rain boots and didn't have any problems. I saw some people in very impractical shoes (flats) and they seemed to be doing fine as well, although I would definitely recommend some type of water proof shoe or boot as you have to cross a small stream to get to the actual trail. If you're very adept at hopping across rivers, you may be able to make it over the rock trail without wet feet. I was wearing rain boots and feeling invincible, however,  so I walked right through the water.

There's also a U-shaped (or possibly it's a loop) trail that I'm fairly sure starts at the same place as the Fairy Pools trail, except it branches off at some point. It goes around and above the valley. We saw people hiking it the whole morning/afternoon. It looked really long but also fairly easy in that it looked they were at a pretty constant elevation. But what do I know, we didn't go on that trail!

There are so many pictures in this post. It took me forever to go through the 300+ I took of this location. I couldn't believe I had so many! Sorry, and also you're welcome because the Fairy Pools are so beautiful!

Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
I have no idea what that says in Scottish Gaelic but I'm assuming it is about the Fairy Pools. Or maybe it means parking. (Also, I am not the Fairy Pools. I know the sign is pointing toward me, but that's not what it means).
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Forrest is excited!
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
This is the small stream and waterfall we crossed before the fairy pools begin. 
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
The water was 10x bluer in real life and sometimes a gorgeous purple or green color depending on the rocks in each pool. I couldn't quite capture it, but I did my best!
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
The water looked so refreshing and I really wanted to go swimming except it was a little chilly out. As you can probably tell from that fact that I'm wearing layers and a wool headband.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
The fog was perfect. It covered the entire valley and lifted slightly as the day wore on. It felt that much more like a fairy land.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
The water was so clear and fresh and cold that we refilled out water bottles and Forrest drank straight from the stream (and also dunked his head).

Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
I would never have believed this was a real place if I didn't take the photo with my own hands!
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Also, I matched the heather (I love heather).
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
If it had been warmer, I would have jumped in.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
The rocks were cut here, but I don't know why!
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
That's three different colors of heather that I photographed..
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
This place was almost tropical looking in some parts. I seriously couldn't get enough.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
And then Forrest stepped off the path and promptly sank into the mud. Thank goodness for wellies!
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Fairy Pools
My last picture is time stamped 2:00. So we spent three hours on a (probably) one-hour hike. If you ever go to the Isle of Skye, make sure you take some time to visit the Fairy Pools and go early. If you're lucky, it will be deliciously foggy as it was for us and nearly deserted, which is very convenient for when you want to take way too many pictures and ridiculous amounts of selfies without feeling self-concious. 

Thanks for taking the time to look through so many photos! These are probably one of my favorite sets of photos that I have ever taken.





P.S. Parts 123456 of our 2013 Scotland trip. 

A little more Isle of Skye is up next and then our trip to Oban and Fingal's Cave (which was awwwesommme).





Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Isle of Skye: Neist Point Lighthouse

The Isle of Skye is one of the prettiest places I have ever been. I definitely over-romanticized it in my mind before we left on our trip but the beauty of the island was even greater than I was expecting.

We took the bridge across to Skye. There is also a ferry from Maillag but the bridge made more sense for us at the time. Also, it's a really pretty bridge.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
The bridge and a little bit of Skye once you cross over to the island:
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
We decided to go right to Neist Lighthouse and scout out places to pitch a tent along the way. If I remember correctly, there's really only one main road that goes around the island so it's not very difficult to find your way around.

The weather, once we got to Neist Lighthouse, was awful. The rain was a steady mist and we were drenched within 10 minutes. The walk to the lighthouse is pretty steep in places but it's paved which is much easier to walk on than, say, mud.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
The lighthouse is on the other side of that big hill and we had already walked down the giant hill from the parking lot.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
All of those things sticking up by the water are stacked up rocks. The compulsion is real.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
I didn't do a ton of research before we came to Skye, but I had assumed that the lighthouse was open for visitors. I was a little disappointed to find out that it isn't, but the views (and the sheep!) were definitely worth the visit. 
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
The lighthouse was built in 1900 and is now automated which is why they don't allow tours, I suppose. There is a cottage or two around the base of the lighthouse but they seem to be deserted/abandoned. 
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
Of course, once we climbed back up the steep path and got back into the car, the rain stopped and the sun peeked out. We were very thankful for we do not enjoy setting up a tent in the rain.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
I took a (misty) picture of Dunvegan Castle as we drove by it. We were too late to stop by the castle, but a lady who claimed to own it (or her family owned it?) wouldn't let us camp on her land a few miles away when we ever so politely inquired. Then she told us not to put anything in her garbage bins. Theoretically, you are legally allowed to camp anywhere in Scotland for one night (and when most of Scotland is private land, well, I would assume that many people don't ask permission) so it was slightly disheartening as the sun dropped lower and we still didn't have a place to rest our tired bones.  We thought finding places would be easier since Scotland (and in particular, Skye) is such an outdoorsy place and wild camping seems to be encouraged and endorsed online.

It is sort of hard to be disheartened though, when views like this are around every single bend in the road.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
We were giving up hope of ever finding a spot when we chanced upon an open gate (!) into an empty lot and found many old fire rings. We took this as a sign, picked our favorite ring, and plunked our tent right next to it. Nobody came by and told us to leave or arrested us or anything so I guess that's what one would call a success.
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse
I took this last picture specifically for Megan because I thought she would be impressed. ;) We camped by a lot of trees. (Not pictured: the millions of mosquito bites I got before the bug spray.)
Three First Names: Isle of Skye-Neist Point Lighthouse









Also:
Eilean Donan
Glenfinnan House and Viaduct
Loch Lomond/The Highlands
Hadrian's Wall
Peckforton Castle