Tucked away in the west side of Trotternish lies the enchanted Fairy Glen Isle of Skye. A dramatic landscape with small, grassy hills, an old fairy castle and ponds in between, which makes you feel like you’ve just entered the magical world of fairyland.
And you have, according to Scottish folklore.
The Fairy Glen is my favourite place on Isle of Skye. It’s one of the most magical and spiritual places I’ve ever been because there’s an atmosphere of something other-worldly.
In this post, you’ll find my complete guide to the Fairy Glen Isle of Skye. It will help you plan your visit so you’ll know what to expect and how to visit responsibly.
Let’s take a look.
❄️ Read next: 14 things to do on Isle of Skye in winter
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Fairy glen Background
🧝♀️ What is the Fairy Glen
Fairy Glen (or Faerie Glen) is a beautiful and mystical landscape with cone-shaped hills, strangely-shaped boulders, ponds, a fairy castle and mysterious stone stacks and spirals.
Legend has it that this is where fairies live. If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them, it will bring good luck.
Fairy Glen Skye history
The dramatic rock formations in Fairy Glen were created 10,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. Like the nearby Quiraing, they were formed by a landslip and have been further shaped by glacial movements over time to the natural rock formations and mounds we see today.
There are no legends connected to the glen, but according to Scottish folklore, fairies live in the underground and small round-topped hills and mounds like these. It’s said that if you listen closely enough you might hear the distant music and laughter of a fairy feast.
In Scotland, many of its hills and glens have names that relate to the mysterious creatures, like the Fairy Glen or the Fairy Pools on Isle of Skye.
🤓 Glen means ‘narrow valley’ in Gaelic.
Fairies in Scotland
Fairies are known as fays or fées, the wee people, fairy folk or elfs, but they’re said to prefer the name: sídh, pronounced “shee”.
Fairies are a mysterious and ambiguous force in Scottish folklore, capable of being helpful, malicious, or both.
They can curdle milk, sicken cattle, steal babies, lead weary travellers astray, or even strike them dead with an ‘elf-bolt’. On the other hand, they may offer help when needed – guiding you out of the dark woods, cleaning your home from top to bottom, saving you from a storm or providing food when you’re hungry.
Historically, Scottish belief in fairies has helped explain mysterious events that couldn’t be explained otherwise – such as illnesses. Sudden paralysis, skin disease, rheumatism, tuberculosis and more have been blamed on the fairies – providing an etiologic function for their existence.
More than anything, fairies are seen as an extension of nature – just as cruel or kind as its most inscrutable laws. While they have little care for human wellbeing at first glance, they often find themselves drawn to our attempts to master forces that may be beyond our control.
Rules of the Fay
I giggled, when the guide mentioned the fairies: “You can’t whistle. And you can’t offend the fairies…”
Those were the rules of engagement.
24 hours later, after my bracelet had vanished in the Fairy Pools, after my beloved iPhone had slipped out of my hands and been shattered to pieces, and after I’d sprained my finger (yes, the rude finger), I began questioning if I had done something to piss off the fairies.
You don’t have to believe in them, but I recommend you respect the rules anyway. Here they are (my source):
- Don’t whistle.
- Don’t stand in a fairy ring. They’re seen as portals to the Faerie realm.
- Do not take anything from the Fairy Glen, not even a leaf. The fairies will see it as stealing and they will be vengeful. He told us a story of someone who had taken a rock home as a souvenir and then one month later his house burned down. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t take any chances.
- Never accept a gift from the Fae. It’s best to destroy any gift from a faerie rather than accept it, and never thank them for it – doing so implies you owe them something in return.
- Never give them your name. If a Fay asks for your name and you give it, they will have power over you, so it’s best to give a made-up one or your nickname. If you know their name and say it, they’ll leave you be.
✨ The Rowan tree is said to provide protection from enchantment. It grows in the Fairy Glen and a sprig of this ought to protect you from harm.
Fairy glen directions
🧝 Where is the Fairy Glen Uig
The Fairy Glen is hidden in the Uig Hills of the Trotternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye. It’s a 30-minute drive from Portree.
🧝♀️ FYI: There are two Uigs on Skye, so use this map to make sure you’re heading in the right direction!
How to get to the Fairy Glen Scotland
It’s easiest to visit Fairy Glen by car.
To get there, turn off the A87 immediately south of the village of Uig onto the single-track road to Sheadar and Balnaknock. Follow it to the new car park that opened in 2020.
You can also walk there from Uig in 30 minutes.
Parking at the Faerie Glen Scotland
The car park is located directly beside the road and is just a short walk from Castle Ewen.
Parking costs £2 for two hours and £3 for four hours. As you’ll likely only need an hour or two to explore the glen, your best option would be to pay £2. There aren’t a lot of parking spaces, which is a good reason to visit early or late in the day.
You can pay with coins or card.
Fairy Glen Isle of Skye entrance fee and opening times
- The Fairy Glen is open 24 hours daily so you can plan your visit anytime.
- Entry is free – you just have to pay for parking!
When to visit Faerie Glen Isle of Skye
The best time to experience the magic of Fairy Glen is during the summer months from May – October, early morning or late in the day. You can also visit Fairy Glen in the winter months when there are fewer visitors.
The most popular month is August, which is when I visited. Fairy Glen can get quite muddy so November-March may not be the best time to visit weather-wise (although you can never be sure of the weather in Scotland).
Fairy Glen walking directions
It takes around 5-10 minutes to walk from the car park to the beautiful Fairy Glen Isle of Skye.
Look for directions leading up the hillside at the back of the car park and keep following it until you reach the main road. Cross over and look for a crop of Rowan Trees to guide your way. You’ll then see a small pond with a path that leads up the hillside – this will take you to your destination.
Fairy glen Activities
🧚 Things to do in Fairy Glen
The Fairy Glen Skye is a small geological wonder, full of magical things to do. Spend an hour or two here to take it all in.
1. Climb the fairy hills
The best thing to do in Fairy Glen is to climb the unique geological formations. From the hills, you’ll get spectacular views of the surrounding landscape, including the valley, mystical stone spirals and ponds.
2. Castle Ewen
Castle Ewen is the most distinct geological feature of the Fairy Glen. This towering rock formation looks just like a crumbling medieval fortress perched atop a hill.
A winding trail leads from the valley to the top of Castle Ewen where a narrow opening reveals a small natural chamber in the rock where you can get a beautiful view of the enchanting glen below. The way up can be slippery, so make sure to wear sturdy shoes and watch your step.
3. The mystical stone spiral
The valley floor of the Fairy Glen is home to a large stone circle and several mysterious stone spirals and other symbolically shaped rocks, all carefully arranged in neat patterns.
Who placed them there? Mythical creatures? It was probably people, but no one knows for sure.
4. Visit the pond
There’s a small lochan (pond) by the road that you can walk to. It’s a pretty sight with the Castle Ewen and the grass-covered hills in the background.
🥾 The Fairy Glen walk
The Fairy Glen Skye walk is a 1.6-km circular trail, perfect for hiking or watching birds. It’s generally considered an easy route and takes about 25 min to complete. Simply follow the trail and experience an enchanting walk of the grassy conical hills.
Fairy glen general tips
What to bring
These are the things to pack for a trip to the Fairy Glen in the summer (although always prepare for bad weather no matter the season):
- A rain jacket & lightweight puffer jacket: A must in Scotland
- Sturdy shoes to kept your feet dry and make sure you don’t slip
- Midge repellent! Midgets cause misery across the Scottish highlands between May and September. You can use Smidge spray or cover up.
- Toilets: There are no bathrooms in the glen so take this into consideration before you visit.
- Be responsible: You can help protect this magical land by not moving or stacking stones as it can cause damage and erosion to the ecosystem.
- Get there early or late: People tend to come from around 9 am, and the last tour busses leave around 5 pm.
How to protect the Fairy Glen
When you visit the Fairy Glen, please do not place stones or other objects in the stone circles. Some say that it can help your wishes come true, but in reality it’s hurting the place.
It’s not good for the landscape and people leaving their items behind only compounds the issue. The locals will often clean up after the tourists have left to restore the area to its natural state. But they really shouldn’t have to.
Let’s help each other protect this magical place. We want to keep it 💚
Useful things to know before visiting Scotland
💸 Scotland travel insurance
I highly recommend having travel insurance because let’s be real — the last thing you want on your trip is for accidents to get in the way.
I recommend Safety Wing — they offer affordable prices, great coverage, and a reliable 24/7 on-call service.
Is Fairy Glen worth a visit?
YES! The Fairy Glen is a unique landscape of grassy hills and mysterious stone circles, which makes it an enchanting place to explore. It’s definitely worth visiting.
How long does it take to hike Fairy Glen?
The Fairy Glen walk takes around 30 minutes but you can easily spend 1-2 hours in the glen. There are numerous stone circles and other interesting features that you can explore along the way, so it’s important to give yourself plenty of time.
What is the Fairy Glen in Skye?
The Fairy Glen in Skye is a remote and mysterious place near Uig on the Isle of Skye. It’s thought to be one of the most magical places in Scotland, steeped in Scottish folklore and mysticism.
Where to next?
Want more tips on the beautiful Isle of Skye? Check out my related posts below.
Isle of Skye itinerary
Discover the best things to do in Isle of Skye, including waterfalls, viewpoints and hiking.
The Fairy Pools
Find out how to explore the magical Fairy Pools in Isle of Skye.
Where to stay in Isle of Skye
Explore the best places to stay and find the perfect accommodation.
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