Fort William Area in Scotland: 6 Great Things To Do

We headed for Fort William after an amazing time in Isle Of Skye. In this post:

  1. See the Harry Potter Hogwarts train and Jacobite Monument at Glenfinnan
  2. Take the Nevis Mountain Range Gondola
  3. Visit the Glencoe Visitor Center
  4. Check out the ruins of Inverlochy Castle, home of the Comyns
  5. Have a special dinner at Inverlochy Castle Hotel
  6. Drive through Glencoe to get to Stirling

Our next stop in Scotland was a one-night stay in Fort William. Read on to find out some of the great things to see in that area!

1. Harry Potter Hogwarts Train and Jacobite Monument at Glenfinnan

We drove from Portree on Skye towards Fort William, and decided to stop on the way at Glenfinnan. The parking lot of the museum was incredibly crowded with tour buses and cars, and we had to park up the road around half a mile away at a small church. We didn’t do it, but many people climb the small hill behind the museum to get a good viewing spot to watch the Hogwarts Train cross the cool viaduct bridge. We just went across the street to see the Jacobite Monument (lovely!), and while we were there, the train with lots of steam, chugging and whistles crossed the huge long viaduct bridge. It was pretty cool to watch, and part of me regretted not jostling with the rest of humanity to get a closer view from the hill, but from our vantage point it was good enough. You can purchase tickets to ride the train here. And if you hate crowds, just do like we did and watch from across the street!

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2. Take the Nevis Range Mountain Gondola 

The Nevis Range Gondola will take you to the top of the 8th largest mountain in Great Britain. Along the way and at the top you can experience incredible views of the mountains and beautiful landscape in the area. It is also cool to see the mountain bike track down the mountain and imagine being good enough on a mountain bike to take that crazy track down! We had a meal at the top (not great), and walked around a bit for the views. It was very, very windy and a bit cold. We went to the little hut that is the starting gate for the Fort William Downhill World Cup for mountain biking—and looking down, I had no regrets about not trying it!!

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3. Glencoe Visitor Center

We next went to the Glencoe Visitor Center, a little out of our way as we were planning to drive past it the next day, but figured we had time and could go ahead and do it that day and save travel time the next day. There really wasn’t much at the visitor center, just a small museum, gift shop and cafe. We had a snack and enjoyed the view from there, but if you aren’t hiking and need advice, I would skip it. We did, however, enjoy reading about the Glencoe Massacre of the MacDonalds. For Game of Thrones Fans, this is supposedly the inspiration for the Red Wedding.

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4. Visit the ruins of Inverlochy Castle

Back in Fort William we passed a sign for the original Inverlochy Castle, so left the main road to check it out. It is a romantic set of ruins along a beautiful small river. There are some educational signs to help you picture the castle in its glory days. This was the home of the powerful Comyn family. John Comyn was a rival to the Scottish Throne with Robert the Bruce, and was killed by him and Robert’s allies. It is worth a stop and a look around!

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5. Splurge Dinner at Inverlochy Castle Hotel

We stayed at Factors Inn, which is much cheaper than Inverlochy Castle Hotel, and you are still able to eat breakfast at the Hotel and use its amenities. Our room was fairly basic, but comfortable. As we were still celebrating our anniversary, we had booked a special dinner at the Albert and Michel Roux Jr. Castle Restaurant. It is a very small restaurant but very elegant. The food was really good and the service was outstanding. I highly recommend it for a special dinner.

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6. Drive through Glencoe to Stirling

We had a great breakfast at the castle, and then drove through the jaw-dropping beautiful mountains of Glencoe. Everywhere you looked it was absolutely beautiful, despite a bit of a murky day with lots of clouds. I would love to drive through again on a clear day, but even so, it was a beautiful drive.

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Final Thoughts

Have you visited the Fort William area? I know I skipped mentioning hiking Ben Nevis (the highest summit in the UK). I wish we had the energy and time to do so, but that is something you may be interested in adding to your time in Fort William. Check back soon for a post about our next destination of Stirling!

Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica: Top 10 Things to Know

 

We love Sandals Resorts, especially because they are adults-only and all-inclusive. We have been to three others (click the links to see my reviews): Royal Plantation; Grenada; and Royal Caribbean. Our most recent Sandals visit was to Sandals Montego Bay. Here are the top 10 things to know about Sandals Montego Bay:

In this post:

  1. Arrival
  2. Rooms
  3. Beach
  4. Bars & Entertainment
  5. Restaurants
  6. Shuttle to Sandals Royal Caribbean
  7. Staff
  8. Room Service
  9. Weather
  10. Pools
  11. Final Word

What I love about Sandals Montego Bay is the long oceanfront and beach. With such a long footprint, many of the rooms are on the beach or have a view of the ocean. Our philosophy is that if we are going to a beach, we need to be ON the beach or at least have a great view of it from our room. Many of the restaurants and bars are also oceanfront, which is perfect as we always love dining with a view. 

1. Arrival

Getting to Jamaica is pretty easy. There are lots of flights and airlines that service Montego Bay airport. The resort is a 10 minute ride from the airport, which gets you on the beach super fast. The caveat is airline noise starting around 830 am and throughout the day, but you get used to it. We just always felt sorry for the poor people having to leave, and it was a reminder to make the most of our time there.

Airport customs and immigration wasn’t too time-consuming, but if you hate waiting in lines, the airport offers Club Mobay, where you can pay to have someone escort you through fast-track customs and immigration and get you to the Sandals Lounge faster. If you hate waiting in lines, I suggest looking online at the Montego Bay airport schedule of arrivals, and if a lot of planes are arriving around the same time as yours, maybe spring for the Fast Track. We didn’t use it this time, but got through fairly quickly (maybe 20 minutes?). We arrived at the Sandals Lounge, gave them our names, used the restroom, and within 5 minutes they were calling us to take us to our resort. Check in was simple at the resort (you can check in online ahead of time). We ate a quick lunch on the beach and then our room was ready and our butler escorted us to it.

2. Rooms

We booked onsite while we were at Sandals Grenada. With our Sandals Select Rewards, the 12 percent discount from booking onsite, plus 10 percent off for military, and then watching the Sandals online 777 sales ,we received a super deal on our room, which was a Beachfront Millionaire One-Bedroom Butler Suite with Tranquility Soaking tub (M1). I did a lot of research on the Montego Bay Facebook Fan page, and since we love a quiet, chill vacation, we chose this room type. These are all the way down near the new Over-the-Water Wedding Chapel, which is, by the way, a beautiful place to get married or re-tie the knot:

 

When we booked I requested (which you don’t always get) to be in the original M1s, which are in Cottage 15, a group of six rooms. They had added a few buildings that had M1s, but I didn’t like the layout of the ones over the swim up rooms. We love sitting on a balcony, but we were given a walkout this time. Our room had a sectional couch and table right on the beachfront. We loved hanging out there in the morning shade, eating breakfast, and in the evening having drinks and appetizers out there. We also had a large double lounger on our patio that was awesome for afternoon naps! It was so convenient to walk from our sliding doors right to our spot on the beach under a palapa…this was an incredible walk out room and I highly recommend it! Please see my video tour below:

 

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3. Beach

beach at Sandals Montego Bay Jamaica
Morning beach time

As mentioned earlier, Sandals Montego Bay has a long beachfront. In some spots the beach isn’t very wide, but if you can score chairs along there, it is nice and quiet and no one sits in front of you. Our Butler reserved us a pair of chairs on one side of a palapa, and people can sit on the other side if they want, but most days no one did. I needed shade and the palapa was key for me. The Butlers also bring you a cooler full of drinks and will bring you lunch and snacks if you request them.

If you are in a butler level room, you are given a butler phone and you can call them. In many cases, they will call you to see if you need anything. There are beach waiters/waitresses, and our room was near the over-the-water bar. If we were feeling the need for a drink, we could go there easily or just hit our own refrigerator/bar in our room. 

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The beach was nice, the sand was soft and the staff worked hard all day raking up the sea grass. While we were there it was very windy and the safety flag turned green for maybe about 3 hours on one day. I went in the ocean, but by us the bottom was a bit slimy and with the winds it was rough and hard to stand, so I really only went in once, unfortunately. There were no swim rings by us. Farther up and closer to the pools and restaurants, the beach was wider, there were tons of loungers, and the water there had swim rings. That area would get really busy and had a more party-like atmosphere.

4. Bars & Entertainment

As mentioned above, there is an over-the-water bar. If you love ocean views, they cannot get any better than at this bar. There are fire pits and couches on the pier leading to it, and encircling the bar are awesome over-the-water hammocks for lounging, and plenty of seating around the bar, too. We loved sitting there at sunset, enjoying a pre-dinner drink and watching the sky change colors.

 

Over the water bar at Sandals Montego Bay
Awesome Over-the-Water Bar–our favorite place for watching the sunset.

There was also a bar by the party pool, and in the main area/lobby of the resort called The Living Room. We mainly used the over-the-water one. There was also one outside of the non-oceanfront restaurants, it looked really nice and intimate.

 

Sandals Montego Bay over the water bar at sunset
Lovely sunsets at Montego Bay!

As for entertainment, they usually had a theme night each evening, such as Reggae, Beach Party, Manager’s Cocktail party, etc. Unfortunately, with our later dinner reservations we really weren’t able to participate in any of the entertainment, but when we walked by it looked really fun and lively. We got up so early each day we were worn out by the time the real parties started around 10 pm–getting older really cramps the party style!

5. Restaurants

Sandals Montego Bay has great restaurants, and a lot of them! The best ones need reservations, and unfortunately you are unable to make a reservation until after you are officially checked in for 30 minutes, which to me is weird and takes a lot of time away from your fun in the sun. If you don’t have a butler, you have to go back to the Sandals Club Lounge to make reservations after you check in.

It would be awesome if you could go ahead and make them while you wait to check in. I get it, you need a room number, but at Grenada they just had a written list of reservations for each restaurant and checked that and added our names. There just seems like there should be a more efficient way of doing this, especially for those at Club and Luxury Level who have to make their own reservations. 

Our Butler made our reservations and luckily we got the ones we wanted. When I was Club level at Royal Caribbean we were unable to get all the ones we wanted. I suspect that butler guests get most of the priority reservations.

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At Montego Bay the reservation-only restaurants are Butches Steakhouse and Cucina Romana. You have access and an easy shuttle ride to Sandals Royal Caribbean (10 minutes away) where you need reservations for Le Jardinier and The Royal Thai. At all the other restaurants you can just show up and request a table.

What’s great about Sandals restaurants is that they are all usually good. We were excited to try the new Butch’s, as we loved the one at Grenada. This one was just OK, the steak (filet) wasn’t that great, and to be honest it was more about seafood. The staff was great and they did a special birthday recognition for me, which was very sweet. But don’t sweat it if you can’t score reservations here. We were not really impressed, unfortunately. 

The good restaurants (for me) here are Cucina Romana (Italian) which is fabulous and so far consistent for the three resorts we have visited. Tokyo Joe’s was excellent, we loved choosing our own ingredients and watching them cook it with lots of fire and smoke. The pizza for lunch was very good, we ate breakfast out one morning at Cucina (just ok), and ate a lot of room service or butler-delivered items like chicken from the Jerk Shack (good). Here is a short video of the chef at Tokyo Joe’s (so fun!):

One evening we stopped at Bayside (outdoor dining) to have an after-dinner serving of escargot, one of my favorites (good). We liked the sweets, ice cream and crepes at Cafe de Paris as well. As I do not like seafood, I can’t speak for the other restaurants. When I visited Montego Bay while staying at SRC in November, we visited Soy for sushi (I got a chicken appetizer) and my daughter loved the sushi—it also had great ambiance. 

We had two reservations during our stay for restaurants at SRC: Le Jardinier (French) and The Royal Thai (Thai). Le Jardiner had a beautiful atmosphere in a garden setting and the food was very good (again, yummy escargot). The Royal Thai is on the private island and you take a boat to it. It is also open air seating, and the night we went it was very, very windy. We arrived early and they offered us a table in a very exposed area with lots of wind. The food was excellent but we were a bit wind-battered by the end of dinner.

Remember you can always go to the maitre d’ at any of the restaurants and order food to go. We did that several times, especially at Le Jardinier, where one night we ordered escargot as an appetizer and then later a dessert. They have a great, rich chocolaty dessert, which was unusually difficult to find at either resort for some reason.

Keep in mind that if you take a shuttle to SRC, you have to work around their break schedule and either go early and kill time before hand at that resort, or stay later than you would like.  One night at SRC while killing time for the next shuttle, we caught their entertainment one night. It was a Steel Drum Band with attitude, the Silver Birds. They were so good! See a bit of video of their performance below:

 

6. Shuttle to Sandals Royal Caribbean 

Besides being able to expand your choices for restaurants, taking the shuttle to SRC also expands your entertainment and beach/pool options as well. It is nice checking out another resort and getting an idea if you would ever like to book there. We really liked the private island, where they have beach loungers, a pool, bar, special spa services, and the Jerk Shack.

7. Staff

Everyone we saw at both resorts was always working hard. And always super friendly. At Sandals Montego Bay we always felt safe with a security presence. The beach was constantly cleaned and raked and the food and beverage service staff were always kind and patient. Resort management was very approachable (we met Carl, the Manager, walking along the beach), and housekeeping always did an excellent job. Our butlers were fabulous and helpful. We love Jamaica and the laid-back attitude Jamaicans always seem to have—“no problems, only situations, mon!” Sandals staff always seem top-notch, and this resort was no exception.

8. Room Service

In a butler room you can order room service 24 hours per day. In Club level it is during the day/until 10 pm. We had a standing request for coffee delivered to our back patio every morning at 7 am, and then we would order our breakfast whenever we felt hungry. We would order appetizers and snacks in the early evening before dinner, and it was always hot, fresh and delicious. It is an awesome option to have, since we often didn’t feel like walking all the way down the beach to where everything was. We liked our quiet end!

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9. Weather (in January)

Our weather was hot and usually clear. We had a couple of periods of rain, but sitting on the patio watching the rain and then the beautiful rainbow after was great, too. As I said before, the wind was very strong the entire time we were there, which limited being able to do watersports like snorkeling and paddle boarding. We didn’t see many Hobie Cats going out, either. Bring and wear a good hat for the sun. A few times on the beach the wind made it a little chilly. But overall it was beautiful beach weather!

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10. Pools

The pools at Sandals Montego Bay were fairly small, especially the party pool. The quiet pool was a bit larger and you could get some swimming in, but for the most part, most people we saw were just standing around drinking in the pool. They had some great hot tubs around, one was right on the water and pretty big at the party pool. We found another one back by Butch’s that was covered and isolated, and rarely saw people in it.

There is a pretty pool behind the Red Lane spa. There are also lots of swim up buildings at SMB, therefore there are lots of pools in front of the buildings that aren’t just for those with rooms that open on to them. I can’t say much for the temperature of the water…we aren’t really pool people and didn’t go in any of them!

hot tub on beach at Sandals Montego Bay
The huge infinity hot tub on the beach by the party pool

Final Word

Keep in mind that all Sandals Resorts are all-inclusive. All drinks, food, most activities, and entertainment are free. There is no tipping of any staff except for butlers and spa staff, drivers to and from the airport, and airport baggage handlers. You do not have to do Butler level or even Club level, and you will still get great service and the other all-inclusive aspects of the resort. I suggest you bring Yeti-style cups to bring liquor back to your room if you are luxury level, however, although you will have a refrigerator in your room with local beer, wine, water, juices. 

Overall, I absolutely loved Sandals Montego Bay. I loved the beach, our room was incredible, the access to the other resort was a great option, and the over-the-water bar was the absolute best. All staff were great, and it was a beautiful, well-kept resort. I would highly recommend it!

 

Sandals Royal Caribbean In Jamaica

Ladies on the beach at Sandals Royal Caribbean
On the beach at Sandals Royal Caribbean

A Mother-Daughter Getaway

I recently took my daughter to Sandals Royal Caribbean. Yes, a Sandals, known for couples. But my husband and I are Sandals lovers and since we are in their loyalty program and earn free trips and discounts, when we were at our last resort, Sandals Grenada, I booked a special Birthday Celebration trip for me and her at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

ladies at sunset at Sandals Royal Caribbean
Sunset views–a great way to celebrate special mother-daughter time

In this post:

Booking

When you book on property at a Sandals Resort, you get an extra 10 to 12 percent off the current rates, and (in the case where my husband goes with me) an additional 10 percent off if you are military or a first responder. So you can get really great deals. I booked our flights with a combination of my Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, Delta earned-mileage and American earned-mileage. So it turned out to be a pretty reasonable proposition.

Sandals Royal Caribbean Room

We were escorted to our room in the Windsor Building, a walk-out room right on the beach. Unfortunately, since I didn’t request a particular room until about two weeks before, we got probably the worst location—right by the boat pier, and the Water Sports office was right on the other side of our wall. So views from the patio and room weren’t the best. But it wasn’t too bad as we were often able to find chairs under a palapa right outside of our room (as long as I was up by 630 am), and could come and go easily through our patio doors.

Windsor Beachfront Walk out Sandals Royal Caribbean
On the patio of our Windsor beachfront room
woman on beach at Sandals Royal Caribbean
Great lounge chairs in the shade on the beach!
View of beach from Windsor Walkout room
View of the beach from our patio

Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort

My daughter and I enjoyed sitting in the Adirondack chairs watching the sunset, as well as sitting by the fire pit close to our room. 

Sunset view from Sandals Royal Caribbean
Sunset view from the Adirondack seating area near the boat dock (note the cool over-the-water bungalows in the distance!)
woman at sunset at Sandals Royal Caribbean
Such a beautiful view for before-dinner drinks

While we were there, the cool Dragon Boat that takes guests to the private island sunk! They towed it away and seamlessly provided another boat to take guests to the island.

Dragon boat sinking at SRC
This cool Dragon Boat worked the first day we were there–but then sank overnight! It took guests back and forth to the private island. Unfortunately, this happened before we had a chance to take it.

We hung out one afternoon for a few hours at the swim-up bar, which was fun and the bartenders were great. We mostly stayed on the beach or on our patio. 

swim up bar at Sandals Royal Caribbean
Drinks at the Swim-up Bar
sunrise at Sandals Royal Caribbean
Sunrise view from the beach
woman in water at Sandals Royal Caribbean
The water was beautiful and clear
beach at Sandals Royal Caribbean
The beach near the pool and bars, looking from the end by the dock

The lobby and outdoor areas were all great. The bars were nice, and we enjoyed playing pool one night outside of the Pub.

Christmas tree at Sandals Royal Caribbean
The lobby was decorated for Christmas–so beautiful!
woman drinking at bar on beach Sandals Royal Caribbean
The Beachside Bar was great!
sandals lounge at Montego Bay airport
Comfortable Sandals lounge at the airport while we waited for our shuttle to the resort

The private island is small but has a pool, bar, the Thai Restaurant, the Jerk Shack, and restrooms. The beach areas are very small, but still beautiful. We reserved a private cabana for a day on the island and had personalized service of non-stop drinks, food, and attention all day. It was a fun splurge, since we did not have butler service with our room and we stayed on the island that day.

Cabanas on private island Sandals Royal Caribbean
Very comfortable amenities and great service–we splurged for a private cabana on the private island.
view of Sandals Royal Caribbean from private island
We had a great view of the resort
view of island at night at Sandals Royal Caribbean
The private island was beautiful at night!
inside a cabana at Sandals Royal Caribbean
Enjoying a drink in the shade of our cabana
private cabanas at Sandals Royal Caribbean
There are only three cabanas, so it was quiet and uncrowded
view from private island at Sandals Royal Caribbean
Our view on the side of the cabana–pure ocean!

Sandals Royal Caribbean Food

In a club room, we could order room service from 7 am until 10 pm. We would get up and go to the outside restaurant and fill up our Yeti cups with coffee, and when we were finally hungry we ordered breakfast.  We requested they deliver to the patio so that we could spend our time waiting on the beach, which was awesome. The room service breakfast was very good. The resort coffee was Blue Mountain coffee and it was delicious. 

club level room service menu SRC
Club-level room service menu for the afternoon/evening
club level room service menu SRC
Club-level room service breakfast menu
French toast at SandalsRoyal Caribbean
Luxury–French Toast and bacon delivered to a lounger on the beach!

At our resort, we ate at Royal Thai on the private island, which was very dim, romantic and quiet. The food was delicious, the service was excellent.

We also ate at Le Jardinier for breakfast on our last morning, it was really good. My daughter loved the Eggs Benedict and I enjoyed their French toast. On a couple of nights we went up to the Maitre D at Le Jardinier and once ordered takeout dessert, and another time ordered takeout Escargot. So even if you cannot score a reservation at a Sandals restaurant, you can order food to go and still get to eat the fabulousness.

French toast and eggs Le Jardinier
Fabulous breakfast at Le Jardinier, the French Restaurant

Another night we ate at the new Italian restaurant, La Tavola. The risotto appetizer was a little too al dente but it tasted good, and the scallopini and scampi dishes were excellent, as well as our dessert.

For two of the nights we took the included shuttle to Sandals Montego Bay, which was about 10 minutes away. We walked around and had drinks at their amazing over-the-water bar, Latitudes, and even lounged in the over-the water hammocks. One evening a roving troupe of musicians entertained us while we lounged—they were so good. 

 

Our first night at MoBay we ate at Soy for sushi appetizers and then went to Tokyo Joes, where you basically choose your own stir-fry dish and watch them cook it. It was very good and fun!

sushi at Soy Sandals Montego Bay
My daughter loved the sushi at Soy, Sandals Montego Bay

The second time we went to MoBay we had a reservation at Cucina Romano, which was right on the water and excellent. I had the Risotto (fabulous) and my daughter had the Carbonara, which she loved. She wanted clams, too, so asked for a serving on the side, which of course, in true Sandals style, they did!

Pizza, quesadillas, burgers, and Jerk Shack chicken were all delicious choices that we made for lunches. 

pizza at Sandals Royal Caribbean
It doesn’t get much better than pizza on the beach!

Entertainment

The weekly Beach party was set up right outside of our room. The entertainment did not really start until 930 pm. We were super-tired that day, and unfortunately missed it. Another night we caught a “Battle of the Sexes” on the stage run by Elmo, one of their playmakers. It was pretty funny and entertaining. Their Jamaican Country Singer was very good on another night, followed by dancers that were not really our style. To be honest, we got up so early each day for beach time that we were ready for bed before all the entertainment really started.

Recommendation

Overall, I enjoyed this Sandals resort. It is very small, and has a very small beach. The private island is a unique aspect to this resort which we enjoyed. As a bit of renovation was going on, most of the restaurants were outside, which could be problematic when it rains. There wasn’t a big common area in the middle with a bar besides the pool bar, which was pretty dead at night. We had a great time, however, and made our own fun. The staff and facilities were great. 

 

Isle Of Skye

Two full days of views, hiking, natural wonders and history on the beautiful Isle of Skye

We arrived at our hotel in Portree on the Isle of Skye in the late afternoon after a beautiful drive from Inverness and visiting some awesome castles along the way. 

In this post:

Cuillin Hills Hotel

Portree is a great base for a visit to the Isle of Skye. It isn’t difficult to get around the island–we found the driving and maps very easy. We stayed three nights in the Cuillin Hills Hotel. This hotel has beautiful views of the sailboats in Portree Bay and the colorful houses in Portree. On a clear day (our first day, fortunately) we had beautiful views of the Cuillin Mountains. The hotel has a large front lawn area with seating to enjoy the beautiful Isle of Skye and Portree views.

The Cuillin Hills Hotel’s restaurant is very, very good. We ate dinner there once (highly recommend) and breakfast there twice. The service was always impeccable and the food delicious. The dining room overlooks the lawn and the bay, so the tables have incredible views. We were fortunate to score a table by the windows. 

Our room overlooked the bay as well. It was very comfortable, with nice, updated furnishings and a great bathroom. As we were midway through our Scotland itinerary, we needed laundry done, and the service was great and done within a day.

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Fairy Pools

I already did a video and a post on our Fairy Pools adventure, you can watch it below. We switched up our plans based on the forecasted weather, and chose to do Fairy Pools first.

It was an easy drive there and there weren’t many people around. The waterfalls are an absolutely beautiful setting. It was a rainy, dreary day, but the waterfalls were gorgeous and the foggy mist made it a truly ethereal setting.

We parked (for a small fee) and walked across the road. After a minimal distance, we found some small waterfalls. We then continued up the hill and eventually started seeing the large ones. Overall, the hike was very easy; however there are several small streams to cross carefully across slippery rocks. Just take your time. The day we were there it was also very muddy.

The Fairy Pools path climbs gradually up the hill alongside a series of beautiful waterfalls, streams and pools. With the rain the waterfalls were really strong. You can easily maneuver closer to the falls and pools at most points on the path. They were very beautiful and it was an easy hike of about a mile and a half. Allow at least 40 minutes. It was hard not to take pictures and videos at each waterfall, as they were all so beautiful!

The Isle of Skye is incredible and the Fairy Pools are not to be missed. I even found an arrowhead at one point, but didn’t want bad juju from the “fairies,” so I just took a picture with it and put it back down.

For an overview of the hike, go to Isle of Skye Tourist Information.

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Fairy Glen

We left the Fairy Pools and headed to the Fairy Glen (this was obviously Fairy Day)! The Fairy Glen is a series of land masses, some are pointy mounds, others more rounded mounds. It is very other-worldly looking and enchanting. We loved climbing the mounds and enjoying the views. There is a large rock formation at the top of one called Castle Ewan, which was fun to climb up. The view from the top was fantastic. 

There was also a “Game of Thrones”-style circle near Castle Ewan, but from what I understand that was created by tourists and the locals have to dismantle it constantly. You can see it in the slideshow below.

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Dunvegan Castle

Continuing with our “fairy” theme, our final stop on our Isle of Skye itinerary for the day was Dunvegan Castle, ancestral home of the Chief of Clan MacLeod. This beautiful castle was exceptional to explore. On display they have The Fairy Flag of Dunvegan, which supposedly has miraculous powers for the MacCleod Clan. When unfurled in battle, the Clan cannot be defeated. There are several legends relating to the flag, which in reality was probably brought back from the Crusades. You can read about the flag here. 

The castle has been occupied by the same family for 800 years. You can tell from the exhibits how very proud they are of their history. The castle is in fabulous shape and the clan motto, “Hold Fast” holds true for the castle, too.

Like all the other castles we had visited, Dunvegan has a very interesting history and many pieces of art and artifacts that are truly fascinating. They also have some beautiful gardens. I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful castle.

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Chargrill Restaurant at the Marmalade Hotel

We had reservations for this wonderful restaurant in Portree. My husband and I both had delicious steaks. The service, atmosphere, and food were all very good.

Old Man of Storr

The next morning we left bright and early to arrive around 8 am at the Old Man of Storr. It isn’t a very difficult hike up, and the views and rock formations are truly incredible. They are going to film scenes from the upcoming prequel to Game of Thrones there. It is eerie and other worldly, and truly beautiful. It also had amazing views over the water and the surrounding area.

This hike on Isle of Skye is truly not to be missed.

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Kilt Rock

While driving north on the eastern side of the island, you can pull off for an overlook area that has a magnificent view of Kilt Rock. The day we were there, a bagpiper made us feel at home with lovely tunes.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNvT68JU8Yg%5B/embedyt%5D

 

 

You have to wait your turn for the best views of the Mealt Falls that flow in to the sea, but it is worth it.

Just be prepared for crowds as many or all of the tour buses stop here.

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Quiraing

We loved this hike as well. There are some points on the path with a sheer drop right beside you–if you have a fear of heights, you might get a bit nervous. There is a section where you have to carefully lower yourself down rocks and over a small  stream, just take your time and it’s not too bad. We walked all the way along the east side to the fence that they have up (for the end, I guess!). There are beautiful views of the water and the rock formations the entire way. This was an absolutely beautiful, fairly easy hike.

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Here is a quick video I took walking along the path:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t5IRzg36Gw%5B/embedyt%5D

Skye Restaurant

After our two hikes of Storr and the Quiraing, we were ready for something to eat and a “wee dram.” We had early reservations at Skye Restaurant, which is located in the Flodigarry Hotel on the Northeast Coast. After we finished the Quiraing (the parking lot is basically in the middle of the island), we headed west on the very narrow road so that we could drive north along the west coast.

We arrived at the beautiful hotel in a magnificent location and, since we were super-early for our reservations, we had a few drinks in the lovely pub there. When our table was ready, we sat in a windowed-sunroom area and had a great, delicious dinner. Our server was really efficient and down-to-earth, and the service in the pub and the hotel was all very good. We didn’t stay at this hotel as it is so far north, but I would highly recommend it, just from the service we experienced alone. And oh my gosh. THE VIEWS FROM THIS PLACE! Heavenly.

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Ferry to Mallaig and Drive to Ft. William Information

Our big plan for getting from Skye to Ft. William was to drive to Mallaig on Skye and take the ferry to the mainland, then take the scenic drive from there to Ft. William. However, when I asked at our hotel about it, the nice lady asked if I already had made reservations. I immediately got online…and the first ferry was sold out already. If we waited for a later one that would put us far behind on our schedule. So we had to scrap the ferry plan. I was pretty bummed that I missed this awesome boat ride, as all reviews had said how beautiful it is. So if you want to take the ferry, book far in advance to avoid similar sadness and disappointment!

Final Thoughts on Skye

When people talk about Scotland they often refer to Skye. There is a reason for it. It is truly a fabulous place and not to be missed.

What did you like the most about the Isle of Skye? Please leave your comments below. Up next: Ft. William!

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