Discovering the Culture of the Isle of Skye

Discovering the Culture of the Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye has long been a favourite destination for walking holidays due to its dramatic landscapes. From its sheer cliff coastal walks to the Cuillan mountains, there is an adventure waiting for every experience level. For those planning on exploring the island, you’ll also discover a rich culture that will delight and often surprise.


A third of residents on the Isle of Skye speak Gaelic as a first or second language, so you are likely to hear it on your travels. Over the last 100 years its speakers have decreased significantly, but thanks to younger generations getting more exposure to it in their education, it’s currently experiencing a renaissance. The island is home to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, and many of the schools have bilingual teaching. So having a couple of basic phrases up your sleeve may serve you well – for starters: Madainn mhath (good morning) pronounced ‘mahteen vah’.


The island has a heritage of producing memorable music and musicians. From the famous piping songs that tell the story of the island’s turbulent history to the fiddle and accordion toe-tappers played at gigs, ceilidhs and festivals, music is at the heart of local life. Homegrown rock and folk bands have also been successfully exported to the wider world, inspired by the romance and history of their birthplace. So check the listings for events during your stay for a night to remember and if you visit any of the welcoming pubs across the island you might be lucky to witness a group of amateur musicians gathering for a warming sing-a-long.

Food & Drink

With an abundant natural larder to draw upon, refuelling on your walks will be a pleasurable experience. Fresh local seafood is on the menu of many of the Isle of Skye’s restaurants and pubs – its quality, and the expertise it is cooked with, attracts foodies from all over the globe. You will find langoustines, mussels, sustainable salmon, and hand-dived king scallops and oysters, at eateries to suit all budgets. Wild venison is sustainably managed on the island and will taste all the better for its natural existence.

To quench your thirst, you may like to take in the tour of Talisker Distillery in Carbrost, producer of renowned single malt whiskey and for ale lovers there is the Isle of Skye Brewery, which produces unique ales using traditional methods. Of course, this is just a snapshot of all there is to experience for hikers visiting the Isle of Skye.


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