When you visit the Isle of Skye, you will definitely notice a fairy theme. The scenery feels like something out of a fairy tale and there are many stories about fairies and the Isle of Skye. One of the most famous being the story of the fairy flag. Not surprisingly, the Fairy Pools is one of the most popular attractions on the Isle of Skye. It’s a beautiful area with crystal clear pools and several waterfalls.
Let me tell you more about the Fairy Pools walk including important logistical information.
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What are the Fairy Pools?
The Fairy Pools are a group of small natural waterfalls in the Glenbrittle area on Isle of Skye. The vivid blues and greens in the water give it a magical appearance. On a sunny day, the water is crystal clear and you can see the moss-covered bottom. No one seems to be sure if the name came from a specific fairy legend or just from the mystical setting.
Fairy Pools Hike
There aren’t any signs in the parking lot (at least that we saw) saying where to go to get to the Fairy Pools of Skye, but it looked like there was only one trail that started across the street so we went there. The hiking trail is 2.4 km to the Fairy Pools and back. I would classify it more an easy hike (or maybe even a walk), so you can definitely bring the kids along. These tips for hiking with kids will help make it easier.
The first part of the hike is downhill. Before long you reach the first waterfall. Russell is a bit obsessed with waterfalls and photographing them, so he wanted to stop. So while he was photographing, I went ahead and it wasn’t long before I saw an even bigger waterfall! We could not get enough of the waterfalls on the Isle of Skye.
Then you need to cross the stream. There are stones for you to step on and it’s not too difficult. Later on, during the hike, you reach another crossing where you have to take pretty big steps to get across. Knowing that the water is pretty cold here, I was a little hesitant but I made it across ok.
Once you get past the second crossing, it is not much longer before you reach the main fairy pool area. We didn’t see anyone swimming but we did see people climbing to get the best angle to take a picture of the largest waterfall.
Swimming in the Fairy Pools is allowed but the water is cold even in the summer. If you are thinking about wild swimming, you might want to bring a wetsuit. Whether you chose to swim or just take photos, please be careful!
Here Comes the Rain
So it was raining a little on and off as we hiked to the Fairy Pools, typical Scottish weather. (Check out this Scotland packing list to make sure you will be prepared). I just hoped we would be able to make it back to the car before it started coming down and the trail got muddy.
We didn’t want to rush things though because the Fairy Pools are stunning. The water was so clear and I loved the waterfalls. Plus you look into the distance and see the mountains. You need to experience the Fairy Pools walk for yourself.
My one concern was that the rocks on the challenging crossing would get wet and I might slip and fall in the freezing water. Yes, I do worry about these things!
There were a few raindrops when we decided to head back but not enough to make the crossing treacherous. Well, that was until two dogs ran in front of me and into the water splashing all over the rocks. Luckily, I did make it across without falling in and we made it back to the car before it started raining too much or the trail got too muddy.
Stop to See Glenbrittle Beach
Once we got back to the car, we decided to continue on the road we came on to Glen Brittle beach. By the time we got to the beach (15 minutes later), it was raining harder, so we just got out quickly and took a look. It was a nice beach and we would have liked to explore more if the weather would have been better.
If you are interested in going to a beach, you might also like to check out this list of the best beaches in Scotland.
Fairy Pools Walk Video
We enjoyed our morning at the Fairy Pools in the Cullins. The scenery was absolutely stunning. We loved photographing the waterfalls, but the surrounding mountains are beautiful too. Plus, the hike was pretty easy and it is free! You can get a little glimpse of what our visit to the Glen Brittle Fairy Pools was like in this video.
How to Get to the Fairy Pools on Isle of Skye Scotland
It was a scenic 40-minute drive from the Bed and Breakfast where we were staying to the Fairy Pools. From Portee, it’s a few minutes less. You will pass through the Black Cuillins and sections with sheep (or cows) close to or even on the road. Use postcode IV47 8TA in your GPS to navigate to the parking lot.
A good portion of the drive was on one lane roads where you have to use the passing places if cars come from the other direction, which is not too unusual when you are doing a UK road trip.
Where to Stay Near the Fairy Pools
The Fairy Pools are located in a pretty remote area, so unless you plan on wild camping, it’s not possible to stay very close. If you prefer to stay in a hotel, Portree is probably your best bet. There are some charming AirBnbs not too far from the Fairy Pools:
- Leosol House – Just a five minute drive from the Fairy Pools, this spacious house has some spectacular views of the Cullins. Check it out here.
- Shepherd’s Cottage – This traditional stone property is located nearby Eynort with Loch views. Check it out here.
Ferry Pools Admission
It is free to visit the Fairy Pools. You don’t even have to pay for parking!
(If you are traveling on a budget, you might also appreciate this Scotland Budget Travel Guide.)
What to Bring to the Fairy Pools
There aren’t any facilities at the Fairy Pools, so you need to be prepared when you visit. It’s not a long or difficult walk but I still think it’s a good idea to bring water. You need to stay hydrated. Be good to the environment and use a reusable one like this.
You should also bring along some snacks if you think you might get hungry. If you want to picnic, bring along a blanket, we didn’t see any tables. This picnic backpack comes with everything you need.
Check the weather forecast in advance and dress appropriately. It’s probably smart to bring along rain gear just in case. You will need reasonable shoes for the walk. Something like sneakers should be fine unless it is muddy. If you want to swim, bring towels or maybe a wetsuit.
Best Time to Visit the Fairy Pools
The fairy pools are open 365 days a year. If you can time your visit for a day when the weather is nice that is ideal. I am sure the path can get quite muddy and slippery.
Also, try to go to the Fairy Pools first thing in the morning, as it is popular. The parking area is not very big at all and fills up quickly. When we walked back to the car we saw people parked along the road. The road is already narrow enough as it is! From what I have been told, you have a high likelihood of getting a ticket if you park on the street, so please just don’t.
Have you visited the Isle of Skye Fairy Pools or another easy hike that is scenic? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.
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Last Updated on October 9, 2020