What to do
The Hirsel is an excellent base to explore the Sleat peninsula, and indeed Skye itself, and within easy reach of Lochalsh, Lochaber, Wester Ross and the Small Isles beyond. From the mountains, moorland and dramatic coastlines further north of Skye, to the green and softer side of Sleat, the garden of Skye, you will never be far from amazing views and changing light, truly a photographer’s paradise. Walking and climbing, fishing and watersports there is something for everyone. For the less adventurous the area is one of Scotland’s finest for watching wildlife and from the cottage you can often see colonies of seals and birds on the small islands just off-shore, and overhead can watch buzzards and eagles soaring on the thermals. Otters are our special residents on Loch Eishort and dolphins our even more special guests which bring much excitement to visitors and villagers alike. October brings the rutting season and to hear the bellowing of the stags is reminiscent of Jurassic Park. The winter months bring short, often sunny days, a great time of the year to explore this special place.
Aside from walking and wildlife spotting, there is still much to do within such a short distance from Ord. Across the island and Lochlash boat trips will cruise the pristine waters to search for basking sharks, whales and dolphins, with some exciting and rewarding thrills and spills adventures. Armadale is home to Armadale Castle, the islands finest gardens and the ruins of Armadale Castle, long-time home of the chiefs of the Clan Donald, Lord of the Isles. A visit to the Museum of the Isles in the castle grounds is a must for any visitor whether are tracing their family history or learning more about Skye and its heritage. In the summer months the cafe, Gasta at Armadale Castle is open 7 days a week.
Yachts can be chartered at Armadale and the area is simply superb for boating, kayaking and windsurfing. The beach at Ord allows the launching of kayaks and sailboats with exploration across Loch Eishort to Loch Slapin, the ruins of the former crofting settlements of Suisnish and Boreraig, long since empty from the Highland Clearance of the 1850’s, all within easy reach. Fishing offers a tranquil day’s sport both on the sea and freshwater lochs (permits required).
The area of Sleat is home to some fine restaurants and hotels that offer the visitor the very best in local food and drink, from the Duisdale and Toravaig House hotels to the Inn at Aird a Bhasair one mile past the Armadale ferry terminal. Take a wee dram at the friendly pub at the Eilean Iarmain Hotel, at Isle Ornsay, nearby to the home for some time to Gavin Maxwell, author of 'Ring of Bright Water’ and where Flora Macdonald is said to have rowed Bonnie Prince Charlie from Skye. Or, for that special dinner, visit Kinloch Lodge, multi award winning hotel with its wonderful restaurant under Head Chef Marcello Tully, the finest on Scotland's west coast.
Opening in Spring 2018 is the stunning 'Torabhaig Distillery', the first whisky distillery to be built on Skye since 1831. Crafted from the old Knock Farm steading dating from the 1870's this is a must-do attraction on your holiday. Tours operate every day, there is a cafe, tasting room and shop, and from the building there are magnificent views of the ruins of Knock Castle, the Sound of Sleat and the mainland in the distance.
A holiday at the Hirsel offers so many opportunities to tempt your senses and feed your soul. Come and relax, enjoy and you will want to come again, time after time!