The Isle of Skye, Scotland
The Isle of Skye in Scotland is a truly incredible place. When you're here at the Isle of Skye, standing on a green, grassy foothill of the Quiraing, it will be hard to argue there is any place more magnificent. On the Isle of Skye, there are two main hikes. You can find adventure anywhere in Scotland (we certainty did), but if you're at the Isle of Skye, DO NOT miss out on these two hikes. Especially if the sun is shining...
The Storr Hike
How to Hike The Storr, Scotland
Locating the Storr is pretty easy, Just look for the giant, "Old Man of Storr," (the 'Old Man of Storr' is a giant, upright standing rock) rising from the horizon. Park your car on the street at the bottom and all the trails are uphill, Northwest, towards the Old Man. There are a few main trails that get you in to the general area, from here it is fun to choose your own adventure. You can get off the main paths and start exploring all the cool cliffs and rock formations on your own. There are tons of interesting places most people don't see, and we easily spent an entire day hiking and climbing around the Storr area.
1. Bring some food in your pack, we got super hungry towards the end and Michael was the only one who brought something to eat. Luckily he is a sharing boy.
2. If you have expensive camera equipment, make sure to bring something to cover it from rain. This was the only trip I've ever brought my backpack rain cover on. I'm so thankful I did! Rain in Scotland moves in fast and comes out of nowhere. The rain cover saved my drone and my camera many, many times...
3. Bring a rain jacket.
4. Bring some boots, this isn't a good place for shoes, especially if you wanna go off-trail.
The Quiraing is probably the most beautiful Place in Scotland (Though, hard to choose!) What I love about the mountains here are that they are all covered in perfect, green grass. It's a really strange phenomenon. There are no trees or shrubs, not really rocky faces either. The strange landscape is what put this place high on my list of awesomeness.
The Hiking Trail:
Similar to the Storr, at the Quiraing there are main trails and footpaths but you can adventure off the trail at any point. It was easy for us to spend a day here exploring places few people have ventured to. The weather at the Quiraing was crazy. While we were hiking all day, there were literally a dozen rain and sun cycles... It would be nice and sunny, and then rain would come in all of a sudden, drench you, then it would turn sunny again 20 minutes later. We could literally see the rain blasting in from the distance, prepare our packs, put our rain jacket on, hide my camera, get hit with rain, then the sun would come back out and we'd put away our jackets again. It was pretty weird how often this happened. Like I said, when the sun is out, this place is amazing... but be sure to bring a rain jacket.
Our Scotland Story
My brother Michael, my friend Cody, Colin and myself flew to Scotland for a week of camping, hiking, filming and pure adventure. We try to do an epic trip like this at least once a year together. After working six days a week all summer to save up some money to go on these trips, I was just happy to be anywhere but work...
During our week in Scotland, our road-trip took us almost a thousand miles through the South, West and all over the Isle of Skye.
Here a little bit of our itinerary:
Day one we drove to Finnich Glen / Devil's Pulpit. This is a cool valley/gorge thing where a small river cuts through a valley, creating a dark, mysterious canyon. You hike in from the back and walk through the ice-cold river to get to the Devil's Pulpit. Totally worth it if you're considering this stop on your trip. I don't have any pictures of this sadly since I didn't want to drop my camera in the river...
Over the next day or two, as we headed towards the Isle of Skye we passed a bunch of cool castles that all offered their own perks.
First, Kilchurn Castle. Kilchurn was definitely our favorite. Not necessarily because of it's size or grandeur, but because it is completely alone in the middle of nowhere, and you're 100 percent allowed to go inside and climb around it. There are no entrance fees or employees. Just you and the castle, sitting in the middle of a golden wheat field, on the edge of a lake.
The most interesting castle we was was "Castle Stalker." This castle is crazy because it sits all alone on a little tiny, grassy island. Totally impossible to get to without a boat or a wet-suit. Me and Michael actually formulated a plan to swim there. We even had all the cameras rolling and the drone in a dry-pack for when we breached the island... It was about a 200 meter swim there, and then 200 meters back. We got our suits on, (not wet-suits, just normal swimming suits) waded into the water, our feet and legs instantly in terrible pain and then numb. Got 50 feet in, up to our chest in water and we were basically dying of hypothermia... Embarrassingly we had to turn around and completely abandon this plan and this filming project 🙁 This shameful spectacle did not make the final cut of our film, to say the least.
One of the other castles of note on the way to the Isle of Skye was the Eilean Donan castle. This is probably the most picturesque and classic castles. The castle sits alone on an island surrounded by a lake and mountains. There's an old stone bridge that connects the castle to land. The difference between this castle and Kilchurn, is that the Eilean Donan is run as a business, with employees and entrance tickets sold outside the doors. This isn't really our cup of tea or in our budget but definitely still go to Eilean Donan to check it out.
There were several other amazing places along our road-trip from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye.
If you're anything like me, then you're obviously a Daniel Craig, James Bond fan. If so, do not miss Glen Etive. Glen Etive is a seldom-visited valley between beautiful mountains. There's a narrow road that slithers through the mountain valleys. At the end of this road is where they built the 'Skyfall Ranch' in the James Bond movie, 'Skyfall.' We definitely could not miss this chance to walk in D-Craig's footsteps. There was a nice lake at the end, good for skipping rocks (did make the video)...
The next SUPER beautiful mountain valley was called 'Glencoe.' This is along the road to The Isle of Skye anyway so definitely drive through here. There's some interesting hiking in this area too but we didn't have much time when we were there. We did get out of the car for a bit to do a little skateboarding.
Our last stop before the Isle of Skye was the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is a really cool, old stone, arch train track bridge thing. This bridge has been featured in the Harry Potter movies and for good reason, it's a pretty magical place. Even though we didn't see Hermione, and it was raining the whole time, it was still a great stop along our drive.
Arriving at the Isle of Skye.
Basically you can camp wherever you want. Each night while we were on the Isle of Skye we camped. Sometimes it was difficult finding a good place to pop up a tent, but if you look hard enough, it's easy to find something that works. It did get pretty windy so make sure to fasten your tent pretty good. Sometimes during the night our tent would be completely sideways and lifting off the ground in the corners. Lucky for us we had four people in it to hold it down... (our 5-person tent: http://amzn.to/2hrpYeu)
The main hiking attractions at the Isle of Skye are 'The Storr' and 'The Quiraing.' Both of these hikes are absolutely insane. The landscape is like nowhere else. Perfectly green, grassy mountains in all directions, with massive, obscurely shaped stones jutting out from the hills. We climbed, hiked and filmed at these two areas over 3 days. These two places were major highlights on our trip to Scotland.
Ask me on my 1Lifeonearth Facebook page if you have any questions about your future Scotland trip, but more importantly, watch this YouTube video we filmed over our week-long trip to one of the most incredible countries in the world. It's full of all the highlights of the trip (except for me and Michael drowning on our swim to Castle Stalker)...