The Isle of Skye in Scotland is one of the most sought-after destinations for landscape photographers in Europe and rightly so. It offers an impressive variety of stunning landscapes in a relatively compact area. With this article, I introduce you to some of my favorite travel photography locations, with some practical tips about how to reach them and the best times of the day to photograph them.
The Quiraing (pronounced kwir-ang) is a huge escarpment formed when half of the Trotternish Range slipped in a gigantic landslide, exposing cliffs, pinnacles, and rocky plateaus. The face of the cliff points east so it’s a perfect location for sunrise. From the car park at the top of the road that climbs up from the village of Staffin, a clearly-marked path heads North and goes below the top of the ridge. This is where you will find the most popular spots. Another path leads south from the same car park and offers many alternative viewpoints.
The Old Man of Storr
The dark, basaltic pinnacles of the Storr are quite unique and striking. The tallest one is called the Old Man. It is the leftmost of the three depicted in this photo. This is another location for early morning shoots. It’s quite a steep walk up from the car park along the A855. It takes about 45 minutes to reach this spot and 15 more to climb to an even higher viewpoint, from which the photo below was taken. Therefore, if you want to shoot at sunrise, you will have to start your hike in darkness. Bring a flashlight!
Neist Point is the westernmost point on the Isle of Skye and so it is perfectly suited for a sunset shoot. The spot from which this photo was taken is only a short walk from the car park, but if you’re brave and adventurous, you can walk to the base of the cliffs below the lighthouse and get some cool shots from there. I didn’t do it when I was at Neist Point because of the rain, but I’m looking forward to my next visit there, hoping for better weather. The bay to the south of the promontory is also quite photogenic.
If you’re going to the Storr, you can’t miss Loch Fada, a beautiful lake that lies a short distance from the A855, north of Portree. On a windless morning, you can easily capture beautiful reflections of the Storr, with the small island in the middle of the lake acting as an added point of interest for your compositions.
The Fairy Pools
The Fairy Pools are one of the most popular spots on Skye and not just with photographers. There are endless small waterfalls along this tributary of the River Brittle, but you have to be patient and wait for people to move out of your frame. Best avoided when it’s sunny, the Fairy Pools offer the best opportunities under moody, overcast skies. Even better if it’s raining, as it will be much quieter.
The area around the old bridge on the River Sligachan offers many interesting compositions, with or without the bridge. This one is from the side of the road, looking east towards the distinctive, conical shape of the Glamaig hill.
I almost always found gloomy skies when passing by this place, but was lucky enough to find nice light at least once. One good thing about Sligachan is that it’s a very central location. You’re bound to drive by it many times if criss-crossing the island in the course of a few days.