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to the highlands // one week on the isle of skye – the lazy travelers

– This post, “to the highlands // one week on the isle of skye ” includes affiliate links.

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to the highlands // one week on the isle of skye – the lazy travelers

– This post, “to the highlands // one week on the isle of skye ” includes affiliate links. This means that if you decide to book some of our recommendations, we may receive a small commission. – I’ve wanted to visit the Isle of Skye since… I honestly can’t recall. I just know that it’s been at the top of my list for a long, long time. Unfortunately, it’s one of those destinations that comes with a lengthy list of solid reasons not to go. As anyone will tell you, if you want decent weather, you have to go in July or August. Plus, it’s far and hard-to-reach, so you really need to go for at least 4 days to make it worth the travel time. But! Once you’re there, it’s misty and magical and made for cozy jumpers and cups of tea! BUT! Who wants to spend their prized vaca time hauling it up to what is essentially a cool-weather destination during the peak of summer? A woman who just had a baby, THAT’S WHO. I’m thinking back to last summer, and realizing that we were maybe slightly insane? Henry arrived nearly three weeks early, in early April. Six weeks later, we boarded a flight to the US, and celebrated my sister’s wedding. A few weeks after we landed back in London, we spent a quick weekend at the Four Seasons Hampshire. About a month later, we spent nabbed ourselves a 4-day weekend on Daylesford Farm. Shortly after that, we… moved flats. Yes, with a 2.5 year old and a 3.5 month old, we packed up our lives and our flat and said our tearful farewells. We tailed a moving van to a few neighborhoods over and a few flights up, where we found ourselves in a 3rd floor walk-up, on a leafy little street in Notting Hill. (We have since backpedaled on that decision and moved to a lower ground floor flat, same street. My spine is eternally grateful.) ANYWAY. Before we signed the lease, because we knew we wanted to move to Notting Hill, we also knew we had to plan to leave over the last weekend of August. If you’re in the UK, then you know that that’s a bank holiday weekend, meaning everyone has off that Monday. If you’re in London, you probably know that that’s also when Carnival falls. A 3-day, 24-hour street party that takes over almost all of Notting Hill, and most definitely the area around our flat. Know what’s extremely inconvenient when you’re trying to get a 4-month old to sleep through the night? A 3-day, 24-hour street party. AND SO, in the midst of my pregnancy, our brainstorming began. I knew I wouldn’t want to go anywhere too hot, since newborns and high temps do not pair well. (This is mainly true if you suffer from postpartum anxiety and have an extreme dependency on Dr. Google. Hello, I was and am afflicted with both.) We brainstormed and fairly quickly agreed: this was the ideal time to finally (finally!) visit the Isle of Skye. how we traveled // We woke up early for a pre-9 AM flight to Inverness, and arrived just over 90 minutes later. Inverness airport is tiny, and we got a shuttle to a funny little office to pick up our rental car. We travel with our own carseats, by the way, and installing them is STILL a headache. It is, without a doubt, the only truly horrible part about traveling with children. I honestly only wish away time when I dream of the days they’ll be big enough not to need carseats, I mean it. But alas, they are still wee ones, as the Scots say. So install the carseats we (read: Jeff) did, and eventually, we were off. We were faced with a nearly 3-hour drive to the cottage we rented, but agreed to stop along the way, if needed. Fortunately, both kids zonked out almost immediately, and we made it two straight hours to Loch Carron. (In Wester Ross!) (Not Westeros). We stopped at a little craft store for treats and coffees. Obviously, we ended up buying adorable little sheep-lined booties for Henry. Don’t worry, I managed to tear them the very first time I put them on his giant sausage feet. From there, we drove directly to the cottage we rented in Dunvegan. where we stayed // Here’s the thing. The accommodation options in Isle of Skye are pretty limited, and from our research, we decided a cottage was probably the best bet. It seems that pretty much all of the cottage rental companies get the same feedback. If your cottage is fine, your experience is fine. If there are any issues, then the company probably will not offer any support. Fortunately, ours was beautiful, but unfortunately, we did run into some small issues that became bigger when we tagged in the company. Even so, I’m not going to call out our specific company. I was really frustrated with our customer service experience, yes. The cottage we rented was mostly really nice, and the location was incredible. There was a ton of space, and we had all the basics we needed. It looked out on a picture-perfect loch, and a herd of sheep hung out on our front lawn every single day. Unfortunately, it was not cleaned properly before we checked in, and that set off a whole series of irritating, uninteresting events. I really only mention it, because I do think it’s worth knowing that this is not uncommon. We later lamented about this experience with friends who travel often to Scotland, and they kind of said this is par for the Scottish experience. All’s lovely until you have a complaint, and then it become a weird, exhausting blame game. (Please note Henry’s booties. SO cute, so short-lived.) This certainly rang true, so just do your research. Pay more attention to the negative reviews than the positives, even if they seem few and far between. I think the biggest issue is the fact that all of Skye is working hard to catch up to the sudden surge in tourism. There’s now a huge demand that they can’t quite match. I also suspect that as Skye’s popularity continues to rise, so will the range of accommodation options. When it comes down to it, though, I can say that having a little lochside cottage of our own was, generally, pretty stellar. what we did // When you’re traveling with kids, itinerary planning can be a massive waste of time. Everyone’s interests and motivations can change daily, if not hourly. We learned early: when traveling with kids, it’s best to keep your expectations as low as possible. Oh, and always bring extra snacks. And then pack some more snacks on top of the extras. Portree | This is Skye’s capital and largest village. We decided to visit early in the week, so we could go back again throughout the week if we loved it. And we did! We had lunch, we walked along the cobbled streets and down along the water, and we did some shopping. The best buy? This book, “There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie,” obv. Old Man of Storr | If you google things to do on the Isle of Skye, a hike up the Storr and a visit to the Old Man (aka: a series of rock formations overlooking the Sound of Raasay) is on every single list. We ended up heading over fully unprepared, but figured we’d just scout out the easy — yet steep — hike. We made it about halfway before Margot sat herself down on a rock, sighed deeply, and said she was ready to go home and see the sheep now. Naturally, that’s exactly what we did instead of push to the top. But we did stop on our way home at a cute honor bar-style farmstand, complete with eggs, homemade sweets (including a fudge-like sweet call Scottish tablet), and fresh jam. We left with our spoils for the tiny amount of sterling that was requested. Dunvegan Castle | This was another highlight that was extremely close to our cottage (telling you, its location was unbeatable!), and we were happy to go in and poke around a bit. The real highlight for all of us were the grounds and the gardens, and it was a good little half-day excursion for us all. Neist Point | Like the Old Man, Neist Point is on every Skye-related list. We again didn’t make it all the way along the trail, but we were happy to take in the views on our own, abbreviated version. The Fairy Pools | This was a hike that we made a point of fully preparing for. We packed lunches in the morning, and ate a big snack in the car before we set off. I wore Henry in the ErgoBaby 360, and together we crossed streams and climbed over rocks and looked for fairies. Margot was ON BOARD for this hike. I honestly believe her when she says she saw fairies swimming in the pools. where we ate // We cooked breakfast and dinner at home, which worked out well for us. But we ate lunch out pretty much every day, and these were the stand-outs. Dulse & Brose | This little gastropub in Portree was adorably decorated, and a worthy lunchspot in a town that is the definition of SO STINKIN CUTE. Jann’s Cakes | Jann’s was around the corner from our cottage, and she comes with a lot of diehard fans. Katie of Stories my Suitcase Could Tell was really my biggest motivator for going, mainly because she grew up in the Outer Hebrides, so I trusted her for an authentic rec. (The Isle of Skye is one of the Inner Hebrides islands.) YEP, STACKED UP. We ordered sandwiches before our cakes, but I’d say just go for the cake. Skeabost House Hotel | We considered staying here when we weren’t sure if a hotel would be preferable. Based on our experience at the restaurant, I’d say it’s a great option for couples or families with older kids. It just felt like a serene and relaxed place, and while they were great with Margot & Henry, the general vibe was definitely just a bit more grown up. The Three Chimneys | We were extremely lucky we nabbed a (very!) last minute lunch res here. It’s consistently named one of the best restaurants in the UK, and arguably cited as the best in Scotland. They don’t accept kids under 8 for dinners, but there were little ones at at least three other tables during our meal, and the staff was lovely. They even amended the seasonal gnocchi dish for Margot to enjoy (upon request), but then they both passed out for the majority of the meal. We took her gnocchi to go, and it was basically like we had our own little Michelin-starred vaca lunch. LUXE. This trip really was so special. This year, we opted for a more traditional summer holiday, complete with sun and lots of sand. (So much sand, I’m still finding sand from that trip.) It was incredible, but a little part of me felt wistful for extra long days donned in jumpers and wellies, going on long walks, looking for fairies. But our little Scottish escape didn’t end with Skye! Stay tuned for the final three nights. xo! ashley – This post, “to the highlands // one week on the isle of skye ” includes affiliate links. This means that if you decide to book some of our recommendations, we may receive a small commission. –

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