The Road to Skye

Portree is the largest town on the Isle of Skye.
Portree is the largest town on the Isle of Skye.

From the fine, almost tropical, white sands of Claigon Coral Beach to the vast heather slopes of the Quiraing, the ethereal quality of Skye’s disparate geological wonders never fails to surprise.

Over the centuries this largest of the Inner Hebrides Islands has attracted everyone from film directors looking for Martian landscapes to would-be-kings looking to escape the clutches of Royal forces, and although a road bridge replaced the earlier ferry crossing in 1996, permanently tethering Skye to the Scottish mainland, it still feels a world apart from the rest of the British Isles.

In warmer months, the sun picks out every crag and boulder of Ben Tianavaig in forensic detail. But even in the height of summer, you’re just as likely to see its peak obscured by cloud and mist lingering eerily over the Sound of Raasay. Little wonder Viking invaders christened this place Skuy, Norse for ‘misty isle’.

Claigan Coral Beach on the Isle of Skye almost seems tropical thanks to its white sand.

Adaptability key to enjoyment

It pays to be adaptable to enjoy Skye. Be ready to grab that waterproof jacket from your bag if the weather changes as you pick your way through the waterfalls and rich mossy banks of Fairy Glen. Or, if the weather really has won, change tack and abandon your intended route for the comfort of the Taliser Whisky distillery on the shores of Loch Harport, or Dunvegan Castle, the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland.

Don’t worry about the new Subaru XV. It can take care of itself. The always-on Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive ensures you’ll always have the grip and traction to remain in complete control whatever terrain or weather conditions Skye can throw at you, while the EyeSight suite of driver assistance aids, including Pre-Collision Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist function means you and your passengers will feel as safe and secure in the car as it does on the road.

There’s plenty of road on the way to Skye. Almost six hours from Glasgow by car, the journey nort west gives ample opportunity to experience the smooth ride and handling benefits of the XV’s low-mounted Boxer engine. And to build up an appetite for dinner at Portree’s excellent Scorrybreac restaurant when you arrive, the perfect opportunity to plan tomorrow’s escape into nature. Perhaps watching the seals at Mingay conservation area or a trek to the Old Man of Storr, giant fingers of rock that reach skywards from Trotternsih Peninsula.

The Isle of Skye offers spectacular views and driving round the island offers a great way to see them.

Ideal destination for escapees

Skye has long been prized as a destination for escape. Bonnie Prince Charlie, the last Stuart claimant to the Crown, hid out on Skye in 1746 with the help of Captain John MacKinnon of Clan MacKinnon after the failure of the Jacobite Rising. Legend has it he showed his gratitude by bestowing on MacKinnon a recipe for a drink of whisky herbs and spices that would later be given the name ‘Drambuie’, which translates from Gaelic as ‘The drink that satisfies’. The story might be just that, but no one who visits Skye leaves feeling anything less than sated.

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