Well I say 2018 as I was in these islands in 2017, but I plan to go back again in 2018 and relive the moments. Who knows I might bump into you in one of these islands one day. In no particular order:
Eilean Donan is a tidal island sitatued at a point where three sea lochs meet which is also linked by a bridge to the mainland. The island holds Scotland’s most photographed castle which you might have seen on numerous occasions. This is usually a must photo and cake stop on the way to Isle of Skye. Seeing the castle in its winter coat is still in my bucket list, perhaps 2018 is the year I will tick it off!
2- Isle of Skye
After you visit the Eilean Donan castle it would be a shame if you don’t cross the bridge to Isle of Skye. Allow yourself a good 4 to 5 days to explore the island properly. Many tourists visit for couple of days and miss out on many highlights. Must stops would be Portree, Elgol, Quiraing and the Old man of Storr.
There are many blogs about Isle of Skye and extensive information about the places to visit. However if you want an alternative Isle of Skye I would recommend doing it the old fashioned way, buy an OS map and pick a destination and walk to it. It will most propabily guarantee a parking space and the added bonus of lavishing the vast landscape all to yourself.
3- Isle of Eigg
I would recommend getting the ferry back from Armadale in Isle of Skye to Mallaig and jumping on another ferry to Isle of Eigg. Best time to visit Eigg in my opinion would be in June/July when the island is bursting with wildflowers such as wild orchids. You are not allowed to take a car with you in this eco friendly island making it one or most environmentally friendly islands you can visit in Scotland crawling with volunteers who work on the land during the summer months. I have often wondered taking a career break and spending a good few months in the island exploring its remote beaches and learning all about the birds that inhabit it.
4- Isle of Lunga
If you want a guarantee to see a puffin during the summer months, this island will ensure it! However it’s not the easiest island to get to and you need to be lucky with the weather!
Orkney has something for everyone, a place with some of most interesting Scottish historical treasures to cliff hanging landscapes. With places likes the Tomb of Eagles where you literally crawl inside the tomb on the cliff edge to Yesneby stacks which is not for the faint hearted. Or you might just fancy dancing around the standing stones trying to figure out why they were put up in the first place.
Ideally best time to visit Orkney would be during the summer or winter solstice when these historical treasures blow your mind with their hidden secrets revealed. However I wouldn’t complain or say no any time spent in the island where stories from Indiana Jones lives at every corner.