Updated: Sep 8
On the last leg of our Celtic Goddess Tour, after we visited Ireland in 2017, we ventured to Scotland. The idea of going this far and not going to both places was not an option for me. After all, I live across the Atlantic Ocean, and I never know when I will get to this area of the world again. Both places are Celtic but with different flavors and I am of the opinion the two places should be experienced together for variety.
Our group left from Dublin Airport and arrived in Inverness after a short flight. This wasn’t my first trip to Scotland. However, it was my first overnight stay in Inverness with the intention of getting to the Isle of Skye, the largest Isle of the inner Hebrides as the final destination.
First stop: Inverness, Scotland
We stayed in the city center within walking distance from the Inverness Riverwalk. Inverness was a lively town, and I heard the group met some fun people with whom they connected and had enjoyable conversations at the pub. Someone knew someone or they had something in common, I can’t remember exactly the story. It reminded me of that time I was on a tour bus visiting the Cotswolds in England with two of my children and we were sitting in front of my son’s then high school teacher's mother and father from the United States. That was an interesting, random moment that gave us the scope of how small our world can be. We sparked up a conversation with a couple of strangers and they told us their son works in such and such place and it ended up being one of my son’s High school teachers at the time. You may have had a similar experience, it is a little mind-boggling when this happens.
Pic from left to right: the River Walk in Inverness, Eileen Donan Castle, and Kilt Rock waterfall on the Isle of Skye
Speaking of Inverness; the city center was a good location to go shopping. I couldn’t believe how cheap everything was compared to buying clothes in the United States. I found a high-quality brand-new wetsuit for less than £40 pounds, in the US they run around $99.00 or more. And I bought it, never mind, that I never wore it, not even once, but at the time I wanted it just in case, and it was such a good deal. My plan was to wear it for a dip in the Fairy Pools.
If shopping is your thing and you have room in your suitcase, this may be a great area to explore for good deals. One of the ladies shared her formula for shopping with me, she told me “Me gusto pero-no me encanta.” Translated into English: “I like it, but I do not love it.” If you ask me, this is a great formula for not buying things we may never use, so it feels like I should pass this message on. When in doubt, ask yourself if you love it, and if not, it is okay to pass it up.
That afternoon we had a couple of taxis pick us up and take us to view the Clava Cairns. And since we had a few Outlander fans in the group, they asked to stop at the Culloden Battlefield which happened to be near the Cairns. I always try to be flexible when necessary and I felt they would have been upset with me or seriously disappointed if we did not stop since we were so close. I can still hear the swooning of Jaime's name being yelled out by one of the ladies in the group. "Jaime!"...
Pictures of Clava Cairns near Inverness
The Isle of Skye
I do not remember the drive to Skye, all I know is we ended up there after Brian Mcfadyn, our Scottish driver picked us up after breakfast the following day. He was funny and full of tall tales and he used the funniest-sounding slang we ever heard. A few of us had a good laugh at these really funny-sounding words that Scottish people use to describe things.
Hanging with the locals.
Video credit: here
The lodging that we stayed at called the Kyle Hotel was not nearly as nice as the other places that we had stayed up until this point. At that time the carpet in the hallways looked like it was from the 80s and the place was a little ragged, it was disappointing. I have read online that since our stay, they have done some renovation of the property, so please read the reviews before visiting. I can not recommend this lodging based on our experience. I had tried to book better lodging in the other parts of the Isle and they were all booked. So keep this in mind when booking for Skye, It may be remote but it is a busy tourist destination, and the most desirable accommodations are booked months in advance. Everyone agreed that the colorful town of Portree would have been the better place to stay for restaurants and shopping.
Pics on the Isle of Skye: a pyramid-shaped mound, Dunvegan gardens, and the Fairy Circle
Some of the places we visited and not in order were the Knights grave at the cemetery at Skeabost. We traveled around the Isle and passed the Old Man of Storr rock formation. For the more adventurous groups, you can find a walking tour to view the rock up close or go on your own self-guided walking excursion.
We got out of the vehicle and took pictures on a ledge near this rock formation. The Isle was super busy with very large tour buses traversing the small winding roads, and they were everywhere. The biggest highlight for me was to see the fairy pools at the Fairy Glen and to see the Fairy mounds.
The Fairy Pools & Glen
We had a fun group of women with smiles on their faces as they changed into their swimsuits, and decided they were going in for a dip in the upper level of the fairy pools. I stood there trying to cover them with a towel from onlookers as they took off their clothing and put on a swimsuit. On that day, I wasn’t feeling as adventurous as they were, so I sat there beside them in observation mode. There are times when I just want to people-watch, read the energy, and not do anything, this was one of those moments.
I have to say that I was a little shocked at how many people were at the fairy pools that day. I must have romanticized this place in my head while looking at pictures online prior to visiting and I was a little thrown off by the amount of tourists. It was super busy with cars, and busses of every size and people everywhere. At this time in my life, I was living in a remote area in the Southwest United States and large groups of people were not something I was used to, so perhaps it was like a culture shock. And my thoughts were if mystical beings such as fairies ever lived here, they are long gone now. Sensitive beings tend to avoid large crowds of people.
When we arrived several of us had a full bladder and needed to find a tree or a bush. I tried to find a spot but it was nearly impossible with the amount of people. I made my way to a treed area near the fence with cows behind it, there were not very many places to go unseen. I walked over to the fence line only to see more people perhaps doing the very thing that I needed to do. At the time, I hoped the cows were the only ones who observed me behind the bush that day, and I told myself, "I will never see any of these people again," so I had to relax my mind and let nature take its course, as uncomfortable as I was.
This is also the part where I will be completely honest and tell you about flying bugs called ‘midges,’ something that I had never experienced before until that day, they look like skinny bugs with big insect wings. They were super annoying at the lower part of the pools. Once we hiked a little way up the hill we were out of their territory and realized we were going to be okay; we survived the freaky midges swarming around our faces. And now I understand the benefit of those hats with face nets, in fact, I don’t think I will go back to the inner Hebrides without a hat that has an optional, pull-down net just in case. The good news is this was the only time we encountered them on our entire trip. I just wish I would have had a heads-up at the time. From my understanding, these bugs live near bogs and breed in standing water. I will include a link here with some useful information on how to handle them.
From the fairy pools, we ventured on to the Fairy mounds. It is an interesting place to see with its odd conical-shaped hills. Unfortunately, I did not see any fairies.
As I mentioned, the order of events based on memory may not be in order. We visited Dunvegan Castle, and my favorite part of this experience was the gardens. The land where the estate was built had peaceful energy, and I could have stayed there for hours.
I am grateful that I was able to visit the enchanted land of the Celts with a fun group of people. Below I will share more pictures that were taken of our group. Here is the link to the blog on visiting a few of the sacred sites of Ireland. Feel free to comment below and share some of your favorite places to visit in either Ireland or Scotland and tell us why.
We are excited about the next Celtic Goddess Tour scheduled for June 18-29, 2024. This time our plan is to stay 5 nights in Ireland and celebrate the summer solstice with the locals at Lough Gur & visit the Beara Peninsula before embarking on the journey to Scotland where we will spend 6 nights on the Isle of Mull with a day trip to Iona and a boat trip to Staffa to see Finglal's cave and more.
Pictures from left to right: Caves of Keash in Sligo, John Willmott doing some Poetry in the Woods, Glencar waterfall. Séamus our Coach driver in Ireland and a place I do not know where I was with an artistic boat and a sad story (I think it was in Ireland)—flowers from the Dunvegan Castle Gardens on the Isle of Skye.
If you have read this far, thank you, and feel free to comment below, we would love to hear from you!