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Roaming the Hills of Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye

Last week I wrote my first blog post in almost a year. Since then, I’ve gone back and forth at least a half a dozen times trying to decide whether to pick up with our latest trip and just go from there (the more favorable, lazy girl’s option) or to try to cover the 11 countries (25+ cities) we visited over the past year while simultaneously writing about the current ones (the time-consuming, but possibly more rewarding option). I still haven’t made my mind up yet, but I know one thing for sure – I hate leaving something unfinished. And that is how I left our Scotland trip, which is a pity since it is one of the coolest places I’ve been since moving to the UK. I only had time to write about our road trip through the Scottish Highlands and just barely touch on the Isle of Skye before taking an unintentionally long break, so before I do anything else, I am going to complete my Scotland series.

That being said, I believe I may have slightly underestimated just how much I was relying on my blog to supplement my memories from our travels. And by slightly I mean completely. It’s been almost a year since we visited the Isle of Skye in Scotland and my memories are, well, fuzzy. Like waking up and trying to remember a vivid dream you just had kind of fuzzy. This is probably a normal consequence of the passage of time and the added element that we’ve been to almost a dozen other countries since this one, but I don’t particularly like it. (Another reason to attempt the near-impossible feat of catching up on our past travels. A few more years down the road, these memories might be entirely missing vs just a little fuzzy!)

However, while the specifics of our days on the Isle of Skye may be murky, how I felt while there remains powerfully imprinted in my memory. As do a couple hundred photos on my hard drive, so I have at least that part of our trip to share with you. On the agenda for today – the rolling hills of Fairy Glen, one of my favorite places on the Isle of Skye.

Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland

Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland

The one thing I distinctly remember is getting lost on the way there. Or maybe just a little turned around, actually. The Fairy Glen was our first destination on our first day in Skye, and there we were driving along a narrow dirt road, only a printed out map for directions, not a single other being around except for sheep, and all we knew was that we were headed up when we should have been going down. The problem was, we could hardly see anything through the fog.

In a city or on foot, I probably would have been frustrated at a situation like this, but in Scotland, where you don’t need to be going anywhere in particular to enjoy pretty scenery, I was content just to stare out the window while Cory sorted out our navigation predicament with my dad. And that’s when the clouds parted and sunlight began streaming down onto exactly where we were supposed to be going, like some sort of message from God. (Or Mother Nature, I’m not entirely sure who is in charge of these things.) I made Cory stop the car so I could jump out and take the picture that turned out to be my favorite from Fairy Glen since the entirety of the glen’s unique, cone-shaped hills and valleys can be seen from this perspective. (It’s that first picture up above. Apologies if you need to know where I was for that shot. I have no idea. I assume any road going up would provide a pretty good view of everything down below since there is nothing around to block the view.)

Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland

Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland

Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland

Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland

Once we could finally see where we were headed, it was a lot easier to reach the glen. (Future visitors may want to note – there are no road signs pointing to Fairy Glen, nor is it as simple as plugging ‘Fairy Glen’ into your GPS. Your best bet is to stop at the Uig Hotel and ask for directions if you get lost.)

We arrived early-ish, and except for a few other hikers and an artist (seriously, best place ever to capture the morning light coming over the hills!), we were the only ones there. We parked the car slightly off the path and started walking. There didn’t appear to be any marked trails, just a slightly worn footpath surrounding the hills, so we just wandered around aimlessly for an hour and a half looking for cool shots, which my parents realized (rather quickly on this trip) is what you do when you travel with me and Cory.

Besides getting turned around in the beginning, the other thing that clearly stands out in my memory is how drastically the weather was changing while we were at Fairy Glen. One minute we were walking through clouds, then we’d descend into a valley and come up another hill to find clear blue skies. Kind of like magic, really. Those blue skies were deceptive, though. We visited in mid-April, and even with the sun shining down on us, it was cold. When the sun went behind the clouds, it was downright freezing. According to the owner of the B&B we stayed at on Skye, you need to be made of some pretty tough stuff to survive the cold, wet, and windy conditions that characterize much of the fall, winter, and spring on the Isle of Skye. I suppose the trade-off is living in one of the most beautiful places in the world, so perhaps it’s worth it?

Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland

Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland

Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland

So the real question here is, did we see the fairies? Apparently the fairies deemed us unworthy of their presence, because all we saw of their existence was their stone circles. Which may or may not actually be from some sort of Satanic ritual according to my superstitious dad who refused to let me walk among them. (Probably for the best. I definitely did not need any curses following me home!) Fairy sightings or not, there is still something very magical about this place. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before!

We saw a lot of dramatic landscapes while we were on the Isle of Skye, but Fairy Glen with its gentle green hills and peaceful simplicity remained one of my favorites. All levels of hikers/walkers would be comfortable here. The highest point of Fairy Glen is Castle Ewen (you can see Cory at the top of that in one of the photos above) which does take a little effort to get to, but the rest of the paths (if you can call them paths) over the hills require minimal effort for a gigantic reward – the views from here are magnificent!

Fairy Glen is located in the village of Uig on the Isle of Skye. This area is a great starting point for exploring the rest of the Trotternish Peninsula, which we managed to do in just two days, although I’m sure we could have stayed two weeks and still not run out of beautiful places to visit. While you’re in Uig, be sure to check out Rha Waterfall, a stunning double falls on the River Rha. For more info about Rha Falls and a few of our other favorite places, check out my top picks for hiking on the Isle of Skye.

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Hiking Fairy Glen On The Isle Of Skye, Scotland

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  • Jessi @2feet1world
    March 14, 2016 at 7:58 PM

    Absolutely stunning! Every picture I see of the Isle of Skye makes me want to visit sooner :) And SO happy to have you back blogging – whether it’s up-to-date or jumping back. Although I also find that if I haven’t blogged it my memory is SO quickly deficient!

    • Sarah Shumate
      March 15, 2016 at 1:03 PM

      I’m so glad to hear it’s not just me! It is shocking how little I remember from our trips when I don’t blog about them right away. I swear I used to have better recall than this! :)

      • Jessi @2feet1world
        March 15, 2016 at 8:37 PM

        Ha yeah, I guess I wouldn’t know because I can’t remember ;)

  • rorybore
    March 11, 2016 at 4:01 AM

    So beautiful!! And like you mentioned – it’s a simple beauty where everything all blends together. I feel like more simple words would ruin this kind of beauty that simply should be looked upon is quiet meditation.

  • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    March 10, 2016 at 2:05 PM

    The Highlands are very much a place you can imagine (wee kilt wearing) faeries to stroll the forest floor!

  • Jenn
    March 7, 2016 at 11:33 PM

    I love the landscape!

  • Joyce Fetter
    March 7, 2016 at 1:48 PM

    Gorgeous! I have come to rely completely on my blog and photo albums to remember many of our trips… I actually printed the blog out into books by year and we all (especially the kids) love to look back on those days. We never made it to the Fairy Glen when we visited the Scottish Highlands which I really regret. It looks absolutely magical and is definitely on my list of places to get to one day!

    • Sarah Shumate
      March 9, 2016 at 9:17 AM

      That’s a great idea! I didn’t even know it was possible to print a blog into a book! How did you do it? I suppose in my case, with as many pictures as I include per post, it would probably be prohibitively expensive, but still worth checking into. :)

      • Joyce Fetter
        March 11, 2016 at 2:34 PM

        I used Blurb but that was awhile ago, there might be something better out there now. It was pretty easy ton import the posts into the program and then I just needed to arrange the photos the way I wanted them. I had a lot of photos too and I didn’t think the cost was too prohibitive-I want to say it was by page, not # of photos.