The Isle of Skye, commonly known as Skye is the largest and northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island’s peninsulas radiate from a mountainous centre dominated by the Cuillin, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. Skye’s population increased by 4 per cent between 1991 and 2001. The main industries are tourism, agriculture, fishing and forestry. Skye is part of the Highland Council local government area. The island’s largest settlement is Portree, which is also its capital, known for its picturesque harbour. There are links to various nearby islands by ferry and, since 1995, to the mainland by a road bridge. The climate is mild, wet and windy. The abundant wildlife includes the golden eagle, red deer and Atlantic salmon. The local flora is dominated by the heather moor, and there are nationally important invertebrate populations on the surrounding sea bed. Skye has provided the locations for various novels and feature films and is celebrated in poetry and song. Portree in the north at the base of Trotternish is the largest settlement (estimated population 2,264 in 2011) and is the main service centre on the island. Broadford, the location of the island’s only airstrip, is on the east side of the island and Dunvegan in the north-west is well known for its castle and the nearby Three Chimneys restaurant. The 18th-century Stein Inn on the Waternish coast is the oldest pub on Skye. Kyleakin is linked to Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland by the Skye Bridge, which spans the narrows of Loch Alsh. Uig, the port for ferries to the Outer Hebrides, is on the west of the Trotternish peninsula and Edinbane is between Dunvegan and Portree. Much of the rest of the population lives in crofting townships scattered around the coastline.
History: The island has been occupied since the Mesolithic period, and its history includes a time of Norse rule and a long period of domination by Clan MacLeod and Clan Donald. The most powerful clans on Skye in the post–Norse period were Clan MacLeod, originally based in Trotternish, and Clan Macdonald of Sleat. After the failure of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, Flora MacDonald became famous for rescuing Prince Charles Edward Stuart from the Hanoverian troops. Although she was born on South Uist her story is strongly associated with their escape via Skye and she is buried at Kilmuir in Trotternish. Samuel Johnson and James Boswell’s visit to Skye in 1773 and their meeting with Flora MacDonald in Kilmuir is recorded in Boswell’s The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides. Boswell wrote, “To see Dr Samuel Johnson, the great champion of the English Tories, salute Miss Flora MacDonald in the isle of Sky, was a striking sight; for though somewhat congenial in their notions, it was very improbable they should meet here”. Johnson’s words that Flora MacDonald was “A name that will be mentioned in history, and if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour” are written on her gravestone. After this rebellion, the clan system was broken up and Skye became a series of landed estates.
In the late 18th century the harvesting of kelp became a significant activity but from 1822 on cheap imports led to a collapse of this industry throughout the Hebrides. During the 19th century, the inhabitants of Skye were also devastated by famine and Clearances. Thirty thousand people were evicted between 1840 and 1880 alone, many of them forced to emigrate to the New World. Historically, Skye was overwhelmingly Gaelic-speaking, but this changed between 1921 and 2001. In both the 1901 and 1921 censuses, all Skye parishes were more than 75 per cent Gaelic-speaking. By 1971, only Kilmuir parish had more than three-quarters Gaelic speakers while the rest of Skye ranged between 50 and 74 per cent. At that time, Kilmuir was the only area outside the Western Isles that had such a high proportion of Gaelic speakers. In the 2001 census, Kilmuir had just under half Gaelic speakers, and overall, Skye had 31 per cent, distributed unevenly.
*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)
Airport: Inverness Airport is the nearest airport located at a distance of 180 km from the Isle of Skye.
Rail: Scotrail operates train services from various destinations within Scottland to Kyle and Mallaig from where vehicles are available to reach the Isle of Skye.
Road: Skye is connected to the mainlands by the Skye Bridge, which is located at the Kyle of Lochalsh. Various trunk roads from the major cities of Scottland is connected to the Kyle of Locklash. Citilink services operate coaches from Inverness, Glasgow and Fort William to Portree and Uig (for western isles sailings) via Kyle of Lochalsh and Broadford.
Ferry: Ferries sail from Armadale on the island to Mallaig, and from Kylerhea to Glenelg. Ferries also run from Uig to Tarbert on Harris and Lochmaddy on North Uist, and from Sconser to Raasay.
Portree: Portree is the largest town on, and capital of, the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It serves as the base in exploring the island with the number of hotels and restaurants.
Quiraing: The Quiraing is a landslip on the northernmost summit of the Trotternish on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The whole of the Trotternish Ridge escarpment was formed by a great series of landslips; the Quiraing is the only part of the slip still moving – the road at its base, near Flodigarry, requires repairs each year.
The Old Man of Storr: The Storr is a rocky hill on the Trotternish peninsula of the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The hill presents a steep rocky eastern face overlooking the Sound of Raasay, contrasting with gentler grassy slopes to the west.
Kilt Rock: The Kilt shaped rock formation with the Mealt Waterfalls is situated to the east of Elishader or Ellishadder township.
Fairy Pools: The Fairy Pools are a natural waterfall phenomenon in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye. The vivid blues and greens of the pools suggest an unnatural origin.
Sligachan: A scenic destination with a nearby small settlement lies at the foot of Black Cuillin. The River Sligachan runs below the rock bridge beautifully located in the spot.
The other places of interest here are Fairy Glen, the Skye Museum of Island life, Dunvegan Castle, Armadale Castle, Talisker Beach and others.