Skye in winter is extraordinarily beautiful. Photographers adore this time of year, as the layered light casts purples and pinks over mountains and lochs. The island’s photogenic allure draws them to places like Elgol, where the ‘hairy loch’ at Cill Chriosd (Christ’s Church), and the mountain Blaven, both along the road from Broadford to Elgol, often emerge from light swathes of mist and cloud under the clear winter sun.
During the off-season, the iconic hotspots on the Misty Isle, which can be bustling during summer, transform into tranquil havens. The island regains its remote and wild character, inviting visitors to explore without the crowds.
Starry Nights and Musical Whispers-
Dark skies adorned with stars and occasional displays of the Northern Lights enhance the island’s appeal. Musicians emerge from their hideaways, filling inns with impromptu gigs of traditional music and Gaelic singing. Additionally, the Seall Festival of Small Halls in November offers an organised annual event for music enthusiasts. See the Seall year-round programme.
Misty Isle Boat Trips-
Nestled in the Cuillin Hills, the family-owned business, Misty Isle Boat Trips, runs from March to October. Whisking visitors away from Elgol to Loch Coruisk, led by local skipper Seumas Mackinnon, the crew shares captivating tales and legends while you sail through the stunning highland scenery.
Talisker Distillery, situated on the shores of Loch Harport with spectacular views of the Cuillin Hills, is the oldest operating distillery on the Isle of Skye. Talisker is open year-round and offers its signature distillery tour, a multi-sensory tasting session, and a cask and draw tasting experience. (New for the Spring in the 2024 season Talisker and the renowned Three Chimneys restaurant are launching a unique pop-up dining experience).
Skye boasts no less than four Michelin Guide Restaurants (check ahead for winter opening times) including the only restaurant in the Hebrides to hold a Michelin Star – Michael Smith’s Loch Bay at Stein on the Waternish Peninsula. Edinbane Lodge on Skye had a stellar 2023 with its Chef Calum Montgomery winning Scottish Chef of the Year 2023 and Scottish Restaurant of the Year 2023.
In the south of Skye you can find the tiny and very personally run four star (Visit Scotland) restaurant with rooms in Coruisk House. Both Coruisk House and the self-catering cottage, An Nead, in Elgol on Skye, are owned and run by Iain Roden and Clare Winskill. An Nead is open all year and apart from Christmas and New Year, Iain and Clare will open the restaurant at Coruisk House for guests staying in An Nead for some truly spectacular dishes of Skye ingredients served with wine from the couple’s selection of Skye Fine Wines. Look ahead to Spring for the bi-annual wine tasting at Coruisk House too! The wines of Burgundy are a particular favourite!
More and more of the accommodation on Skye is now offered year-round, you can find these on EmbraceScotland – so whether you are an intrepid hiker looking for spectacular walks in the snow, or you just want to coorie up in front of a roaring fire with cake and a mug of tea, there is something for everyone!
Image credits: Loch Coruisk image – Seumas MacKinnon, Landscape images- Clare Winskill (Owner of An Nead)