This Scottish island allowed us to discover beautiful landscapes, bridges, towns, and places that were worth well remembering. Fairy tale places that we often see in residential areas, where the life for us, being accustomed to the sun, would be hard but it has enabled these beautiful places to form that stressed tourists can enjoy. You can not stop as much as you would like to.
Old Man of Storr is a huge stone that evokes an elevation on a mountain. It is my favorite place to go in Skye! I think it's worth the trip just for the island. The trip takes about an hour in the pine forestby foot, but when you reach the top, one has a great vantage point of the island and the coast!
The Isle of Mull is the second largest of the Inner Hebrides, and the fourth with respect to the entire set of Hebrides. Its capital and most populous area is Tobermory, a small fishing village situated in a bay. The road network is complicated because they are mostly one-lane roads with walkways, so you really need to drive carefully, and also at night run the risk of running over deer. Be very careful when you are crossing and approaching the roads. The easiest road to navigate is the one that communicates Craignure to Tobermory, where the road has two lanes, one for each direction. The island's landscapes are incredible because most of the island is uninhabited allowing for a completely wild setup. The majority of the island is concentrated in specific points including Tobermory, Craignure, Salen, Bunessan and Fionphort. The island's main activity is fishing, livestock (cattle and sheep) tourism, as this island acts as an obligatory stop before visiting another island, the Isle of Iona, one of the holy places in Scotland for Christianity in Europe. It even seems like you are in a whole other world, a world much quieter and separated.
This island is only 5km long, but it's very charming. Surrounded by high cliffs, few people live here, but they are friendly people and will help you with anything you need. They live on fishing and wool farming, and the wool is of a very high quality. If you are a lover of birds you will enjoy it here, with puffins, guillemots, razorbills, gannets and other sea-birds that visit this place to nest in early summer. In its bird observatory you can stay over and see the work biologists are carrying out (vegetarian food). The island can be reached by boat and plane.
Arran is the 7th largest island in Scotland. It is about 432 km2 and located off the southwest coast. This island is nicknamed "Scotland in miniature" due to its variety and rich landscapes (rugged mountains in the north, green hills in the south, and lovely villages on the coast). Tourists frequent this island. To get there from Glasgow you have to take a train to Ardrossan, and once there is a regular line of a ferry (Caledonian MacBrayne). The journey takes about 55 minutes. Once you get of the ferry you are in the most important city, Brodick, which is famous for its castle, a majestic building built high from red sandstone facing the bay and surrounded by Victorian gardens. There is a 18 hole golf course, restaurants, shops, hotels ... And Arran Brewery (outside). You can do many different outdoors nature activities such as hiking, biking, etc..
After about 30 minutes by ferry, with lovely views of the bay, we got to at Rothesay, the capital of the Isle of Bute .It can be accessed by the north, on a ferry 6 minutes for the Argyll. The island, 15 miles long by about 4 miles wide, has natural landscapes that are varied, from its most urban, Rothesay, a tiny town with its own castle and several historic buildings, to beaches where we saw seals and the occasional dolphin. On our tour, we also saw noble houses, but mostly scenery and tranquility, being one of the quietest places we saw. The island can be seen in a day, if we start running early, you could even do a circular route if we went out to the south and the north of it . Local people (about 8,000) are friendly and attentive, willing to talk and help visitors, lost, as is my case, I always start wondering where I am and just talking about local stories ... But I think that helps to understand the history and customs. To eat, how could it be otherwise seafood, excellent in most of the island, but preferably avoiding the capital, where we are destined to the classic fish & chips. Overall a very good impression and eager to repeat, to expand knowledge about the island and enjoy. A highly recommended tour if you go by Glasgow and have a day to spare.
Iona is a small island belonging to the group of islands of the Inner Hebrides and next to the Isle of Mull, separated by the narrow strait of Iona. This island is famous for its scenery, peace and tranquility. In fact its fame is given on religious grounds with ancient origins, for the visit and stay of St. Columba (a Celtic name without translation, perhaps we could say St. Columbus, but this is neither accurate nor appropriate), founder and Catholic relgion transmitter in Scotland, with blessing and permission of the Pope of Rome. The general ignorance about these saints in Southern Europe is simply because over time were classified as Catholics - Celtic and were simply not mentioned or studied at school. The abbey is the main attraction of the island, completely rebuilt by priests of all religions, year after year, piece by piece. And that's the funny thing, this abbey is at the service of any religion, anywhere in the world that requires a kind of united nations of religions. The island also has a ruined convent, a few unspoiled walks and unusual places, you actually realize that neither the weather nor the time is taken into account. A lovely area - I had long wanted to go for a long time and the truth is that the visit was worth it.
Traveling by boat is always something special, on the west coast it can be done in Oban to the Isle of Mull. It is a highly recommended experience, you have many options and times during the day, you can do both if you're going to sleep in the Isle of Mull and Tobermory if you visit. The entreway and exit to Oban and Tobermory are great, with amazing views.
The Orkney Islands form an archipelago of about 70 islands of which only 20 are inhabited, they are off the north coast of Scotland. According to archaeological data found they were inhabited some 5,000 years ago, but according to local historians, they were inhabited 8,000 years ago (but this figure is still untested). Located in the North Sea, Nordic culture merged with Scottish and it has a contrast of landscapes, buildings, stories and other legends. Its capital is the largest island, known as Mainland (Kirkwall = Wall Capital Church) that is now attached to the islands of Soth Ronaldsay and Burray. Other highlights are islands like: Today, Shapinsay, Rousay, Eday, Stronsay, Westray Sanday and North Ronaldsay. On the islands there are numerous prehistoric sites, whales, seals, cliffs, lakes, beaches, Viking buildings and names like Olaf and Magnus. We found a company that has developed to maintain traditional values of ancient times like subsistence. There are also excellent pieces of literature, such as the medieval production "The Orkneyinga Saga". It is a very special place and because of its remote location it has a low number of visitors, this made us feel that we were part of the place. Really when you are there, it seems that time stops still. At least, a corner very different even in Scotland, and an unforgettable getaway.
Rising from Balloch towards Luss, by the A82 highway passing along the shore of Loch Lomond, you pass through many small islands. In total, Loch Lomond has more than 30 islands. Almost no one lives here, and over the centuries it's served as a place of refuge to pray or to hide from the enemy. The first millennium BC changed much wildlife in Scotland, and the weather became more welcoming. The Good Earth was worth one fight. People began to build houses, for example on Swan Island, an artificial island built by man which a house in the middle. Behind the island you can see Inchtavannach, which means the island of a monk's house. It is believed that St Kessog, who was the patron saint of Scotland for a while, settled on the island in the 6th century and was killed about 520. In 1315, King Robert the Bruce made it a shrine in honor of the saint. The highest point of the island is known as the "hill of the bell". There was a bell to call people to prayer. Now you can visit the islands by using boats.
Once aboard the Hamnavoe, after a short sail we had our first visual contact of Orkney, with the cliffs of the west coast of the island of Hoy. Largely uninhabited and a famous nature reserve for those who enjoy maritime birds. "The Old Man of Hoy" (today Old Man) is a stone column that rises parallel to the cliff. According to locals the best view is from a boat, as the cliffs are the most dangerous in the area due to the common circular winds. The natural step to the island is made from Stromness (Mainland) to the small port of Moaness. Once on the island, the landscape is beautiful, but we found a single communication channel that only runs the East Coast (from Moaness to Longhope) was almost inaccessible leaving the opposite coast. It is certainly the most sought after attraction cruise to and from Orkney.
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, off the north coast in the East of England, is one of the most special places I have had the pleasure of visiting, not only in the UK, in general. A unique place, whose situation makes even the sky, sunsets and sunrises spectacular. In fact it can not be accessed when desired. The tide decides if and when you can get to it, since the access road (road for pilgrims marked by a fence) are invaded by the sea, making Holy Island an island or peninsula, depending on the tide. Lindisfarne was chosen by St. Aidan in 635 AD to establish a monastery on his way from another holy island in Great Britain, the island of Iona.Holy Island is famous for being the birthplace of one of the most famous Gospels in the UK and Europe - The Lindisfarne Gospels. On a small island nearby Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne decided to retire to live as a hermit and die, his cross is still visible and at sunset creates a stunning visual effect. We delighted in our amazing trip where land and sea mixed, visited the castle and the remains of the abbey, tasted local fresh fish and sampled a specialty drink that is a legacy of the monks: Mead or honey wine, together with monastic liqueurs, though less original. Really, I lack words to express what I feel about Lindisfarne. I sincerely hope that images of this place are more eloquent than I am. The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, a unique place that makes us feel that God, or something, still exists.
At one end of the Isla Santa, opposite the Priory, there is a small island, which is accessible by boat or on foot (only when the tide is very empty and for a very short time because you take the risk of getting trapped). This island was called San Curthbert by an Anglo-Saxon saint, patron of Northumberland. Since he retreated there to pray daily, he built a cross, that produces spectacular effects when the sun aligns with it that is hard to define. This makes giving messes on the beach, looking at the island and the cross with the sunset, quite a different experience. This saint, whose remains (after having opened the grave 3 times) are claimed uncorrupted, is considered one of the most miraculous of the history of the UK, so many people just go to touch his cross. At a layman level, the island is very small, but it offers beautiful landscapes, whether the landscape is the island itself or what the island scenery offers. The sky in that spot seems to take quite peculiar shapes and colors. In my opinion it is a beautiful and special place.
The most touristy site on the island is the ruins of the monastery. It's worth a walk around the island, between green meadows. You can get a boat from Enniskillen to get to the island, but I went to a pier 5 km north of the city.
Hilbre Island is the largest of 3 islands in the River Dee estuary in England. The other 2 islands are Middle Eye and Little Eye. It is approximately 47,000 square feet and is 2 miles from the coast. As a protected area access is limited to 50 people/day. If interested, contact the Wirral Coastal Service, which will give you a free permit, and will guide you with your visit, such as the way to access the islands on foot during the 5 hours the sea is agreeable. Over its history, noting that has been inhabited since the Stone Age and for more than a thousand years, monks settled here, even today it still has their cells. In modern times a small desalination plant was installed. Today the island is uninhabited and was purchased by the City of Wirral 34 years ago. I encourage you to visit because it's a pleasant walk, that starts from a place called Marina Lake. A small artificial lake with seawater, where you can practice sports like surfing or sailing. Once in Hilbre, you will meet many animal species, it's a major place of interest for ornithologists. There's a small abandoned lighthouse and the remains of the old monk's cells. Take the necessary precautions because a visit can be dangerous, despite the schedules recommended by the coast guard as to where it is possible to walk when the tide is in/out. As they indicate you, you can walk directly into Hilbre, but that should be circumvented, since the sands are dangerous, if not go the advised way.
Once we disembarked the ferry, we found a wonderful little community, proud of their island and wanting to promote it. Urban life is centered in the capital, Millport, which was the center of activities for our visit (the only town on the island). It's very typical to rent bikes including one with five seats, to explore the island (you can do well in a day, since it's only 4 km long by 2 km wide). The island is quite flat and the more colorful geography is focused on its periphery, with various bays and coves, beautiful views, e.g. Largs or other major islands like Bute (in the past under control of the Marquis of Bute). Hopefully, you'll see seals, dolphins, whales and various birds, especially outside the peak season (usually mid July-mid September). You can haver a day great exploring the island and seeing everything that is small, but complete, island has to offer, including a cathedral. The locals seem to have no interest in what happens outside of the island, despite there being more than good press. From Glasgow or from Stirling, it's an enjoyable and recommended trip.
St Michael's Mount is almost a copy of the more famous Mont Saint-Michel, with the same characteristics: at high tide, it looks like an island, but at low tide, you see that the island is actually connected to the mainland by a huge sandy strip, and you can reach it by means of a cobbled path that was underwater just a few hours before. On the island you'll find a lovely twelfth century castle and a quaint village, and if you forget about the time and find yourself stranded, don't worry, as boats also offer access to and from the mainland.