Katie Heron runs Taigh Ailean Hotel (Gaelic for Alan’s house) in Portnalong and shares her favourite things to do on the Isle of Skye.
I run a small hotel and bar on the Isle of Skye with my husband, Johnny, and our sausage dog, Fritz von Krumm. We specialise in making people feel at home and having a happy holiday. Johnny runs the kitchen and I run the bar and the bed and breakfast side of things. It works very well unless we invade each other’s territory with “good ideas”. Fritz doesn’t run anything but he does specialise in being very sweet and eating unspeakable things on the beach.
How long have you lived here?
We moved to Skye 18 months ago. I had never been to the Hebrides and Johnny had only been once on a fact-finding mission. Our only criteria were that we had to be able to wake up in the morning, look out of the window and say “Wow, we live here”. Oh and that we definitely, absolutely positively, no way were going to buy a pub. But I fell in love with the photos, packed up all our worldly goods and we’ve never looked back.
Isle of Skye: things to do
Favourite beach on the Isle of Skye
Well, I’m not sharing my most favourite as it’s always empty. But my second favourite beach is Glenbrittle. Excellent sand for dog romping and a tide that goes out a long way and stunning scenery. You drive past the Fairy Pools, crammed full of cars and tour buses and a few minutes later you’re on a beach maybe with half a dozen people and an otter.
Fairy Glen: as of yet still fairly undiscovered wander in the North of the Island. Gentle green lumps, stunning views and beautiful space…..
Most special time of year
Spring. Green shoots, longer days, lambs, auroras , lambs, sunshine, langoustines back in the loch…. Did I mention lambs?
The one thing every tourist should do
Favourite road or drive
From our hotel to Carbost. Single track (with lots of passing places), amazing views of Loch Harport and the Cuillins, space, fresh air… Just right for the dog to have his head out of the window listening to a bit of Dolly Parton.
Most loved view
From Café Arriba in Portree. Looking out the window onto the bay on a clear and crispy Spring day. Also looking across the table at an amazing cup of coffee and the best macaroni cheese in the Universe.
Favourite place to eat and drink
Apart from our amazing Munros Bar of course, where it would be fresh local langoustines on a bed of Tina’s Portnalong leaves accompanied by one of our 28 Scottish gins, probably Harris.
Loch Bay Restaurant in Stein which was recently taken over by award winning chef Michael Smith. This restaurant is charming, friendly and unpretentious. The saddle of rabbit starter is to die for.
Holiday Scottish Highlands & Islands says…
Thanks, Katie, for sharing some great things to do on the Isle of Skye. And I don’t blame you at all for keeping your favourite beach a secret. I love that your only criteria when looking for a house was to be able to look out of your window and say “Wow, we live here”. Take a look at Katie’s blog too. She admits she’s not that into blogging but her sense of humour really comes across/ It’s a shame she doesn’t blog more but I suppose she has a few more important things to do.
Find out more about Taigh Ailean Hotel
Plan a trip to the Isle of Skye & things to do
- Read our guide to Things to do on Skye
- Isle of Skye: 40 Coast and Country Walks – Read our review of our favourite walk books.
- Ordnance Survey maps with free mobile download – various combinations available for the Isle of Skye from Ordnance Survey and Amazon
- Holiday cottage, Dunvegan – The Cabin @ Seaview
- Self-catering holiday cottage with stunning seaviews in Waternish (sleeps 6 + 1)
- Holiday cottage in Glenbrittle with views of the Cuillins and close to the River Brittle (sleeps 2)
Want more local tips?
Check out all articles in the What to see in Scotland: Local Tips series.
- Local tips: Lisa Weller, Haven House Art, Wick, Caithness, Scotland
- Local tips: Beautiful places in Scotland’s Highlands & Islands, Christopher Swan, photographer
- Local tips: Isle of Islay, Emma & Graeme, Glenegedale guest house
- Local tips: Isle of South Uist, The Outer Hebrides – Maria, Island Prints & Taigh Mairi Anndra
Check out all articles in the Local Tips series.
Photos: Katie Heron