Having never experienced self catering holidays before we were a bit concerned about what we would encounter in terms of accommodation standards when we booked a 3 nights break away through Islands & Cottages, needless so! Tidal Cottage is more than what is advertised, the pictures on I & C's website don't really do it justice! This is a beautiful little cottage on the water's edge, secluded and magical, with an open bedroom, just perfect for a couple. There are five stars touches all around the cottage including the free standing bathtub with magnificent views over Broadford Bay and the Red Cullins just beyond. And literally just outside the door is a tidal wildlife show as otters often come fishing on the inlet sea literally 100 ft away. Also the stunning sunsets, the midnight sun and the sunrises which could be enjoyed from the very cosy bed or from the kitchen/living room area with nothing to obscure your view except for a little grassy island which you could walk around onto (or straight across at low tide if you dont mind getting your boots wet) to find seals basking on the rocks and again magnificent views. We found the cottage a wonderful place, very clean, tidy and upmarket, very well equipped and owned by a lovely couple who were very accommodating and eager to please. This was a brand new renovation of an old cottage with a few teething problems around the time we were in all of which were addressed immediately when brought to their attention.
The island itself has magnificent scenery wherever you turn and nothing including the Cullin Moutains are far away and the wildlife though not guaranteed has great potential to be seen, including the elusive otters which we didn't see anywhere else except from our bathtub.
For the keen wildlife watcher here is a tip, there is a wildlife hide in Kylerhea just a short drive away (turn left on the A87 upon leaving the cottage and follow the signs for Kylerhea, you will eventually see the signs for the Wildlife Hide) where otters, whales, birds and seals can be spotted but even if like us you don't get to see much more than a lot of seals the drive in itself is well worth the run out, the views are really nice specially on a sunny day.
Also the boat trips departing from Elgol (roughly an hours drive away) are worth considering as they will take you to the outer islands with possibility of spotting a vast variety of sea birds including puffins and razorbills (we also spotted 3 golden eagles!) plus the big mammals that are often seen in those deep waters, unfortunately the conditions were not right for the whales and basking sharks when we went. Mare sure you dress warmly as one gets quite chilly on the boat ride (gloves wouldn't go amiss on cooler days, I sure could have made good use of a pair!). And I would highly recommend taking a pair of binoculars with you or renting one out at the aquaxplore booth (just £3 for the entire 4 1/2 hours trip), it was nice to see the golden eagles and the red deer up close through them.
The only down side to Skye in our opinion was the low standard restaurant and bar food at expensive prices we encountered, the exception being the Harbour restaurant at Broadford which lacked ambience but made it up on the food though you pay good prices for it. We drove by the Three Chimneys restaurant whilst touring the island but didn't have the chance to eat there, they get really good reviews on Trip Advisor. We quickly found out it was cheaper and tastier just to home cook fillet steaks from the very well stocked local Coop shop so that's what we did from day 2 on.
We would like to end this review with a personal thank you for Mr & Mrs McRae for the use of their beautifully renovated cottage and the kindness they showed toward us (thank you so very much for our last night in the cottage, we appreciated it wholeheartedly!)
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