Isle of Skye Fairy Pools Tour

The Fairy Pools, a series of shimmering, crystal clear, turquoise pools surrounded by cascading waterfalls, enjoy the stunning backdrop of the Black Cuillin mountains.

Rated 5* on TripAdvisor TripAdvisor by more than 1,600 happy customers #1 OF 94 INVERNESS TOUR COMPANIES

Tour Highlights

  • The ultimate tour for those with a Skye bucket list!
  • The most comprehensive Skye day tour from Inverness
  • Explore the Fairy Pools
  • Journey through Trotternish, stopping at the Quiraing, Kilt Rock and the Old Man of Storr
Prices£74 per person in April - May
£79 per person for thereafter
(Min age 6 years)
Times07:45 - 21:00
Departure from Inverness Bus Station
Free CancellationFree cancellation up to 72 hours prior
UpgradesWe offer seat upgrades for £20 and extra legroom upgrades for £15.

Itinerary and Map+

Itinerary & Map

1

The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins
Our Isle of Skye Fairy Pools Day Tour starts in Inverness at 7.45am.

Our route takes us over the Kessock Bridge, through the farmland of the Black Isle., before reaching the rugged wilderness of Wester Ross. En-route, we often see red kites, ospreys and majestic red deer. After one hour’s driving we stop at the Victorian railway station in Achnasheen, where you will have 10 minutes to enjoy the fantastic views and use the bathroom facilities.

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2

Kyleakin

Kyleakin
After crossing over the Skye Bridge onto the island, we stop in the pretty harbour town of Kyleakin.

In this sleepy fishing village you can enjoy great views of the Skye Bridge, Eilean Ban lighthouse and the legendary Castle Moil. This rugged ruin has a fascinating history and stands tall on a rocky promontory on the south east corner of Skye.  A short walk takes you to a viewpoint which offers stunning views of this beautiful part of the island.

We will spend approximately 20 minutes in Kyleakin and there is an opportunity to pick-up coffee and snacks from a local cafe.

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3

Black Cuillins

Black Cuillins
At Sligachan, we are welcomed by truly awe-inspiring views.

On a clear day day the view of the Black Cuillin mountains from Sligachan is spell binding. After heavy rain the raw power of the River Sligachan is a force to be reckoned with. Either way, its well worth stopping for a quick photo stop!  There is also a cosy pub here, where you will have time to sample a dram, or perhaps an ale, brewed in the adjacent distillery.  We will spend around 25 minutes here.

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4

Portree

Portree
Craft shops, coastline, coffee and colourful houses are just a few of Portree’s highlights.

Set within a pretty natural harbour, and surrounded by rocky cliffs and rolling hills, Portree is a beautiful place to explore.  With its quirky shops, cute cafes and interesting sights you will certainly find plenty to occupy you during our 45 minute stop here.  Your guide will give you some top tips on the coach, and will also point you in the direction of the harbour viewpoint; from here you can admire the pretty pastel-coloured houses that the town is famous for.

 

Alternatively, you may wish to take a short hike up to the top of the Apothecary Tower, where you can enjoy stunning vistas of the area.

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5

Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr
A loch-side spot to view the spiky rock pinnacle of the Old Man of Storr is next on our Skye bucket list.

A short photo stop at a loch-side viewpoint gives you a chance to admire the unique rock formation of the Old Man of Storr.  This 50 metre high pinnacle juts out from the awe-inspiring Trotternish Ridge and will be widely recognised from feature films including Stardust, The Wicker Man, Prometheus and The BFG.

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6

Kilt Rock

Kilt Rock
At Kilt Rock we see towering basalt columns and a stunning waterfall.

Kilt Rock is an exposed sea cliff, which resembles the traditional Highland kilt, and which wows our guests each and every time. It also boasts a waterfall that tumbles 60 metres (180 feet) into the Sound of Raasay below – a truly enthralling sight, and one made even more special when the wind blows the waterfall back up the cliff!

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7

Quiraing

Quiraing
Take time to find a peaceful spot and immerse yourself in the supernatural scenery

Our next stop is certainly one of the absolute highlights on Skye.; no matter how often we visit, it amazes us each and every time! The Quiraing is a series of landslides that have combined to create high cliffs, hidden plateaus, buttresses and rock pinnacles.  When mist swirls around the volcanic rock, it can be a positively spine tingling experience and, on clear days, the views are phenomenal.

 

We have 30 minutes here and would recommend taking a short hike to find your very own slice of Skye.

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8

Fairy Pools

Fairy Pools
Take a walk to enjoy this truly breathtaking natural phenomenon.

The Fairy Pools are a series of beautiful rock pools and waterfalls which are famed for their crystal clear blue waters.  We will spend around 90 minutes here, to give you plenty of time to enjoy this wonderful sight.

When we arrive your guide will introduce you to the area and show you the path.  He will then accompany the group up to the pools, and will be on hand should you have any queries or concerns.  

The scenic walk to the first pool takes around 20 minutes (distance is 0.7 miles) and the most impressive waterfall is 5 minutes further on (0.9 miles total).  Most guests spend their time around this area, admiring the crystal clear waters of the pools, and the stunning mountain backdrop. Photo opportunities abound, and your guide will be on hand to take group and couple shots if you wish.  

For those looking to get some more exercise you can venture on up the path to the other pools further upstream – by walking another 15 – 20 minutes (0.6 miles) you will pretty much have the path to yourself.

Please be aware that the walk to the Fairy Pools and back is a total of around 1.5 miles and will take around 40 minutes, so you do require a moderate level of fitness for this tour. Also, as you need to cross stepping stones over a couple of streams you need to be stable on your feet, and ensure that you wear sensible hiking boots/shoes. This is not a tourist attraction, it’s nature at its most beautiful, so don’t expect pavements or bridges!  

If you are not a fan of the great outdoors or do not have the youth or agility to walk to the pools we would recommend our Isle of Skye Tour instead; it visits all sights on this itinerary, with the exception of the Fairy Pools. 

Please note that, very occasionally, it may not be possible to visit the Fairy Pools due to bad weather and/or excessively high water levels in the streams we require to cross. If this happens we will visit alternative pools instead. 

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9

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle
We stop for a photo of this truly iconic castle.

After crossing back over the Skye Bridge we embark on an alternative route to Inverness, with our next stop being the instantly recognisable Eilean Donan Castle.  This is one of the most photographed castles in the world, and has appeared in many films including Highlander and James Bond – The World is Not Enough (in addition to numerous shortbread tins and calendars!).   At Eilean Donan Castle we’ll have about 20 minutes to photograph this legendary castle from our favourite vantage point.

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10

Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle

Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle
See the ancient castle and mysterious loch from above.

Towards the end of our epic journey we travel along the shores of the legendary Loch Ness. Nessie enthusiasts should keep a look out for the monster, while the rest of us soak up the great views across the loch.

 

At Urquhart Castle we have our final stop of the day, where we spend around 10 minutes viewing the loch-side castle ruins from above – a WOW end to a WOW day!

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11

Bonus Stop

Bonus Stop
If time allows we will stop to say hello to Highland Cows!

We always try to stop and grab a photo with some hairy Highland Cows , as they truly are one of the most photogenic beasts in Scotland (unless you are lucky enough to snap Nessie, of course!). If they have moved field for more tasty grass, or if we have to take an alternative route, we may not be able to see them.  However,  rest assured that we see these guys on the vast majority of tours, and they generally like to pose for our guests (as well as admire their portrait on the side of the WOW coach!)

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Tour Map

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FAQs+

Tour FAQs

Will we be stopping for coffee/snacks?+

There are a couple of places where you can pick up a coffee or a bottle of water, but doing so means that you will have less time to spend exploring the sights. Consequently, many of our guests prefer to bring some light snacks and drinks with them on the coach, to keep their energy up for the adventure!

If you do wish to purchase drinks and snacks on the tour the main opportunities to do this are usually in Portree at around 11.15am (you have approximately 45 minutes here and there are a number of cafes, bakeries and shops), and at Staffin Stores around 2pm (they have a great selection of confectionery, soft drinks etc).  Note that these timings are subject to change, as we will sometimes reverse the itinerary if required, depending on the weather.

Where will we get lunch & dinner?+

It is likely that we will be able to offer a lunch pre-ordering service on this tour but menu choices for 2020 are still to be confirmed  – please check back in April 2020 for full information (or, if you have booked the tour, you will be sent this information three days prior to your tour date).

You are welcome to bring snacks and drinks with you as there are limited opportunities to purchase these along the way.

For dinner we would recommend booking a table in Inverness and we will send you a list of a few of our favourites a few days prior to the tour.

Can wheelchair/walking frame users come on the tour?+

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate any wheelchair or walking frame users, or anyone with limited mobility, on this tour.

The main reason for this is that the walk at the Fairy Pools is 1.5 miles over rough terrain (including crossing two streams via stepping stones) and is therefore only suitable for guests with a good level of mobility/fitness.  There is nothing else to do at this sight (as of November 2019 there are not even public toilets, although hopefully these will be open by summer 2020) so even staying around the mini-coach isn’t really viable.

At other sights we visit there are very few which hae wheelchair or walking frame access, as a lot of the terrain on Skye is very rugged. Additionally, the coach is not equipped for passengers to remain in their wheelchairs.

For those who have limited mobility we would recommend our Isle of Skye Tour instead (but note that this is not suitable for wheelchair users either, unfortunately).

What if the weather is bad?+

If it is or has been very rainy at the Fairy Pools then we will be unable to visit.  The reason for this is that we require to cross two streams, using stepping stones, to get to the pools and, after heavy rain, these stepping stones will be submerged and unusable. There is no other way to access the pools.   If it is at all risky (i.e. if the pools are accessible but heavy rain is forecast and we envisage that we may not be able to get back) then we will not visit the pools. (If it is that rainy, you definitely do not want to be there as it is absolutely miserable, and there is no shelter whatsoever).

Please remember that this site is a natural phenomenon, not a tourist attraction, and as such is subject to the weather.

We will of course do our utmost to visit the pools.  However, if we are unable to visit we will do something else instead and you will still get a full day tour.

Can I swim in the pools?+

First and foremost; we would not encourage you to swim in the pools.  However, if you are considering it please bear the following in mind;

We cannot stress enough how cold the water is – it might look enticing but, even in the height of summer, it is estimated to be around 4-6oC (42oF) which is colder than the (notoriously chilly) North Sea!!

Open water swimming is inherently dangerous and should only be attempted by very confident swimmers

There is nowhere to change, which is fine if you put your swimming stuff on under your clothes, but perhaps not as fine when you come out desperate to get some warm clothes on,  but everyone is looking and pointing at the crazy person who has just been swimming!

If you do decide that you still wish to swim in the pools, you should bring a towel and swimming costume.

Swimming in the pools is done entirely at your own risk.

How much walking is involved?+

This tour is focused on enabling you to walk to the Fairy Pools, and spend time here.  The walk from the coach park to the pools is uphill on a rough path and requires you to cross a couple of streams (there are stepping stones but these are usually wet, so you need to be sure-footed).  To get to the first pool will take a fit person around 15 – 20 minutes and the distance is 0.7 miles.  To then walk on to the last pools is a further 0.3 miles and will take around 10 minutes (this is entirely optional as you can enjoy the beauty of the pools from the first vantage point).  In total a fit person will walk the 1.5 miles there and back in around 40 minutes, and will have around 45 minutes to enjoy at the pools themselves.

There will be opportunities to do short walks at the Quiraing and in Portree but these will be shorter than at the Fairy Pools and, if you would rather stay near the coach, it is absolutely fine to do this.  There is no requirement to do any walks other than at the Fairy Pools (even at the pools, you can stay on the coach if you would prefer, but there is nothing else to do here i.e. no shops or attractions).

If the above sounds daunting for you and you don’t feel you will be able enough to walk 1.5 miles then the Isle of Skye Tour is a better option for those who are less able, and would prefer a shorter day.

What should I wear on this tour?+

On this tour you spend approximately 1 1/2 hours at the Fairy Pools;  the location is windy and exposed, with absolutely no shelter from the elements, so it is imperative that you are appropriately dressed for this.  We really cannot stress this enough – if you are soaking wet you will struggle to enjoy the rest of the day.  As we say in Scotland, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”!

We would strongly recommend wearing hiking boots with ankle support (as a minimum you will need sturdy comfortable trainers/sneakers) as the path is often muddy and slippery, and you require to cross a couple of streams on the way to the pools.  We would also strongly recommend bringing a waterproof jacket, and ideally waterproof trousers/pants too (note that umbrellas are useless on Skye – they just blow inside out and are rendered useless very quickly).  In addition to these essentials we would suggest wearing layers, including a thick sweater/fleece option, and bringing a hat and gloves and warm jacket in your bag.

Even if the sun is shining brightly when you leave Inverness, they do say that you only really experience Scotland when you see four seasons in one day, so please be prepared!

Can we visit Talisker Distillery on this tour?+

In a word, no. We do not visit Talisker Distillery on any of our tours, as it often gets exceptionally busy there and, as such, we are unable to guarantee the quality of the experience offered.  However, if you are a whisky fan, we would strongly recommend our Whisky Tour, which visits four excellent distilleries and a cooperage, giving you outstanding tours/tastings at each.

What time does the tour start and finish?+

This tour departs at 7.45am. Please ensure that you are ready to board the bus at 7.35am (0735) as we will leave promptly at 7.45am (0745), and are unable to wait for any latecomers. The tour will return to Inverness city centre at approximately 9pm (2100).  It is possible that we may return a bit later than this, although we always try to keep to our schedule as much as possible.

March and October

This tour departs earlier and returns later in March and October, due to the limited daylight at these times of year. Exact timings will be available to view when booking.

What sort of vehicle do you use?+

Here at WOW Scotland we only have two coaches, both of which were built to our precise specifications, to ensure the highest levels of passenger comfort.  The vehicles have 30-seats and are very well-appointed with panoramic windows, comfortable reclining seats, USB ports under every seat and on-board WiFi.  You can rest assured that you will be able to relax and enjoy the majestic scenery in complete comfort.  You can read more about our coaches here.

 

Why should we choose WOW to take us to Skye?+

We know that there are a number of companies in Inverness offering similar tour itineraries to ourselves, and we appreciate that it can be difficult to decide which company to use.  We wanted to summarise the main benefits of coming on our tour, so that you can make sure you are making the best choice for your group.  So..here goes…

First and foremost, we are the only operator from Inverness to provide both a tour guide and a tour driver on all Skye tours.  Your comfort and safety is of utmost priority to us, and we feel that your driver should be 100% focused on the road.  This is particularly the case on the single track, winding roads on Skye, where considerable attention is required to navigate the vehicle, and be constantly alert for other drivers (generally tourists, who are unfamiliar with our roads!).  Meanwhile, your tour guide can focus on keep you entertained, comfortable and informed about what you are seeing, what he would recommend at the next stop, and other important information!

We are the only company to offer a seat reservation system for our front row and extra legroom seats so, if sitting with a companion, room to stretch or taking uninterrupted photos is important to you, this will be a great benefit.  You can read more about the coach in our blog

We are the only company to offer a lunch pre-ordering service on-board; we work with a local delicatessen in Portree who supply us with tasty packed lunches.  This is an entirely optional service which we provide in order to save you from wasting precious sightseeing time; you only have one day on Skye, and we want you to make the most out of it!

We offer free WiFi on board all Skye tours

We have the newest and smartest tour vehicle (ok, this is partly subjective, but we are pretty confident!)

We are the only local company offering coach tours to Skye from Inverness (we operate from Tomatin, 20 miles south of Inverness, and the company owner is an Invernessian born and bred!).  We think that this is important, as it means that the money you pay for your ticket goes back into the local economy.

Skye has a fragile economy which is very dependent on tourism, and we want to ensure that the local community see the benefit of our tours.  We work with a local supplier  in Portree to provide all meals, and all of the money that you pay goes directly to them

We have been awarded 5 Star Tour status by our national tourism organisation, Visit Scotland, for the last four years, which means that they have rated our tours as “exceptional”

We have over 1700 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor (over 500 of these are specifically for our Skye tours – that’s a lot of very happy customers!)

We care about the Highlands!  Every time we go to Skye we pay to plant trees through Trees for Life, in order to offset the carbon produced by our coach.  We also use fully biodegradable packaging for our meals, to reduce waste going to landfill.  You can read more about all that good stuff here

We very much hope that you will choose to come with us to Skye, and are looking forward to meeting you, and showing you the best the island has to offer, very soon!

Can we book a private tour instead?+

Yes – we’d be delighted to offer you a private tour! Please contact us for details.

Can I reserve seats on the tour?+

Yes. Due to customer demand, we have a booking system for the following seats;

4 front row seats – these give you unparalleled views out of the front windows, and the opportunity to disembark first at every stop.  Our most popular seats.

4 second row seats – many guests prefer to sit near the front of the coach, or be reassured that you will be seated together if they are a couple/group, both of which you get with this option.  These seats also have a little more legroom than these front row seats.  These are available on some tours only.

2 extra legroom seats – these are situated near the back of the coach and have approximately 50% more legroom than regular seats.  They are particularly suited to those who are tall, or like to stretch out.

4 back row seats – these are ideal for groups who wish to sit together.  Unlike on most other coaches we have removed the fifth/middle seat so the seats are spaced further apart, giving you more elbow room.

The price of the upgrades vary depending on which tour you are on, with prices between £2.50 and £22.50 per person.  If they are available, upgrades will be given as an option when booking.

Please note that it does not make any difference which side of the coach you sit on, so we don’t take requests for specific sides.

The rest of our seating works on a first-come-first-served basis, as we feel that this is the fairest system of allocating seats. It is not possible to reserve window seats, or seats together if you are travelling as part of a group but, if you do wish to choose your seat, we would recommend arriving early at the bus stop (i.e. a few minutes before check-in closes). If you are unhappy with your seat please let your tour guide know and he will do his best to accommodate your requests, although obviously many guests would prefer a window seat so it is not possible for everyone to have these!

Note that any fees paid for seat upgrades are non-refundable if you cancel your tour.

Can children come on this tour?+

We welcome children over the age of six on our tour. It should be noted that approximately 60-70% of the day is spent on the coach, so it may be an idea to bring some toys, games and snacks with you.

Unfortunately, due to the duration of the tour and time on the coach, we do not feel that this tour is appropriate for children under the age of six, so the tour is not open to this age group. This is for the comfort of other passengers and also to ensure that the driver and guide can focus on doing their jobs without any distractions.

UK law states that each passenger must have their own seat and use their seatbelt at all times. Consequently, it is not possible to take a child on your lap. From experience we know that, very occasionally, parents try to bring children on without purchasing a seat. However, we would like to make it clear that this is not allowed and there will be no refund if you are refused entry to the tour for taking children under 6 or those whom you haven’t booked.

Where is the pick-up point in Inverness?+

We pick-up from Stance 7 at Inverness Bus Station, Margaret Street, Inverness, IV1 1LT. Look out for the kilted WOW guide and WOW-branded coach and you won’t miss us!

Skye Fairy Pools Tour Lunch Menu+

At WOW Scotland, on our Isle of Skye Fairy Pools day tour although lunch is not included we do have connections with the amazing Relish in Portree, who provide lunch to anyone on the tour who needs something made up.

 

Your guide will take your order and cash in the morning. The meals will be delivered to you at lunch time (usually upon departure from Portree) to be eaten on the coach.

Lunch Options

 

Your packed/box lunch will contain your choice of white filled roll (or gluten free wrap), a traybake, an apple, a packet of crisps (chips) and a carton of water.  The price of this is £7.50.

Choose from the following fillings:

 

  • Hot-smoked salmon, with salad leaves and cucumber
  • Piri piri chicken, with salad leaves, tomato and mayonnaise
  • Cheese and ham, with plum and apple chutney
  • Brie and cranberry, with salad leaves (Vegetarian)
  • Hummus, with salad leaves and tomato, no butter (Vegan)

You may be interested to know that…

We work with Relish in Portree, who make our meals to order every day. The money you pay goes straight back to this fantastic local deli.

Relish use local suppliers as much as possible: salmon is from Skye Fish; meat is from Murdoch Brothers; fruit and vegetables come from Williamson’s of Inverness.

The packaging used for the meals is fully compostable.

 

We think that the food is delicious, and we hope that you do too!

For Dinner;

 

We would highly recommend booking somewhere in Inverness for after your return to the city at 8pm – we will send out our restaurant recommendations in your final pre-tour email three days prior to your tour date.

 

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Meet your Fairy Pools Guides

Gordon Pearson

Founder & Tour Guide

  560 Reviews

Gordon founded WOW Scotland in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. He loves talking about the Scottish Highlands, both on tour and on the TV and radio.

Sandy Dear

Tour Guide

  350 Reviews

Sandy has been working in Scottish tourism for over 25 years and has been a key part of team WOW since 2014. His knowledge of the Scottish Highlands is outstanding and he delights our visitors on each and every tour with his phenomenal story telling skills.

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