The eleven-hour car journey was instantly forgotten as we neared our destination and were treated to spectacular views through Glencoe and the Western Highlands. We crossed the Skye Bridge as the sun was setting and drove south on the island, towards a small (and we mean ‘a handful of houses’ sort of small) village called Drumfearn.
Pulling up a steep hill and rounding a corner, Stonechat Bothy finally came into view; nestled quietly in the textured grasses of the hillside, a vision of faded grey larch cladding and big glass windows that watched over the valley we’d just driven through.
Stepping inside we felt instantly at home, surrounded by clean lines and a spacious living area, interrupted only by a log-burner, something we are always happy to see, whatever the season. Arriving at sunset meant we had to wait for the next morning to learn the full effect of the floor-to-ceiling windows but it was absolutely worth the wait. Over the course of our stay on the Wildlife Croft we became familiar with the local wildlife and changing skies that our one-bedroom ‘bothy’ had to show us through those windows.
Owners Laura and Phil live a little further down the hill and were there to help should we have needed but we wanted for nothing more during our stay. Stonechat Bothy was ideal for us; offering an undeniable connection with nature as well as wifi to share our day’s findings on Instagram. We love to explore the outdoors but we also really enjoy our home comforts, all of which were met here.
With a world of outdoor adventuring to keep us busy we opted for the freedom of packed lunches and home-cooked evening meals. The island boasts a couple of well-stocked shops so it was no problem laying our hands on supplies, and we stopped for occasional hot chocolates in the cafes that punctuate the winding roads.
Hot chocolates, cheese sandwiches and flasks of coffee only went so far though, so one day we treated ourselves to lunch at The Three Chimneys – a recommendation that was given to us by our next door neighbour back in Sheffield. The menu consisted of incredible fresh flavours celebrating the local environment; butters seasoned with seaweed, fish from Scottish waters and pearl barley like we’d never tasted before. The highlight, however, was the marmalade pudding (the restaurant’s speciality) that came swimming in rich Drambuie custard, a welcome indulgence and the perfect way to round off a great meal.
Luckily for us, whisky is something that we both thoroughly enjoy; the sensory experience that sings of the landscape of where it was created, the warmth in our insides, just bliss. We couldn’t therefore leave without visiting the Talisker Distillery in Carbost to learn of its story and pick up a great single malt to enjoy later that evening.
Navigating the island by car is a must when you visit Skye, especially if you’re like us and want to see as much as possible in the time that you have. The roads are some of the best we’ve driven on in the UK and whilst the majority of them are single track there is an abundance of passing places to negotiate with other drivers.
We drove the scenic route to the village of Elgol and it took us nearly double the amount of time that our sat nav advised because we had to stop every two seconds to take in the changing views of the Cuillins. Every single corner offers a new vista and different weather conditions; we witnessed technicolour rainbows, howling winds and glorious sunshine within a single hour.
Thankfully, the sun shone for the remainder of the day and we took the 40-minute boat trip across the bay to Loch Coruisk; an inland lake that (on that particular day) was so still and silent that we missed it at first glance and mistook it for the reflected mountains. We’ll never forget the peace in that place, disturbed only by a small Dipper washing himself in the water.
Our list of recommendations are dominated by the breathtaking geography of the place; mountain ranges of all colours filled our windscreen and the feeling of awe never seemed to subside no matter which way we turned. A walk on Coral Beach to hear the ‘crunch’ underfoot, the overwhelming power of the water cascading over Kilt Rock and the amble to Neist Point are three of our favourites.
Words & Images by India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson – Haarkon