Over the sea to Skye: A foodie road trip

Do you have anything planned for this year’s St.Andrews day weekend? If not, it’s not too late…

Europcar asked us how we would celebrate St. Andrews Day like true Scots and we decided that it should involve dramatic Highland scenery and food, lots of high quality food!

We decided to visit Skye due its beautiful remote landscapes and its 2 Michelin-starred restaurants (and many other recommended seafood restaurants) and the fact that it’s one of the few islands in Scotland you can get to by road from the mainland thanks to the Skye Bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh. It is still a 5 hour non-stop drive from Glasgow, just to get to the bridge and then it’ll take at least another hour to get to opposite side of the island. We took a few breaks so it took us closer to 7 hours just to get to the island! We found a good hotel deal so booked a room for the night and made the 7 hour back the following day.

We set off just after 7am on a misty morning in our surprisingly nippy wee Mini Cooper SD (from Europcar’s Prestige range) which was kindly delivered by Europcar to our home.

Mini Cooper SD europcar  scotland

Our Mini Cooper SD rental car

Rather than head direct on the A82 we opted to go via the M80 past Stirling and then onto the A84 into the Trossachs so that we could stop off at Mhor 84 Motel for breakfast with delicious Eggs Benedict.

Scotland Mhor84 hotel accommodation meals breakfast bar budget

Eggs Benedict mmm

Here are some of the misty views we saw on our way through the Trossachs.

Europcar Skye trip michelin eating drinking sleeping

Europcar Skye trip michelin eating drinking sleeping

Spooky mist

Once we had some sustenance we headed off north towards the A82 in the direction of Fort William. On the way you’ll pass one Scotlan’s most foreboding valleys – Glen Coe, site of the Glencoe massacre (and seen in James Bond’s Skyfall). The West Highland way walkway passes through here and there are plenty of walks (and climbing if you’re into that sort of thing), a visitor centre (where you can find out about the history) and even a hidden valley!

Scotland Skye glencoe europcar

Glen Coe, Scotland

Fort William used to be known as Inverlochy, Inver meaning “mouth of a river” and Lochy being the name of the loch that leads up to Fort William (surely the “lochiest” loch in Scotland?!), just like Inverness at the opposite end of the great glen. As well as a river there’s also the Caledonian Canal which works its way to Inverness via loch Ness. A staircase lock of eight locks called “Neptune’s Staircase”is only about 3 miles from the centre of Fort William, built by Thomas Telford beteeen 1803 and 1822, it is the longest such staircase lock in Britain.

Europcar Skye trip michelin eating drinking sleeping

Neptune’s Staircase

Shortly after this we had another break at Lochaber Farm Shop just off the A82 a bit further north.  We met a couple of shy Shetland Ponies – Maisie and Iris, all they wanted to do was munch.

Europcar Skye trip michelin eating drinking sleeping

Maisie and Iris

After that, our next stop was nother hour away at Eilean Donan Castle which is widely regarded as Scotland’s most photographed castle. See for yourself why below, though most of it was rebuilt in the 20th century.

Europcar Skye trip michelin eating drinking sleeping

Eileen Donan Castle

Not too long after that we were within reach of the Skye Bridge. This is a view from the Murchison Memorial which is just off the main road – there’s a car park at the side of the road and then it’s only a short walk to get a photo…

Europcar Skye trip michelin eating drinking sleeping

Skye Bridge

Despite having a population of only 10,000 Skye has 2 Michelin starred restaurants (with 1 star each), and we were lucky enough to secure a booking in both. First up was Kinloch Lodge in the south-east of the island about 30 minutes from the bridge. Our lunch was lovely and the cost for 3 courses (no dessert) was £37.99, you could also pay a wee bit extra for a fourth (dessert) course.

Neptune's Staircase (grid reference NN113769) is a staircase lock comprising eight locks on the Caledonian Canal. Built by Thomas Telford beteeen 1803 and 1822, it is the longest staircase lock in Britain. The system was originally hand-powered but has been converted to hydraulic operation. Kinloch lodge

Lunch at Kinloch Lodge

After a very enjoyable lunch we set off again and about 45 minutes later met up with the Isle of Skye Sea Salt Company, a small environmentally-friendly company producing salt from the waters of Loch Snizort

The salt is made in small quantities and is used in places such as Kinloch Lodge, where we had just eaten and the Three Chimneys, where we would dine that evening…

Skye sea salt natural scotland europcar

Isle of Skye Sea Salt

We checked into our hotel at Skeabost, an old Norse name meaning “sheltered house” (we noticed a few Norse sounding place names on the way there) and were happy to receive a complimentary whisky each on arrival!

Skeabost Country House Hotel

Skeabost Country House Hotel – our bed for the night

But we didn’t have much time before we were on the road again, this time to the well-regarded The Three Chimneys in Colbost, which was perhaps a 30 minute drive away, and being winter we had to drive in the dark and the road to Colbost is single track with passing places.

We narrowly avoided hitting some sheep in the dark and arrived at the Three Chimneys, a small but very busy restaurant in a very remote spot – and yes, the restaurant does have chimneys!

The meal was excellent, there was a choice of 5 or 8 course tasting menu, we went for the 5 course costing £60 each. The total for both of us, with a drink each and tip came to £150, ouch! But it was certainly one of the best meals we’ve ever had so money well spent in our opinion!

The three chimneys skye scotland Michelin

Food from The Three Chimneys, Skye

After that we headed back to the Skeabost Hotel for some much needed sleep.

In the morning we headed towards Uig, a little village on the north-eastern peninsula of Skye. From here you can catch a ferry to the Western Isles.

Skye europcar scotland

Uig, Skye

But we cut across back inland to Trotternish and the Quiraing to see some amazing rock formations.

The Quiraing, Trotternish

The Quiraing, Trotternish

We quickly drove through Portree as it was a bit dull so we didn’t stop. We also passed by the Old Man of Storr for the same reason, perhaps we’ll see “him” next time.

The skies cleared a bit further south and we got some more good pictures of the mountains.

Skye europcar scotland

Skye at its best

We left Skye the following afternoon after our whistlestop tour – it has some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland the roads were a joy to drive around (unlike some roads in Glasgow!)

We timed it nicely and got to the viewpoint above Loch Garry (which looks a bit like the shape of Scotland from this angle) just in time for the sun setting.

Europcar Skye trip michelin eating drinking sleeping

Sunset over Loch Garry

And then a another quick setting sun photo-op at the Commando Monument at Spean Bridge.

Commando monument europcar scotland

Commando Monument, Spean Bridge

Europcar Skye trip michelin eating drinking sleeping

We had a fabulous road trip, saw some wonderful scenery, ate some amazing food and now we’re plotting out next drive into the countryside! We don’t own a car so we always hire so many many thanks to Europcar for providing the Mini Cooper for the overnighter, it was a smashing modern car, with sleek interior and more space than we expected, certainly one we would hire again.

We were fortunate enough to experience good weather with (mostly) clear skies on out trip in November. We do however recommend travelling out of season to avoid the tourists and of course secure bookings in both of the high quality and popular restaurants we visited.

Blogger at Food and Drink Glasgow (food blog), Fifty Five by Forty (travel blog), Snout, Groupon Glasgow City Guide.
Food, lifestyle and travel
Contact@foodanddrinkglasgow.co.uk

Mentioned in this post
  1. Mhor 84 Motel
    Restaurant in Stirling United Kingdom

    Stirling United Kingdom
  2. Fort William
    City in United Kingdom

    Fort William United Kingdom
  3. Eilean Donan Castle
    Attraction in Kyle Of Lochalsh United Kingdom

    Kyle Of Lochalsh United Kingdom
    01599 555202
  4. Skye Bridge
    Highld United Kingdom

    Skye Bridge
    Highld United Kingdom
  5. Kinloch Lodge
    Hotel in United Kingdom

    United Kingdom
    01471 833333
    http://www.kinloch-lodge.co.uk/
  6. The Three Chimneys
    Restaurant in Isle of Skye United Kingdom

    Colbost
    Isle of Skye United Kingdom

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