For our money, the West Coast of Scotland is one of the most captivating places in Britain. The Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides is a good bet if you want to visit an island in the area; it’s readily accessible from the mainland, reached either by ferry from Mallaig or across the road bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh, and it’s a great choice if you want somewhere that epitomises the classic Highland landscape with a little extra magic by way of a gorgeous coastline.
Black, gnarled peaks; soft springy hillsides wreathed in purple heather and wild flowers; dazzling white beaches frequented by tubby seals; scoured glens cleaved by rushing melt water… so far, so shortbread tin; all lovely and all well worth seeing. But it's at a spot on the southwest of the island, at Glenbrittle, where you'll find somewhere really special.
On the road to Loch Brittle you’ll see a Forestry Commission sign, tantalisingly marked "Fairy Pools". Cross the road and take the footpath up the glen following the small beck towards the glowering peaks in the distance. As the beck widens further up the path, you’ll soon come across a succession of pools, brilliant in their clarity and coloured a vivid, otherworldly blue. If the sun's shining (or even if it isn't), choose a pool and plunge in. It's marvellous; freezing but energising.
Although Skye is the largest of the Hebridean islands, it’s easy to get around and see the great variety of landscapes packed into its relatively small area. Don’t miss the Fairy Pools, especially if the weather is fine and wild swimming is your thing.
Watch Kate Rew's excellent video on the Fairy Pools to find out more: