The fact has been quite widely publicised in the media for the last couple of years - that Skye has become a very busy place in the summer season. It has been apparent to us that every year since we have known the island, visitor numbers have increased year-on-year, and the season has also grown longer. Now, we have come to expect that a trickle of visitors will begin to arrive as early as March, and the last of the hire cars and camper vans dwindle away around late October. The peak months are July and August, when just about every bed on the island is taken, some single-track roads become choked, and having to queue for a table at eating places is to be expected.
But don't be put off! When is the best time to visit Skye? For me, without a doubt, I would say 'come in winter'. You will find only a very thin scattering of visitors during the winter months, with the exception of Christmas/New Year. As a resident, I now deliberately avoid going anywhere near the most popular tourist spots in summer, and getting about by car can be tedious, as visiting drivers are often slow, nervous and dithery. For me - there is little pleasure in visiting a beautiful wild location alongside dozens (or even hundreds) of other people.
In winter - it is true that many of the paid-for attractions will be closed, and the same goes for some of the eating places and touristy shops. However - some remain open all year. I would recommend hunting-out the several excellent pubs which are open. They are likely to have blazing log fires, and serve good value food all year round.
The winter scenery will be in shades of gold and brown rather than summer green, and the sea is likely to be steely-grey rather than azure blue, but it all looks so much more dramatic with some mist swirling round it (though there can be stunning blue-sky days in winter, too)! To get close to the scenery, you will need good quality waterproofs and footwear (you are more than likely need them in summer as well, remember...) and you will soon glow with warmth as you tackle the slightly soggier moorland trails with a stiff breeze blowing. You will mostly be on your own on footpaths and in car parks - which are packed beyond full in summer.
And as a final bonus - accommodation prices are generally at their lowest in winter... I'll post a few winter pictures below (all taken by Sue). What are you waiting for?!!
|Shower over Roskhill|
|Neist Point - just us... no-one else!!|
|Loch Harport and The Cuillin|