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.

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Tour Highlights

  • The ultimate one day tour of Skye
  • Explore the Fairy Pools at your leisure
  • Experience the Quiraing, Kilt Rock, the Old Man of Storr, Eilean Donan Castle, Portree and Loch Ness
  • The only tour from Inverness visiting the Fairy Pools in 2020!
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PricesAdults from £74
Children from £37 (Min. age 6 years)
Buy 3 Adult Places get 4th one Free!
Times08:15 - 20:15
Departure from Inverness Bus Station
Free CancellationFree cancellation up to 72 hours prior to tour
Covid Compliant TourSocial distancing on board and single travellers get 2 seats.

Itinerary and Map+

Itinerary & Map

1

The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins
Our Isle of Skye Fairy Pools Day Tour starts in Inverness at 8.15am.

As we drive west out of Inverness we start our day with a WOW as we get our first glimpse of that breathtaking stretch of famous water; Loch Ness.  As we weave our way along the shores of the loch your guide will regale you with the colourful history of its famous monster, before we have a quick comfort break in Nessie’s hometown of Drumnadrochit.  

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2

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle
From here it is a quick hop, skip and jump to Urquhart Castle, our first photo stop of the day.

This sight is best viewed from above for wonderful views of the medieval ruins, which sit upon a stubby peninsula jutting out into the deep and dark waters of the mysterious loch.

We will spend around 10 minutes at Urquhart Castle.

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3

Eilean Donan Castle

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

As we head west along the shores of Loch Cluanie and through the mountains of Kintail your guide will fill you in on the bloody story of the Battle of Glenshiel, and the Jacobite history which led to these once-thriving glens becoming the dramatically desolate places they are today.

Around 10am we reach the rugged sea lochs of the west coast, before arriving at 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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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 75 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!  

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

The Skye Bridge

The Skye Bridge
We cross back over the bridge to start our homeward journey

After our day exploring all of the highlights of Skye we will head back over the bridge but, instead of retracing our steps, will head north to take an alternative, but equally scenic, route back to Inverness.  As we pass through typical Highland landscapes and skirt the edges of picturesque sea and freshwater lochs your guide will ensure that you are well-entertained and comfortable throughout.  As he chats your driver will be keeping his eyes keenly on the road for the sheep, deer and other wildlife typically roaming around in this area!

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10

Achnasheen

Achnasheen
Stunning scenery from start to finish

Our final stop of the day is at the Victorian railway station in Achnasheen, where you will have around 10 minutes to nip up to the historic railway bridge for some photos, and use the facilities.  From here it is a one hour drive back down through the Black Isle and over the Kessock Bridge back to Inverness.   

We are confident that you will return with memories to last a lifetime, and having fallen in love with the place we feel so lucky to call home.  

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FAQs+

Tour FAQs

Will we be stopping for coffee/snacks?+

In 2020 we will have one, or possibly two, stops 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, we would recommend that you bring some light snacks and drinks on the coach, to keep your energy up for the adventure!

If you do wish to purchase snacks or drinks on the tour the main opportunity to do this will be in Portree (you have approximately 45 minutes here and there are a number of cafes, bakeries and shops), and sometimes in Broadford. 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?+

We are delighted to be able to offer a lunch pre-ordering service on-board, in order to save you valuable sightseeing time.  Our friends at the Relish Deli in Portree make up all of our lunches to order, ready or collection by your WOW guide at around midday.  Lunches will then be distributed upon our departure from Portree, to be eaten on the coach.  Your guide will take your order and cash in the morning.

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 lunch is £7.50.

You can 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 are delighted to work with a local supplier; Relish in Portree
  • The money you pay goes directly to this fantastic local deli
  • Relish use local suppliers as much as possible
    • Skye Fish (supply salmon)
    • Murdoch Brothers (meat)
    • Williamson’s of Inverness (fruit and vegetables)
  • The packaging used for the meals is compostable and will be collected by your WOW guide for commercial composting 
  • We think that the meals are delicious and hope that you do too!

If you do not like the sound of this option please feel free to bring your own lunch and snacks with you.  There may be an opportunity to pick up food along the way but this is not something that we can guarantee, as we tailor our itinerary to ensure that we make the most out of the weather, so do not necessarily have shopping time late morning/early afternoon.

Dinner

We would recommend booking somewhere in Inverness for your return to the city.  We will send out our recommendations in the final confirmation email, which you will receive three days prior to your tour date.

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 July 2020 there are not even public toilets, although hopefully these will be open in the coming weeks) so even staying around the mini-coach isn’t really viable.

At other sights we visit there are very few which have 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 8.15am (0815). Please ensure that you are ready to board the bus at 8am (0800) as we will leave promptly at 8.15am (0815), and are unable to wait for any latecomers. The tour will return to Inverness city centre at approximately 8.15pm (2015).  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.

2020 COVID update

  • In 2020 we will be operating our coaches at around 50% capacity, in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.  There will be at least one metre between each group/family, and between each group/family and the driver/guide.  Our coaches already had the most space and legroom of any day tour from Inverness so, with our reduced capacity this year, your comfort will be enhanced even further!
  • There will be hand sanitiser available on board throughout the day.
  • We will have a boarding procedure in place to ensure that guests embark and disembark in a logical fashion.
  • Please note that, in line with Scottish law, you will be required to wear a face mask on our tour (and in all other public transport and tour vehicles in Scotland).
  • We already had stringent cleaning procedures in place on our coaches and have enhanced these for 2020 tours, with a particular focus on cleaning touch points such as hand rails throughout the day, in addition to deep cleaning the coaches after every tour.

 

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 (note that this may not always be possible for our Skye Fairy Pools Tour in 2020, due to social distancing guidelines) .  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.

2020 COVID update

In 2020 we will only be taking bookings for front row seats, as we will be allocating all other seats according to group size, and social distancing guidelines.  Please rest assured that you will be seated with your group/family/partner, and single travellers will be given two seats, so will not have to sit next to a stranger (in fact, wherever you are sitting, the two seats in front and two seats behind you will also be free, so you will actually be getting 3 – 6 seats for the price of 1!)

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 bright green and purple coach and you won’t miss us!

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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.

Robert Carr

Tour Guide

  85 Reviews

Prior to being a tour guide, Rob ran successful food and tourism businesses in Edinburgh and Perthshire. He has now been in the Highlands for 16 years, where he loves to indulge in his joint passions of golf and hiking.

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