Camping on the Isle of Skye


I'd been eager to get to the Isle of Skye for a while. Each time I visit Scotland I just want to keep heading north, into the Highlands and beyond. I think that all of Scotland is beautiful but the further northwards you travel the more wild it becomes. And so one calm Tuesday morning just before Christmas, a friend and I planned a wild and spontaneous overnight camping trip on the Isle of Skye.

Waking up as it was dark down at Loch Lomond, we piled our belongings into the car (far too much for an overnight trip...) and whizzed away into the early morning light. The sun rose as we headed through Glen Coe. It was an overcast morning but threads of pink light danced through the clouds and shone over the valley. I smiled through tired, bleary eyes and hoped my life would always be full of spontaneous adventures and awe-inspiring views.


As the sun came up, the morning revealed the most beautiful clear, blue sky. There were still scatterings of snow on distant mountains and the crispy, cold air made the landscapes vivid in their rich tones of blue and yellow and orange, still with a light shade of pink gracing the sky. As we drove alongside the banks of Loch Alsh I squealed with excitement as we saw a perfect reflection of the mountains and forests in the water. We pulled over and wandered down to the shore to take it all in. These photos hardly do justice to the site; I think this may be one of the most beautiful morning views I have ever witnessed...

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As we crossed the bridge to Skye, the day had become dark and overcast. But in a way, it was almost like it was meant to be like that... On this distant island in the northern breaches of Scotland; the dark, oppressive clouds suited the landscapes and as the wind whipped we loaded two rucksacks with tent, sleeping bags, dinner, breakfast and raincoats and headed into the wild.

We were walking part of the Skye Trail, from a small carpark at Sligachan to the coast at Camasunary where there was a bothy on the beach that we thought we might stay at for the night. Trudging through a thick bog, the hike was slow to start; but we caught sight of the ocean just as the light faded, and decided to set up camp on a beautiful beach beside Loch na Creitheach. The spot was secluded; surrounded by mountains, with calm water gently lapping onto the shore and a sky with a billion stars outside our bedroom door. 


The next morning we awoke to the sound of rain outside. Though it does make leaving the warm cocoon of a sleeping bag less than inviting, I've always loved the quiet sound of rain drops pattering on tent tarp. Before venturing outside, we made a rather luxurious camping breakfast of Luss smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and toast, and then packed up a very soggy tent and hit the trail.

Before heading back the way we came towards the car, we decided to wander over the hill towards the coast and check out Camasunary bothy. Though the beach was beautiful, we were both shocked by how much rubbish had washed onto the shore - from crisp wrappers to plastic bottles to toothbrushes and an abundance of broken fishing line. We wandered in silence; caught between a state of happiness to be somewhere so wild and beautiful and untouched, yet sadness that signs of humanity's destruction and ignorance could still be found here. I'm so used to taking photos of beautiful things that I didn't photograph the rubbish on the beach; I wish I had done now so you could see it.


After a quick trip to Camasunary bothy and a chat to a Scottish man who had spent the night there, we began the journey back to the car with the weather much the same as yesterday. With hopes to stop in Fort William to climb and get dinner before heading back to Loch Lomond, we hiked the 8 mile journey back at a pretty fast pace and devoured the remaining food contents in the car on our return.

My first trip to the Isle of Skye was as wild and spontaneous as I could have hoped for. I hope to head back there and venture to the north of the island  next time, or maybe even complete the Skye Trail one spring.