Updated: Apr 10, 2021
You can feel the cool breeze hug you as you walk along a quaint pathway immersed among vibrant greenery and woodlands of pine trees. The morning dew squishes the earth beneath you as you take each step. It’s a cooler day, typical of the highlands, but the air feels fresh, hours away from the city’s congestion. As you navigate towards the Fairy Pools, you pass signs reading first in Gaelic, followed by its English translation. The isle feels so serene. You stumble upon a loch with dramatic backdrops of rolling, treeless hills, casting a picturesque reflection on the water.
Here you decide to slip off your shoes and acquaint yourself with this new place. With your first bare step onto Skye’s soil, you feel the dewy grass between your toes and the light wind that sways through your hair as you walk towards the water. You stand in awe overlooking the loch. Dome-shaped hills sprawl behind it, painting a captivating reflection on the water. You feel like you have this land completely to yourself. You close your eyes for just a moment as you allow yourself to hear more clearly. Birds chirp, the wind lightly whistles, and you hear a soft splash in the loch. It’s a fisherman in the distance throwing his line into the water.
The Fairy Pools are only close ahead, a special piece of Scottish beauty waiting for you to explore. As you continue to make your way to this magical place, you can’t help but feel mesmerized by the pure serenity of the Isle of Skye. Cars and pedestrians have seemingly been replaced with highland cows and sheep, and cities are nonexistent. Its largest town is only 2,000 people. Skye wouldn’t want to take a drop away from the nature of this natural land. After all, there are more sheep than people on the Isle of Skye, and they need their open space to frolic freely.
Along the route, you inevitably pass sheep dotted on the hillsides along with flowing rivers and secluded cottages. You imagine yourself in one of them, living a simpler life. Your house is humbly sized with ancient white stone walls and a dark brown triangular roof. You grow fresh herbs and vegetables in your back garden and your morning eggs come from your own chicken coop. As it’s traditionally done, you also hang your clothes to dry on the line, with the wind and air as your dryer. You worry less and feel more, as you indulge in a more sustainable way of living. You wake up surrounded by the hills of Skye and go to sleep under the stars, free of light pollution.
You can see the silhouette of the valley now. It’s where the Fairy Pools are nestled. One more step on the dewy ground and you arrive at Skye’s ever-so-enchanting Fairy Pools. You feel captivated by the cascading waterfalls and vibrant blue and emerald green watering holes that have been spread beautifully among the rolling hills of Skye. It’s no wonder why it’s called the Fairy Pools; if a fairy made an appearance, it would hardly be a surprise at all. It’s a place that must have inspired centuries of folklore and fairy tales, as much of Scotland has.
As you look up from your feet, you gasp in disbelief upon discovering what you’ve been waiting for: an array of trickling waterfalls, streams, and majestic pools ascending upwards through the valley. It feels both secretive and captivating, and the place is yours to explore.
There is evidence of a morning rain as a lingering mist beautifully covers the tips of the rocky Cuillin Mountains surrounding the Fairy Pools. The weather now is far from sunny and warm, rather it’s grey and mysterious, setting the tone of this mystical and magical place. Regardless of the weather, you slide off your shoes and socks as you walk towards a large pool with clear, inviting water. You can see the rocks below as you step one foot into the vibrant pool. The water lightly waves as you place your second foot. A gentle chill embraces you, yet you feel safe and content. You look up at the captivating and drizzly mountainside that surrounds you while you breathe in the fresh air, stimulating your senses. You catch a smell of wild thyme, feel the rocks between your toes, and hear the trickling sounds of waterfalls around you. Magical. Freeing. Inspirational. The kind of moments that inspire poetry.
You long for more of the Fairy Pools. You sway your feet through the shallow water, so carefree and relaxed, as you walk towards the waterfall, the mother of this homey watering hole. In a way, the waterfall has seemingly appeared from nothing as it splashes into the pool. You feel tiny water droplets cleanse your skin. You close your eyes for a moment, feeling connected to the beauty which surrounds you. The rocks feel like pillows as you caress them with your toes. The smell of thyme grows stronger as a gentle wind cuddles you.
Then, a moment of magic happens; the Scottish sun’s gentle rays emerge among the mysterious clouds, casting little gems of sparkling light on the emerald waters around you. You feel the warmth on your skin as you lift your head towards the sun, taking in a deep relaxing breath. They say Scotland can experience all four seasons in one day, and you now see exactly what they mean.
The place feels like it has been made for you, for it is in this moment that you feel completely safe and whole immersed in the Isle of Skye. As you sit down on a flat rock jutting above the pool, your mind begins to drift like the water all around you does. You imagine those who first discovered this tranquil spot. This secluded land of mystery must have fascinated them, stirring legends and folklore for centuries to come. You imagine them with a similar gaze of disbelief as they approach the first pool, only to discover many more along the route. Nowadays the Fairy Pools are a greatly sought-after Scottish destination for its fairy tale ambiance and inviting beauty. Its first founders could have already guessed. Who wouldn’t want to dip their toes in these waters?
You then navigate out of the pool, one foot after another until you find your shoes by the edge. You place them in your backpack, eager for more barefoot exploring. You begin to feel the soft blades of grass between your toes as you wander deeper through the valley. Your heart flutters as you catch a glimpse of the next natural pool.
Waterfalls circle around a shallow clear watering hole, far larger than the pool you delve into previously. With the newfound Scottish sun, you feel inspired to dip yourself further into the mystical waters of the Fairy Pools.
You shed your clothes, revealing your swimwear, as you slide yourself towards the pool. This time shy, you gently dip your big toe into the water first. It feels refreshing, slightly warmed by the sun. You begin to immerse one foot in, and as you lift your second foot, the feel of the refreshing water consumes you. You sway towards the center like a form of dance, as the once shallow water slowly grows deeper. You are soon waist deep in the emerald pool. You place your fingertips on top of the water as it gently pulls on your hands.
You lay back... close your eyes... and focus on the sound of water droplets tapping the surface. Its soothing sound relaxes you. You spend moments laying here, free of stress and worry, savoring the pure tranquility of this oasis.
By the time you open your eyes, the sky has begun to change. A tangerine and blue sky hover above you intertwined with soft white, pillow-like clouds. You gently turn over and navigate to the edge like you did once before. You open your backpack to reveal an oversized plush towel. It embraces you with warmth as you wrap it around your body, still sitting by the pool. You rub your hands against your arms to help warm you further.
After a few moments, you slide back into your clothes, slip on your shoes and socks, and navigate back to your cozy bed and breakfast where you’ll soon lay your head for the night. Following the familiar scenic trail, the greenery brushes you as small droplets of rain fall from the leaves onto the ground. The tones of Golden Hour cast down gorgeous sun rays, illuminating your journey along the pine tree pathway.
Continuing your walk, you’re surprised to stumble upon a small herd of highland cows, or heilan coos as the locals would say. They are situated safely behind a wooden fence. You move closer, the grass crunching beneath you, as you get a better look at these beloved mammals. The coos are a soft brown with two long horns, shaking their wavy, shaggy hair as they look up to greet you with teddy bear-like faces. Seemingly unamused, they turn their heads back down as they continue to munch on the green grass before them. Two young, innocent calves run and play in the nearby distance, their legs thin and their hair short, not yet grown out like the adults around them. The adult highland cows, on the contrary, have hair so long and wild that their eyes almost go unnoticed, allowing you to focus in on their oversized noses and territorial horns. They are stunning animals, a favorite of many locals and visitors to Scotland...
You soon approach your quaint bed and breakfast, traditional and welcoming, as you notice smoke warmly lifting from one of the chimney tops. You open the wooden door as the smell of firewood and lavender quickly fill the air. The entrance is rustic with dim lights, lined in tartan carpet. Your host is sitting at her desk while she greets you with a friendly smile. You smile and wave hello while heading towards your room upstairs, but something stops you before you get there.
You hear something interesting. You walk past the stairs towards the hallway as the sound comes to life. You turn a corner and discover the common room dressed in traditional Scottish decor and simple furniture. You then see a group of instrumentalists sitting in a circle of chairs. They play a jolly Celtic tune with fiddles, flutes, harmonicas, and acoustic guitars. You can almost see the music notes popping out of their instruments as they happily play. Once you creep your head further into the room, you see groups dancing together. You recognize that they are doing a form of Scotland’s lively traditional dance known as Ceilidh dancing. Arms and hands connect and intertwine as they dance around the wooden floor, kicking their feet in harmony. They look pure and carefree as they smile and move along the music; you spend some time admiring their movements. This dance is common at social gatherings and special occasions, and you feel grateful to witness this genuine moment of cultural happiness. As the joyful tune begins to simmer down, you slowly retrace your steps.
Back at the entrance, the wooden staircase delicately creaks as you step your feet upon it. You place your hand on the rail as the soft wood follows you up to the second floor. Upstairs is quiet, a calmer mood from the energy of the fiddlers and Ceilidh dancers who are downstairs. It seems you have the place to yourself.
Using an old skeleton key, the lock clicks as you open the door to your humble bedroom. Fresh flowers intertwined with purple lavender were placed in a beveled vase by your bed while you were away. The air has absorbed the relaxing aroma and you can’t help but feel at peace as you close the door. You then run your fingers through one of the soft and delicate petals and bend close to smell the lush lavender.
Your room features a king-sized wooden bed with thick white sheets and fluffy pillows. You also have your own fireplace, ready to be lit. To your right is a quaint table with lace cloth, full of fresh fruit and pastries. On your left, there is a bay window with dark green and blue tartan cushions looking out over the rolling hills of Skye. You pull by the lace curtains and catch a glimpse of the hypnotizing setting sun casting a red hue upon the hills. You pause for a moment to soak up the view, admiring the landscape. You then happily swing around the room as you make your way to the bathroom, quaint yet spacious with a porcelain white bathtub hovering above the dark wooden floor. Vintage and picturesque.
Suddenly there’s a knock at the door. It’s your thoughtful host delivering a small fresh pot of chamomile tea served in a classic floral teapot on a copper tray. You welcome her in as she places it on the table to the right. Then, she pulls out a match to light the wood of your fireplace, ensuring a cozy ambiance for the evening. She bids you a good night and quietly heads back downstairs.
You carry the tray of tea over to the scenic bay window. The fresh chamomile pours from the pot like the waterfalls of the Fairy Pools and your mind wanders back to highlights of the day. You think about the changes of the weather from rainy... to cloudy... to sunny and the breathtaking first glimpse of the Fairy Pools. You think back to dipping your toes in the refreshing water and then immersing your body further as you laid back and let the rare Scottish sun caress your face. You think about the forest, the sheep, the highland cows, the natural open spaces of Skye.
Your body is now warm from the inside out, and you feel cozy and safe as you sip your tea. Time passes as you look out at the hills, once red, now shadowed by the moon. With only a few clouds, the sky is clear enough for you to admire the stars. They beam bright and the moon shines in a crescent shape. You notice the Big Dipper in the sky, almost pointing down at you. The day has felt like a dream.
As you continue to look at the stars, you re-envision living in your own Scottish cottage away from meetings and business calls, traffic and congestion. This bay window is yours... This peaceful room is yours... The cozy bed and wooden flooring all belong to you too. It’s your own piece of the isle and no one can take it from you. You wake with the sun shining over the hills of Skye and go sleep admiring the stars. This blissful life you imagine is all yours.
You place the tea back on the table, delicately close the laced curtains of the bay window, and make your way over to the bed. It’s beautifully carved from a dark chestnut-like wood. You pull back the comforter first, followed by the sheet. You prop up and fluff the thick, soft pillows and slowly crawl into bed, one leg at a time. You repeat the steps again, but backwards, pulling the sheet up to your chest and then bringing the warm comforter over to nestle you. The sheets are satin, and they feel soft and seamless as you glide into your most comfort position.
You hear a gentle rain begin to trickle on the roof above you and then softy tap on your window in a harmonic melody. With the relaxing sound all around you, you begin to close your eyes and take it all in. Peaceful... soft sounds continue. The rain drifts you off to dream a lovely dream about Skye and the new adventures that await you as your head gently presses on the soft... warm... cozy pillow....