The Isle of Skye has always been one of the more romantic spots of Scotland, the epitome of the tartan and heather view of the Highlands and Islands. This is partly because it’s always been the most accessible island from the mainland, so it’s a little more well known – and well worn – than the outer isles. Even before the stylish Skye Bridge was built and the tolls abolished, Skye was only a short ferry trip from Kyle of Lochalsh. And it was the first of the Hebrides to have Sunday sailings, in 1964; something that still causes controversy with other islands today.
Skye’s reputation is for its scenery, from the ragged Cuillins to the ridges of Trotternish, and for its association with Bonnie Prince Charlie. After his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the fleeing prince, dressed in drag, was rowed across from Benbecula by a local lass, Flora MacDonald. He gave her a locket in thanks and hoped they’d meet again. They never did. He fled to live out his days as an exile in Rome while she was arrested and sent to the Tower of London. Though she was later released and emigrated to North Carolina, she’s gone down in history as a plucky and rosy-cheeked heroine.
Camus More, in the small crafting community of Bornesketaig, has been in the MacDonald family for four generations and Iain and Bryony have lived here full time since 1989. They started up the small campsite a good 20-odd years ago, but have managed to keep it fairly under the radar (they don’t own a computer so have no website), known only to a small band of aficionados and the occasional lost soul who stumbles here by mistake.
There are only a dozen or so pitches, shaved out of the long grass and separated from the beach by a low stone wall. The site is on the Ray Mears side of basic with just a couple of loos and an outdoor sink for washing – and it’s cold water only – but then somehow it seems in keeping with the sparse surroundings. Behind the site the land sweeps slowly upwards, dotted with houses from the old to the new, up towards the cliffs of the Trotternish Ridge. This jagged range defines the north of Skye as surely as the Cuillins do the south. There’s a grand road right up through the middle of the mountains that’s worth trying (by bike if you’re feeling fit and brave) for the fantastic views down the eastern side of Skye and out over Staffin Island.
From the site at Camus More, if you’re lucky or patient, probably both, you might spot a golden eagle over the hills to the south, a family of otters round the headland or even the occasional school of basking sharks out in the bay, though more likely you’ll just get stared at by all the cows in the back field.
If you’re not treated to a show by the local wildlife, then you can at least expect a great sunset, so have your camera at the ready. The site looks straight across the Little Minch towards Harris and the Uists, and as the long summer evenings draw to a close here, the sun sinks down behind the line of the Outer Hebrides and you can almost count the islands poking from the fiery sea as they taper off to the south. It’s classic Skye, and this is why people who’ve been can’t help but be drawn back again.
After more excitement in North Carolina during the American War of Independence, Flora MacDonald came home and ended her days here, perhaps enjoying the very same sunset views. She’s buried on the hill behind the site, a romantic end to a romantic life on the oh-so-romantic Isle of Skye.
FacilitiesThey’re fairly basic. There’s 1 male and 1 female WC with washbasin and cold water only. There’s an outside twin sink with a drinking-water tap and a shed with table and chairs, a fridge and a couple of power points for battery/mobile recharging. No electric hook-ups.
Food & Drink
The Duntulm Castle Hotel (01470 552213), which is fine for a pint but isn’t that great. A better option is to BYOB and make your own fun.
Opening TimesMid May–mid Sept.
Camus More, Portree, Kilmuir, Portree, Isle of Skye IV51 9YS
The no. 57 (A or C) bus does a loop past Kilmuir from Portree. Details of timetables are available at www.stagecoach.com. From Kilmuir it’s a mile’s walk to the site.
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