The Misty Isle of Skye is famous for their tales and folklore of magical fairies and other mythological creatures. The exact fascination with these fairies (traditionally spelt faeries) is unknown, however, there is a high chance it stems from the belief that flowing water draws fairies to it, which is something Skye is not short on. With more waterfalls than you could visit in a weekend, Skye is a fairies paradise and it could be yours too!
One sight that is especially linked to this fairy culture is the fascinating Fairy Glen on the northern coast of Skye. The rolling hills, rocky outcrops, and mystical feel to the place is straight out of your childhood fairytales. Whether the Fairy Glen is a natural phenomenon or in fact the result of magic? Now that is something only you can decide when you visit in person.
This was our first visit to the Fairy Glen and what a magical trip it was. There are so many things to do on the Isle of Skye and this is definitely one of our favourites. We have made the trip once during a summer heatwave (strange for Scotland I know), as well as once during a UK weather warning for high winds, rain and snow (more realistic weather for Scotland).
Although this weather resulted in us sleeping in the car rather than in a tent, visiting the Isle of Skye in winter meant that this tourist hotspot was a lot quieter than in the summer months. If you brave the cold like us, you will also see completely different colours to that of the summer months, a sight definitely worth seeing.
The Ultimate Guide to the Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye Fairy Glen
What is the Fairy Glen?
Situated just outside of the port town of Uig are the mystical, rolling hills of the Fairy Glen. This unusual and breathtaking section of Skye’s landscape is rich with ancient stories, tales, and mythology regarding how it was made and what creatures reside within its lush, green scenery.
As for the actual landscape of the Fairy Glen, it is believed to have been formed by another landslip, similar to that which formed the stunning Quiraing and the Storr. Over the coming centuries, this dramatic landscape was then shaped and smoothed by the glacial movement that happened during the previous ice-age.
The Fairy Glen on Skye’s History
Despite its name, there are no traceable legends or tales that link the activity of fairies to this part of the Skye. It is believed that the name Fairy Glen simply came from the unusual and entrancing landscape of the rolling hills and towering peaks. In particular, one part of the glen is of real, magical significance; the naturally formed “castle ruin” Castle Ewan.
Upon visiting the Fairy Glen on Skye your attention will immediately be drawn to the large, basalt outcrop of rock that towers over the glen. Despite its likeness to that of a castle ruin, this rock tower is actually the result of the aforementioned landslide and natural weathering over the centuries.
How Do You Get to the Fairy Glen?
You can either reach the Fairy Glen by driving and parking close to the attraction or by parking in Uig and either walking or catching a lift in the local shuttle bus. The latter is recommended as there is not a lot of parking available at the location itself.
The amount of walking required to reach the Fairy Glen will depend on how you get there. There is parking available right at the bottom of the hill leading to the Fairy Glen, however, this parking is very limited, with only space for around 4-5 cars. This means if you are visiting during the busy summer period you are not likely to get a space up at the glen.
Also note that this route is not suitable for large vehicles, so if you have a van or bus you are not permitted along this route.
The other option is to park in the town of Uig and then walk from there up to the Fairy Glen. This walk will take you roughly 30-minutes and is along a tarmac road, so it is not too difficult.
Whether you walk or drive to the glen, your route will be the same. In the town of Uig, there is a small, single-track road leading away from the town that is directly across from the Tower of Uig. Follow this road along for 1.3miles until you reach a small pond on the righthand side of the road.
This is where the parking spaces are if you are driving this road, so pull in here and you will see a small sign on the right after the pond. Behind this sign is a track that leads up onto the hill, this is the path to the Fairy Glen.
If you do not want to walk up to the Fairy Glen then your final option is to park in Uig once again and book a space on the shuttle bus that runs between Uig and the glen. This will drop you off at the bottom of the hill and is a much easier option than walking from the town.
What to Pack and Wear on Your Visit to Fairy Glen
The walk from the pond up to the Fairy Glen is a steep incline that gets very muddy and slippery during busy periods and wet seasons. We highly recommend that you, therefore, wear sturdy shoes with good grip and a waterproof quality to prevent you from getting wet feet.
A waterproof jacket along with layers is another requirement for this walk. Depending on what the weather is like when you visit, you could experience sunshine or heavy rain. Even in the summer months, you can expect to see 4 seasons in one day on the Isle of Skye, so a warm, waterproof jacket will keep you dry and protected.
When you are walking up to the Fairy Glen, we would advise you to bring a small backpack with you with the following essentials:
- extra layer
Conditions in Scotland are always changing and can be very unpredictable, switching from scorching sunshine to freezing rain in a matter of minutes. Therefore, it is always a good idea to be prepared for all 4 seasons whenever you head out into the countryside.
The path up to the Fairy Glen is visible and the walk tends to be busy with other tourists. However, we would always advise when going hiking, you take a map and compass. If you plan on heading off the beaten track it can be very easy to get lost and conditions change in this area quickly.
How Long Does it Take to Walk the Fairy Glen?
Once you reach the pond at the bottom of the Fairy Glen and almost there. From this point, it is just a short 10-minute walk to the glen itself. Head up this path and keep following the track until you reach the unmistakable spiral in the centre of the glen.
As you make your way up this hill be sure to turn around and admire the view every now and again, as the surrounding landscape in this part of Skye is simply breathtaking. When we visited it was especially rainy, which resulted in the waterfalls in the surrounding mountains especially prominent.
It is easy to see why there is such a link with the mythological fairies and this island due to the amount of flowing water on the island.
Protecting the Beauty of the Fairy Glen
As you make your way up to the Fairy Glen you will no doubt notice the multiple signs that discuss the act of disturbing the natural beauty of the Fairy Glen with litter, stone circles, and rock stacking. This is a new phase that has begun to plague the beauty of the islander as tourism to the Isle of Skye has increased.
For unknown reasons, there has been an increase in the act of moving rocks from the area to form either a Fairy Glen stone circle on the ground or to make stone stacks around the glen. At one point during the busy, summer period it was noted that there were over FIFTY stone stacks around the Fairy Glen, as well as countless spirals of rocks.
Not only does moving rocks out of their natural position ruin the natural beauty of the glen, but you can also damage the fragile ecosystem of the environment, such as the home to bugs and critters that live under them. It also increases the amount of soil erosion due to rain and footsteps as the rocks are not there to hold the ground together.
As with any trip into nature, it is important to remember that we are only a temporary visitor to this beautiful part of the world and that we must leave it as we found it for future generations to enjoy as we have. Do not move stones or rocks during your visit and please make sure to take all litter home with you.
leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories
Other Sights to See on the Isle of Skye
Whilst you are on Skye you may as well check out the other breathtaking sights that Skye has to offer.
The Old Man of Storr near Portree
Formed by an ancient, enormous landslide, the breathtaking mountain range of the Storr came into being thousands of years ago. As a result of this natural event, the standing stone that came to be known as the “Old Man” was born. It is believed that this name comes from the similarities the rock has to the features of an old man’s face.
Take a trip up the hillside and decide for yourself if this story is true.
Before You Leave on Your Trip to the Isle of Skye
Before you leave on your trip to the Isle of Skye there are a few things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. These include how to get there and around the island, what to pack and where to stay, all of which are discussed below.
How to Get to the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is connected to mainland Scotland by the Skye Bridge, a free road bridge, from Kyle of Lochalsh to the village of Kyleakin on the island. In high winds, the bridge will close to high vehicles and on days of particularly extreme weather, the bridge may close to all vehicles.
Another option is to get the ferry over to Skye which typically takes around 30 minutes, leaving from Mallaig on the mainland to Armadale. You can check the timetables online as there is typically only a morning and afternoon ferry running.
If you are travelling to Skye without a vehicle, buses run from Scotland’s major cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh direct to Isle of Skye’s capital, Portree. Buses to the Isle of Skye run from other areas in Scotland and you can plan your bus journey to Skye here.
Once you are on the island, you can book onto a tour that departs from Portree and takes you around the best sights that there are to see on the island. Read more about this tour and book your place right here.
Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye
These recommendations may vary depending on what activities you are wanting to do whilst on the island. We have based these accommodations close to the centre of the island and near Portree. In the summer Portree is extremely busy and we would recommend that you look to stay elsewhere if you want to avoid the crowds and traffic.
In the winter months, however, Portree is a pleasant and central location from which it is easy to get to many of the sights around the island.
Luxury – If you are looking for a comfortable apartment stay to come home to after a day exploring, Quayside Apartment is the perfect place for you. With spectacular views and a good central location, this accommodation is comfort plus for your next trip to Skye.
Mid-range – The Portree Hotel is a great central location for your stay in Skye. This hotel overlooks the main square in Portree and during the winter months, there are wood-burning stoves to keep you warm after a day of exploring.
Budget – If you are looking for a budget place to rest your head but still have a great view, The Pink House is the place to stay just for that. A continental breakfast is included in your stay and you can book a room with a great view out to sea.
If hostels are more your scene, you can check out the hostels available in Isle of Skye here.
Also Read – All the Best Free Things to do in Glasgow
What to Pack for the Isle of Skye
When it comes to packing for a trip to Scotland there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your trip to the Isle of Skye in winter, you can expect rain at some point. Due to this, the number one item on your packing list is a good waterproof jacket.
Second to that, another item to not leave home without is a good pair of warm and, if possible, waterproof boots. A lot of the best sights on Skye require a bit of walking to reach them and the conditions underfoot can become very muddy. You do not want to ruin a good pair of white trainers so pack some sturdy boots.
You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the winter months as the wind chill can be bitter.
Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around the Isle of Skye, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.
What is the Best Travel Insurance for Scotland
I know travel insurance is the least enjoyable thing to purchase and look at when you’re planning a trip, however, you wouldn’t want to be without it in the event that something happened. Accidents can happen anywhere and the extortionate medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.
To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We can recommend using World Nomads, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support.
FAQs on the Fairy Glen
What is the Fairy Glen?
As for the actual landscape of the Fairy Glen, it is believed to have been formed by another landslip, similar to that which formed the stunning Quiraing and the Storr.
Where is the Fairy Glen?
The Fairy Glen sits just outside the small town of Uig on the northern end of Skye. It can be reached by either driving, walking, or by catching the shuttle bus that sometimes runs from Uig.
When is the best time to visit the Fairy Glen
The best time of day to visit is early in the morning, due to the lack of traffic and other tourists. As for season, either late Spring or early Autumn are the best times of year to visit due to the lack of tourists.
So there you have it, your ultimate guide to Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye. If you are visiting this incredible place and have any other questions on what to expect, leave us a comment down below. We love to chat about this stuff! If you have already been, let us know how it was! Did you get a clear day to see the Fairy Glen? Did you manage the trip without getting caught in the rain? Let us know in the comments below!
Also, remember to share this with your friends and family that you are going to share this amazing adrenaline experience with. Sharing is caring and we want to ensure that everyone is fully prepared to maximise their experience completing this stunning walk.
If you are planning a Scotland trip soon then check out our other Scotland content right here. Come and find us on social media to see where we are currently exploring. Tag us in your photos from your bungee jump experience and we will share them with the rest of our community of explorers and backpackers.
- Visiting the Isle of Skye in Winter – All You Need to Know
- Isle of Skye – The Best Things to Do in Skye
- Isle of Skye Itinerary – One Day on the Isle of Skye
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