Skye-walker: A Photo Journal

The Scottish island of Skye is one of the most photogenic parts of the United Kingdom. Find out why with this visual journal of a trip through the west of Scotland. Photographs by Matthew Richardson.

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle. Image credit: Matthew Richardson

The second largest Scottish island and the third most-visited place in Scotland, Skye has long attracted photographers from all over the world due to its striking, craggy rock formations, tiny fishing villages straight off a postcard, undulating moss-green hills and medieval castles.

The journey to Skye

Driving through Scotland to the island of Skye takes you past countless locations of natural beauty. Loch Lomond is about an hour’s drive north-west of Glasgow and the largest expanse of inland water in Britain.

Loch Lomond, Scotland
Families on the bank of Loch Lomond. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

You might recognise Glencoe from the Bond film Skyfall, several of the Harry Potter movies or many other films that have taken advantage of this gloriously scenic corner of Scotland. The landscape was created centuries ago by a combination of glaciers and volcanic eruptions. Driving from Glencoe to Skye is an incredibly picturesque part of this journey.

Glencoe. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.
Dornie, Skye
The village of Dornie. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

Dornie is located by the Skye Bridge, the access point from the mainland to the island. It used to be a fishing village, but it’s now used largely as a base for people heading to Skye or the famous Eilean Donan Castle.

Eilean Donan Castle. Syke
Eilean Donan Castle. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.
Eilean Donan Castle
Looking across to Eilean Donan Castle. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most popular photography sites in Scotland – for good reason. This castle sits on an island in the middle of the lake overlooking the island of Skye. The site was originally a monastic cell, founded in 634AD by Bishop Donan, and it became a castle in the 13th century, built by Alexander II in an attempt to protect the coast from Viking invasions.

Exploring Skye

The name ‘Skye’ comes from the Norse sky-a, which means ‘cloud island’. It’s these clouds that make Skye so wonderful to photograph, the moody sky making every dramatic scene even more captivating.

Driving south to Elgol. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

The village of Elgol is on the south coast of Skye, on the shores of Loch Scavaig.

Elgol, Skye
The Elgol coast. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.
Skye, Scotland
A lone tree. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.
Sligachan Bridge, Skye
Sligachan Bridge. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

Skye’s ‘Fairy Pools’ are frequented by those hardy enough to brave the chill of the water, as well as sheep, rabbits, birds and red deer.

Fairy pools, Skye.
Fairy Pools. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

Sunset to sunrise in just six hours

During the summer, the nights are short, so it’s possible to watch sunset on one side of Skye and see the sun rise again on the other side just six hours later.

Skye sunset
People watching the sunset. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

10.12pm: watching the sun go down…

The sun about to set. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

4.26am: rising early to catch dawn breaking on the other side of the island, a mere six hours later.

Sunrise in Skye. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

Hiking hills for the valley views

Heading to the north of the island, the Quiraing is a walking route that showcases Skye’s sublime scenery. A huge landslip formed this terrain of cliffs and peaks.

Quiraing, Skye
The Quiraing. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.
Quiraing, Skye
The Quiraing. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.
Quiraing, Skye
The Quiraing. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.
Oh, hi there. A curious sheep pops up to say hello. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.
It’s a sign. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

Not far from the Quiraing route is the most iconic site on Skye: the Old Man of Storr. These jagged pinnacles have become a must-see spot for visitors to the Scottish Highlands.

The Old Man of Storr, Skye
The Old Man of Storr. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

Neist Point Lighthouse is perched on the west coast. Walking the path towards it affords views of the rugged cliff faces and out across the frigid water.

Neist Point, Skye
The walk to Neist Point Lighthouse. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.
Neist Point Lighthouse, Skye
Neist Point Lighthouse. Image credit: Matthew Richardson.

Check it out: more information about travelling to Scotland, where to stay and when to go.