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What to do and see?

What to do and see whilst you are on holiday?  Well,  Inverness, the Isle of Skye,  Isle of Raasay and Lochalsh make incredible holiday destinations!  With a diverse array of landscapes mixed together with historical sites and excellent activities,  the area has something for everyone.

A car is recommended for those looking to explore the area fully.  For up to date traffic information including road closures and road works,  please see Traffic Scotland.  If you are arriving by public transport you can find bus,  train and ferry timetables and plan your journeys ahead of time using Traveline Scotland.  Local private hire companies can provide a range of transport services from Inverness Airport transfers to day excursions.

Live traditional music and ceilidh’s can be found in village halls,  bars and hotels all over the area.  You’ll see signs outside the premises advertising music nights or you can find more details on local village notice boards and in the local press.

Important dates in the Scottish calendar include:

25th January:  Burn’s Night,  celebrating the birth of Robert Burns.
31st October:  Samhain,  better known as Halloween,  a Celtic festival which marks the Feast of the Dead.
5th November:  Guy Fawkes Night,  bonfires and fireworks will light up the sky!
30th November:  St Andrew’s Day,  celebrating our Patron Saint.
31st December:  Hogmanay,  celebrating the end of the year in style!

What to do and see in Inverness …

Inverness, commonly known as the “capital of the Highlands”,  is a charming city on the banks of the river Ness.  With an international airport,  train station and bus station connecting up with major UK cities and internationally,  Inverness is becoming more and more a starting place to explore the islands and highlands of Scotland.

Inverness has all the facilities you would expect of a city with great shopping,  cinemas,  restaurants and bars.  It is a great place to spend a few days exploring the local area;  see if you can spot Nessie from the shores of Loch Ness,  discover Urqhuart Castle and explore the many forest and waterfall walks in Glen Affric.  Culloden Battlefield,  the site of the last battle faught on British soil,  is a few miles away and has a great interpretation centre.  Clava Cairns are nearby and are thought to be the inspiration for the place where Claire goes back in time in TV’s Outlander.  There are dolphin boat trips on the Moray Firth.

Inverness Highland Games are held at Bught Park annually in mid July. This year it will be Saturday 21st July 2018.  There are a wide variety of events taking place throughout the day for professionals and the general public to compete in,  including Tossing the Caber,  the Hammer and the 252lb Inverness Stonemason’s Stone Challenge.

What to do and see in Lochalsh …

The main town in the area is Kyle of Lochalsh which has a doctor’s surgery,  chemist,  banks,  post office,  supermarket and the local swimming pool complete with sauna,  steam room and hot tub. Local grocery stores can be found in Shiel Bridge,  Inverinate,  Plockton and Balmacara.  For dining out in the evenings,  a choice of restaurants can be found in Shiel Bridge,  Plockton,  Erbusaig and Kyle of Lochalsh.

There are several coastal walks around Drumbuie and Plockton with forest walks in Stromeferry and Balmacara.  There is an abundance of wildlife in the area including pine martins,  otters and seals.  On the coastal walks you can often find evidence of otters on the shore and if you’re patient you may be lucky and catch a glimpse of an otter playing or a seal swimming by!

There are plenty of activities in the area with wildlife boat trips,  hillwalking,  cycling,  kayaking,  fishing,  golf and horse riding.  Historical sites such as Eilean Donan Castle or the Iron Age brochs by Glenelg are well worth visiting and day trips can also be made to the Isle of Skye,  Torridon and the Applecross Peninsula.

Lochcarron Highland Games are held at Attadale each year.  Small and friendly,  they showcase the best of the highland events including Highland Dancing,  the Caber and the annual hill race.  Several events are open to everyone on the day though certain events do require pre-event registration.  It is being held on Saturday 21st July 2018.

Other local events include the Plockton Regatta,  Glen Shiel Gala and for those looking for a physical challenge,  there is the Lochalsh Dirty Thiry and Dirty Dozen,  a hill running race held in Glenelg.

Eilean Donan Castle,  Dornie

As one of the most iconic images of Scotland,  Eilean Donan Castle is recognised all around the world.  Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet,  and surrounded by some majestic scenery,  it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish highlands.  You can explore nearly every part of the castle,  and enjoy a journey through the history of the area.  Eilean Donan Castle has its own visitor centre,  which includes the Ticket Office,  Coffee Shop,  Gift Shop and toilets.

Eilean Donan Castle

What to do and see in South Skye …

The main town in the area is Broadford which has a small local hospital,  Dr MacKinnon Memorial Hospital,  with an Accident and Emergency Department.  There is also a chemist,  supermarket with petrol station,  bank,  post office,  cafés,  restaurants and an array of craft shops.

The area of Sleat has several restaurants and hotels along the road between Broadford and Armadale.  Torabhaig Distillery is a new distillery to the island and started to produce whisky in January 2017. There is a small petrol station in Armadale along with a few craft shops.

On the road to Elgol there is a café in Torrin and a local shop and café in Elgol as well as crafts shops along the way.

Walks are plentiful in the area with otter hides at Kylerhea,  sandy beaches at Aird Point and the most incredible views of the Black Cuillins from Elgol.  Occasionally sea eagles and golden eagles soar overhead,  circling in the thermals on a sunny day.

There are two ferries that can be used to create days out.  The Glenelg – Kylerhea ferry is owned by the community and is a manually operated turn table ferry taking up to 6 cars across the fast running narrows.  It is open from Easter to October and seals,  otters and sea eagles are spotted.  The other ferry is the Calmac operated service from Armadale to Mallaig and provides an alternative route to and from Fort William.  The Road to the Isles is packed with sights,  from Glenfinnan Viaduct and Monument with views down Loch Shiel to the white sandy beaches of Morar.

There are a wide range of boat trips in the area as well as hillwalking,  cycling,  kayaking,  fishing and golf.

Local events include the Kyleakin Gala and music events and courses held at Sabhal Mor Ostaig,  Sleat.  During July and August,  there is Fèis an Eilein / the Skye Festival being held in different locations throughout the Sleat Peninsula and there is a Swing / Jazz Festival from the end of October.

What to do and see in Central Skye …

Carbost sits on the shores of Loch Harport and has a local shop,  inn and the only whisky distillery on Skye,  Talisker Distilery.  It is an excellent base for exploring the Black Cuillins for those interested in some serious climbing.  For those wanting to enjoy less strenuous walks,  there are plenty of them too!  Talisker Bay,  Coire Lagan,  Glen Brittle Beach and headland all make excellent excursions into the countryside and are areas where sea eagles and golden eagles are frequently seen.  The Fairy Pools are well worth exploring with clear turquoise water cascading over the rocks.

There are boat trips in the area and plenty of forest tracks for mountain biking.  Kayaking and fishing can also be enjoyed in the area.  For a challenge,  the Glamaig Hill Race is usually held in July.

At Sconser you can take the ferry to the Isle of Raasay for a day trip.  Leave the car behind and hire bikes on the island to explore at a more leisurely pace.

The Tattie Bogal is an annual scarecrow festival that has grown to being Skye wide, becoming the largest scarecrow trail in world!  So whilst driving around the island in the summer,  keep your eyes peeled for scarecrows… you never know where the next one is lurking!

Wild Skye Boat Trips,  Carbost

Offering wildlife,  photography and fishing boat trips,  Steven Hopper will impart his experience to ensure you get the most out of your tour. 01470 592293 or 07769258118

What to do and see in North West Skye …

Centred around Dunvegan,  North West Skye is a popular part of the island.  With historical sites such as Dunvegan Castle and Gardens and Dun Beag at Struan,  an Iron Age broch,  it has a lot to offer,  even on the days when the sun is hiding.  There are great walks around Neist Point,  Glendale with its lighthouse and cliffs,  the Coral Beach for a picnic lunch and for those looking for a challenge, you can walk up to the tops of MacLeods Tables.

Waternish is a relaxing peninsula with several art galleries and cafes,  perfect for a quiet day.  Trumpan Church towards the head of the peninsula is well worth exploring as is the day walk out to the very top of the headland.

Dunvegan is the main town and has a petrol station,  local grocery shops,  bakery,  cafes,  hotels and restaurants.

Stein,  Waternish,  has an art gallery,  seafood restaurant and a local inn.

Edinbane has the Edinbane Pottery as well a couple of pubs / inns serving food as well as drinks.

Glendale has a local café,  restaurant and small post office selling essential items.  Whilst the renown Three Chimneys in Colbost,  is perfect for special occasions.

In the area there are scuba diving operators,  boat trips,  mountain biking,  kayaking,  fishing and horse riding.

Dunvegan Agricultural Show,  usually held towards the end of July / beginning of August,  makes a great day out.

Skyescape Gallery,  Russell Sherwood Photography,  Harlosh by Dunvegan

Specialising in contemporary fine art and creative landscape photography,  the aim of Skyescape is to feature images of the Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands and Islands.  Skyescape Gallery is located on the scenic Harlosh peninsula loop road near Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye.

It is with great thanks that Islands & Highlands Cottages are using a selection of Russell’s photographs as background to several pages of our website.

OldByreSkye – Gallery and Coffee Shop,  Ose

OldByreSkye is a photographic gallery and café.  Our gallery specialises in original images of Skye and the Highlands,  as well as a selection from the Arctic and Antarctic regions.  In the cafe you can enjoy a light lunch of perhaps slowly roasted hot meat on a home-baked roll,  freshly prepared soup,  or some Scottish cheeses.  Indulge yourself with one of our home-made cakes!  WiFi is available too.

What to do and see in Portree …

Portree is the main town on the Isle of Skye.  There is a large supermarket on Dunvegan Road with a smaller store in the town centre.  There are numerous eateries catering to all budgets and local craft shops adorn the streets in the town centre.  Essentials such as petrol stations,  banks,  doctor’s surgery and small hospital can be found here too.  The leisure centre with swimming pool and local library is at Portree High School.

The harbour is very picturesque with its brightly painted houses and makes for an excellent backdrop.  Wander around The Lump where the Isle of Skye Highland Games take place as well as small music festivals.  With views over the bays and towards the Cuillin,  it is a great place to relax whilst in town.  There are also lovely walks along the coastline at Scorrybreac taking you to the Wishing Well and offering excellent views over the bay and towards the Isle of Raasay.

The Isle of Skye Highland Games are held in Portree each year generally on the first Wednesday in August.  This year they will be held on Wednesday 8th August 2018.  The main events are held on The Lump with the whole town joining in the festivities.  (Please note this does mean that some local businesses will be closed.)

Other local events include the Skye Agricultural Show held in Portree,  usually towards the beginning of the August,  The Skye Live Festival at The Lump,  Skye Sportif Cycle Road Races and The Isle of Skye Half Marathon.

A.C.E. Target Sports,  1 mile from Portree

A.C.E.  Target Sports offers visitors to the Isle of Skye an opportunity to have loads of fun!  From learning how to throw axes to clay shooting it is a great experience for family and friends to enjoy!  They offer archery,  axe throwing,  rifle shooting,  clay target shooting and paintball.

What to do and see in North East Skye …

The Trotternish has wild and dramatic landscapes.  The Trotternish Ridge forms the backbone of the peninsula and several of its unusual rock formations offer great walks.  The Storr and The Quiraing are just two areas that are well worth exploring.  There are waterfalls plummeting to the sea at Kilt Rock,  fossils and dinosaur footprints can be found at Staffin Bay whilst whales,  dolphins and porpoises can be spotted at Rubha Hunnish,  the most northernly point.  And for a touch of magic,  visit the Faerie Glen complete with faerie castle.

Uig is the largest town and has a petrol station, grocery store,  café and hotels.  You’ll also find the Isle of Skye Brewery here too!  Calmac operate ferries from Uig to both Tarbert on Harris and Loch Maddy on North Uist for those looking to continue west.  Day trips are available.  There are also boat trips from Uig to St Kilda,  a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Staffin is on the other side of the peninsula and also has a petrol station,  grocery store and café.

In the area you have the Museum of Island Life,  Staffin Museum and Macurdie’s Exhibition for rainy days.  Local events include the Uig Gala and Road Race.

Whitewave,  Linicro

Whitewave offers a wide range of outdoor activities from kayaking along the scenic coastline to mountainboarding!  See the Isle of Skye from a different perspective!

What to do and see in Isle of Raasay …

Taking the ferry to the Isle of Raasay at Sconser makes staying on the island that little bit extra special!  A little touch of adventure awaits on the side of the Sound of Raasay!

The ferry terminal on Raasay is about a 15 min walk from the main village of Inverarish which has a small grocery store.  Please note that there are no supermarkets or petrol stations on the island so do make sure you stock up before arriving! The Isle of Raasay Distillery is also within walking distance of the ferry terminal. Opened in September 2017, it’s an exciting new venture for the island and will be a new whisky to add to the collection!

Raasay House offers a wide range of activities on the island including bike hire for those looking to leave the car behind.  There is also a restaurant,  café and bar.

There are numerous woodland walks from Inverarish taking you past an Iron Age broch,  following the Burma Road and to the top of Dun Caan,  the flat topped peak on Raasay.  Brochel Castle and Calum’s Road are waiting to be explored.

Other Local Holiday Cottage Companies

Lake District, England

Wheelwrights has been letting some of the nicest cottages in the Lake District, and because we know the Lakes so well, we will ensure you have the benefit of our knowledge, our experience and our enthusiasm for the area. We can advise on where best to stay to suit your holiday requirements, where to go, what to do (and what not to do – such as climbing Great Gable in a snowstorm!), where to eat, how to get to places, places to avoid if you’re looking for peace and tranquility, places to go if you want more bustle and liveliness, practical advice on everything and anything … you name it, we’ll do our very best to supply you with the information you want.

All Wheelwrights cottages are centrally placed for getting to every corner of the National Park and because we are one of the smaller cottage letting companies, we are able to give you a personal service tailored to meet your expectations of a holiday in the Lake District.