Visiting the Isle of Skye: Fairy Pools

The waterfalls yesterday were only to prepare myself for today’s hike. Like every day, I woke up before sunrise and headed out, this time towards the South of Skye, as I paid a visit to the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle. The waterfalls and little pools are named because of their unreal colours. And in a rocky landscape like this, one does find themselves in a fairy tale landscape. There is a big if to that: visit these pools before 8 A.M. as the tourists come trash this place around 9 A.M..

Fairy Pools

The water is so blue, and so crystal clear!

I parked my car at the Glen Brittle Car Park and started to walk towards the Black Cuillins, as my goal was to head up at least halfway these mountains. I needed to be back at my car around 1 P.M., since I booked a tour at the Talisker Distillery a little later (those of you who know me, or read this blog regularly know I am a big whisky drinker). If by any chance have read my previous posts on Scotland (Edinburgh, North Berwick, Highlands, Neist Point, and the Quiraing) know that I try to avoid two things: tourists and midges.

Fairy Pools

Following the River Brittle towards the Cuillins.

Because it was a quiet calm morning, the midges were there, but not in great numbers. This gave me the chance for some photographs. Reaching the first pool, the many footprints in the mud were proof of the great number of tourists the other day. Not just that, pieces of candy wraps, empty soda cans, and a left flipflop were proof that some people don’t care about nature. I did not want my mood to be influenced by that, so after taking a picture, I followed the river towards it’s spring.

Fairy Pools

Some fine pools for a fresh dip.

The beauty of this area is (as usual for Skye) very touching, and at that point I did not have to share it with anyone. Fantastic!

Fairy Pools

Tranquillity…

And as the sun rose, the hills behind me turned deep golden. Blue and gold being complementary colours, this was great for photography. Choosing a warm colour in the foreground, and a cold colour in the background (or vise versa) is one of the tools photographers have to add a sense of depth to a picture. Hence, I found myself a good angle with a cool foreground and the warm sunrise in the back, while nature made it easy for me to take a good photo. Again, I felt so happy being at this beautiful place!

Fairy Pools

Colours like a fairy tale. The blue water and golden sky are great for photography!

The hike took me closer to the mountains, and slowly the path started to become less accessible. This also meant that the amount of litter decreased, as most people turn around before it gets too difficult.

Fairy Pools

Getting closer to the mountains.

It took me a couple of hours to walk only 3 KM or so, because I spent a lot of time taking pictures. After about a 4 KM hike, the path disappeared, and I had to walk on rocks and loose scree. It must have been around 9 A.M. that I saw the first tourist catching up, but I saw him turning around, when the path stopped.

Fairy Pools

There isn’t a path from after this point.

After reaching halfway the mountain, I too decided this was far enough. Nobody knew where I was that day (not clever, on a hike, always tell your family what path you are planning to follow), and with only rocks to climb, it started to get a bit dangerous. I had to turn back anyway, as my next stop was Talisker!

Fairy Pools

One more waterfall, and than I turned around to hike back.

I hiked back to my car and reached the Fairy Pools one more time. It was crowded! Thousands of people (maybe hundreds, but it felt like a lot) littering the place, making noise and walking with their iPads in front of their heads (why look on a display, when the real deal is right in front of you?). I picked up the tempo, as the switch from utter tranquillity to absolute chaos was too much, and almost ran to my car to drive off to the distillery.

The Talisker Distillery located in Carbost, on the Isle of Skye. A own a couple of their whiskies, which I enjoy when I am in the mood for some smoky and peated whisky. I did a tour that I booked in advance, and I was happy I did. It was a popular destination! Entrance to the Distillery is 8 pounds, however, there is an easy trick to get in free: Become a “Friend of the Classic Malts“!

Talisker

The Talisker Distillery (on the right) in Carbost, at Loch Harport.

After my church-like experience (the distillery is a holy place to me 😉 ), I had a little time left before sunset. Because the midges screwed up my plans yesterday, I decided to retry taking a picture of the Old Bridge in Sligachan, only a 15 minute drive from Carbost. This time I had better luck!

Sligachan

The old bridge of Sligachan.

At sunset I drove off to Talisker Bay, for a few shots before the day ended.

Talisker Bay

A spectacular sunset!

With a fantastic sunset, Skye had treated me well again. Great weather, beautiful Fairy Pools, and great light for photography.

Talisker Bay

The sunset at Talisker Bay.

Thanks Skye, for another great day! And thank you reader, for checking out my Blog! Feel free to post a message in the comments, and share your beautiful pictures with me!

Kind regards,

Tieme


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6 Comments

    • Reply

      Thank you very much Chloe! Scotland is a place of utter beauty. Easy take capture beautiful spots 😉

      Happy weekend!

      Tieme

  1. Reply

    What an amazing hike and great shots! I recently spent a few days in the mountains and took some photos, I need to get through them and post some on the blog. 🙂
    It’s really cool that you came across my blog through Kiki’s blog. I’m a photography and nature lover, so I really enjoy your content. See you around!

    • Reply

      Hi Ines!

      Wow, you are so lucky to have the mountains near by 😉 It is a 8 hour drive to get there for me. Well, I’ll plan a hike in the Belgium or France Ardennes to have at least some hills!

      Thank you very much for your comment! I appreciate you taking your time to leave a message 🙂 And I look forward to your photos of the recent hike!

      Warm regards,
      Tieme

  2. Reply

    Cheers, Tieme! Great photos and great narrative! I’m coming to Scotland from Alaska in June and the Fairy Pools are atop my list for photo sites. Coming from a gorgeous place that gets inundated with tourists, I understand your distaste for those who don’t respect nature although I will be another tourist.

    I was hoping you might be able to proffer some advice. How are the Pools closer to sunset or is sunrise the optimum time for photography? My plan is to start walking in between 5:30-6:00 am. Will that be a good time or should I plan on going earlier? Many of the sites I’ve visited have offered varying times to reach the Pools from the trailhead. What is a roundabout hiking time? How many different falls are there?

    Thanks!!!

    • Reply

      Cheers Danny!

      Thank you so much for your kind words and your time! Wow, Alaska, that is a place I would love to visit! Wide landscapes and high mountains right?

      Great to travel to Skye! A wonderful place, and even though Alaska is pretty, I am sure you will see something completely different in Skye! So you are absolutely right to start hiking before sunrise 🙂 It is a 10-15 minute walk from the parking spot to the first waterfall. When walking away from your car, towards the mountains (the Black Cuillins) , the sun wil rise behind you. So make sure to turn around during your hike, or you miss some great light (I hope you have good light). The first tourist pop-up around 8:30, however, by then you have hiked a proper 2,5/3 hours, so they’ve got some catching up to do (and most of them only walk for 30 minutes to turn around).

      However, the sun rises around 4:40 in June, so you might check that on forehand. You want to be there 30 minutes before sunrise!

      Also mind the midges (little mosquitoes). I am not sure if they’re there in June, but if they are there keep this in mind: they don’t like the wind. So take a break when it’s windy, and keep on walking when the wind stops 🙂

      I think there are 3 to 5 “bigger” waterfalls, and plenty little ones. “Bigger”, because they are just 2 meters high. But beautiful non the less!!

      Hiking time depends on how far you go 🙂 I walked up the the mountain (at some point, this the hike starts to get difficult, and you have to climb loose gravel). The foot of the mountain is about 2 miles. The main waterfalls are about a 20 minute hike from the car. The rest is what you see in my pictures, smaller waterfalls.

      Check out my other blogs on Scotland (and Skye specifically): http://luvo-photography.com/blog/tag/scotland/

      If you have any questions, let me know!!

      Cheers,
      Tieme

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