Autumn on the Isle of Skye
A season for Adventure & Discovery
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"The Isle of Skye is one of Scotland's most beautiful places - especially so in the Autumn months, when the tourists and midges drift away and the light on the mountains is at its most magical. "
SLOW SKYE AUTUMN ITINERARIES ...
MySkyeTime mission is to encourage travellers to immerse themselves in the local culture and natural surroundings of our beautiful island, rather than simply rushing through the popular tourist attractions
This approach promotes a deeper connection by focusing on quality experiences, sustainability, and respect for the environment. It encourages travellers to engage in activities like walking, cycling, or using public transportation; allowing them to appreciate the journey as much as the destination. Our Slow Skye itineraries are designed to showcase some of Skye’s hidden gems, walks and small businesses – away from the well trodden tourist trail.
Visiting Skye during the off season is a fantastic way to support local businesses and reduce the environmental impact of tourism. Here are some additional tips and considerations for those planning a trip to Skye during the quieter months:
Some businesses may close or have reduced hours during the quieter seasons. Make sure to check their websites or contact them in advance to confirm their operating hours to avoid disappointment.
While on the island, consider purchasing local products and crafts. This helps support the local economy and provides you with unique souvenirs to take home. We particularly love the Isle of Skye Sea Salt Company for adding something special to your cosy dinners, and Skye Skyns bespoke collection of sheepskin rugs.
While Skye may be less crowded, it’s still a good idea to book your accommodation in advance. This is also a great time to pick up deals on hotels and self-catering! Campsites are unlikely to be open, so bear that in mind if you’re planning something a little more wild.
Check for any events happening during your visit! This is an important one as there’s lots going on in Autumn; such as the SEALL Festival of Small Halls, which takes place all around the island.The LAS centre in Portree and the Skye Bridge Studios also have a fun mix of music, theatre and comedy taking place. Listings can be found on their websites.
When travelling around Skye, it is always important to leave no trace and follow responsible tourism practices. Bin all rubbish, respect the wildlife and their natural habitats, and stick to designated trails and paths.
Autumn is an excellent time for photography on Skye. The soft, angled light can create stunning landscapes, and you’re likely to encounter fewer crowds at popular photography spots.
Be prepared for variable weather conditions in the Autumn months. Skye’s weather can change quickly, so bring appropriate clothing and gear for rain, wind, and chilly temperatures.
DEERS & DANCIN’ AT SLIGACHAN
A walk through Sligachan Glen at dusk is a great time to see deer and stags roaming through the bracken and bog lands. This area is also a breeding ground for the elusive golden eagle, so keep an eye skywards. Set off from the Sligachan Hotel, past the statues of the intrepid climbers, Norman Collie and John Mackenzie. The path itself is well maintained by the John Muir trust and although uneven and boggy in places, it is fairly flat, making it easy to walk for hours.
The path meanders for ten miles, right through the heart of the Cuillin mountain range, ending up at Camasunary Bay, an expansive beach with views to the outer Hebrides – but we recommend leaving early if you want to make it all the way there!
Après-hike, Seumas’ Bar (located next door to the Sligachan Hotel) has hundreds of different types of whisky, hearty homemade meals and live music at the weekends.
This spot attracts climbers, photographers, backpackers and adventurers due to its stunning geographical location, but they stay for the food, drink and upbeat atmosphere – especially on ceilidh nights!
THE SOUND OF SLEAT
Ever-changing seascapes across the Sound of Sleat have created vast beaches, perfect for a stroll in the low autumn sun. Walking out to the lighthouse at the Point of Sleat is beautiful year round, as well as being one of the best places on Skye to spot whales and dolphins. Take a wee detour and include the white sandy beach at Camas Daraich in your trip – you won’t regret it.
If you are driving from central or northern Skye, visit the An Crùbh centre on your way back for afternoon tea in their new cafe, built in a stunning location overlooking the mountainous mainland. This is a great spot for kids, as there’s a play-park in the cafe garden!
Whisky fans can also visit the nearby Torabhaig distillery for a tour of the impressive grounds, or the Eilean Iarmain – where you can sample traditional Gaelic whiskies and relax with a pub lunch in the Am Pràban bar.
BIKING AND BEACHES IN BROADFORD
Hire mountain bikes in Broadford and spend some time riding the forestry trails at Skinadin – best enjoyed on one of those crisp sunny mornings that are so common in the Autumn months!
Start your day with an artisan coffee and cardamon buns (if you’re lucky – these sell out fast) from the stylish Lean To Coffee in Breakish.
If biking isn’t your thing, take a hike to Ashaig beach at low tide and spend a few hours rock-pooling, wild swimming and drinking up the amazing view – especially stunning at sunset. This beach doesn’t take long to walk to and is a local’s favourite.
For dinner in Broadford, Cafe Sia create delicious tuscan style pizzas in their wood fired ovens and have a delightful wine list too. Perfect for big families, couples or solo travellers, this is a relaxed spot with a friendly atmosphere and generous portions.
A WALK BACK IN TIME ON RAASAY
A short ferry ride from Sconser lies the neighbouring Isle of Raasay – perfect for a unique day trip from Skye. Just make sure you get to the ferry terminal early so you have time for tea and homemade scones at the Noost, a charming wee cafe with fun outdoor seating and a wonderful view.
On Raasay, stray from the tourist trail and hike out to the ancient cleared village of Hallaig, where you can see waterfalls, ruins and a monument to acclaimed Gaelic poet Sorely MacLean, all overlooking the Cuillins back on Skye. Standing in the remains of a lost village is a haunting reminder of Scotland’s difficult past, and it’s easy to see how MacClean was inspired to write such a poignant piece of Gaelic literature.
The community owned shop on Raasay is very well stocked – perfect for a picnic stop to pick up snacks for your hike. However, there are some options for eating out – Raasay House and the Raasay Distillery both serve food – but with reduced hours in the Autumn months it’s worth checking ahead if they will be open.