“Carry the lad that’s born to be King
Over the sea to Skye”
— Skye Boat Song —
Shrouded in mystery and myth, the Isle of Skye is a magical place with enough history to fill more than one text book. Join Macbackpackers, an independent Scottish owned tour company, on their 3 day exploration of legends and history, faeries and warriors, love and war as you journey from Edinburgh through the highlands and up to Skye.
Leaving on a Friday morning we are met by our kilted guide, Neil Mclennan. After picking up the rest of the troops we head out of the city on our faithful steed, the Macbackpacker bus. Neil is a fantastic story teller and is soon entertaining us with legends and stories. Our first stop is “The Hermitage” (see photo left) , where, Neil reveals, he was possibly once approached by faeries who hoped to lure him to their kingdom. There is certainly a strange magical feel about the place for sure.Killicrankie is our picnic spot where Neil enthusiastically recreates the highland charge that scared the shite out of the British troops. A brief stop at Culloden Battle Field to pay homage to the many men who lost their lives in this historic battle, a battle that was surely a turning point in Scottish history. Nearing the end of a long day of traveling we search for Nessie at Loch Ness and dip our feet in the frigid water. Finally pulling into Kyleakin Town on the Isle of Skye in the early evening.
Our home for the next 2 nights is Lochbuie Guest House and we have it all to ourselves, with a fantastic view of the harbor and just a hop skip and jump from Haakons pub and restaurant. After claiming our beds we all head over for a delicious meal and a traditional Scottish Ceilidh (kay-ley). With bagpipes playing we all dance the night away and sleep very well that night.
Day 2 start with a visit to the Skye Backpackers to pick up a set of willies for all those without waterproof shoes. At the river Sligachan, Neil once again entertains with an enthusiastic recreation of the meeting of Sciath and Cuchaillien and encourages to put our face in the river with the promise of eternal youth. The epic adventure came when climbing to the “Old Man of Storr” (see photo right), just 30minutes Neil said… I think the old man was hiding in the mist, but it was great climb and as long as you listen to instructions and don’t wander off the path there should be no need to call search and rescue. At the end we all formed a circle and toasted each other as we passed around a much needed swig of whiskey. You certainly form great friendships on this trip and after a great group meal of pasta we all sat around and chatted, listened to music and recalled the exciting events of the day.
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Day 3 was a farewell to Skye as we headed home via stunning Glen Coe where we sat and had lunch and looked out for wild red deer. Stopping to get a picture of Hamish the Hairy Coo/Cow was a highlight to the tour, just don’t get too close to his horns. Our final stop was the Wallace Monument in Stirling and then home to Edinburgh.
A great tour, great leader and friends for life. The only downside is the amount of travel time, but that can’t be helped and you are never on the bus for more than 2hrs.
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More photos from the tour:
How many backpackers can you fit in a phone booth?
Hoping Nessie won’t grab us
All backpackers think alike
If legend is true…7 seconds and stay young