Sleat - Armadale and Ardvasar
The Sleat peninsula stretches to the south of Skye offering views to Eigg and Rhum to the Weat and to Knoydart to the East. Sleat has a softer character to much of the rest of the island. The Calmac ferry from Mallaig arrives at the Armadale ferry terminal. The far end of the bustling car-park is where the bus shelter is located but visitors are warned to check the times as busses leave sharply even if the ferry is delayed. Many a happy holiday has started with a missed bus and there are worse places to be stranded than Armadale pier.
The growing shopping area starts on the very end of the pier where fishing tackle and leatherwork can be bought. The unique pleasure of catching your own supper can be experienced when the mackerel season starts in July. Fishing lore says to try at high tide after the rain, using feathers, don’t catch more than you can eat and eat them as fresh as possible.
In the car-park there more shops, buskers play fiddle, pipes or accordion as the ferry unloads and even the locals wander lazily while eating ice-creams and swapping gossip. The Ruabh Phoil occupies the rest of the small headland and it is an exceptional place to visit. The walk up the hill leaves busy commercialism behind and takes you to the ethereal world of fairies and herbalism, fare trade and compost toilets, permaculture, music workshops and quirky camping. It costs no more than a donation and it is worth exploring.
Armadale is flat and fertile land historically farmed and enjoyed by the Clan MacDonald.
A short walk from the pier is Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles, the former seat of the Macdonalds of Sleat which is now operated by the Clan Donald Lands Trust. Visitors can enjoy the historic gardens and castle ruins, find out local history in the museum and browse the library and archive.
There is a community owned filling station which houses a farm shop, tourist information and post office. Also within a mile to the south lies the hilly village of Ardvasar. The tiny shop here stocks an impressive range of groceries but is shut from 1pm until 2.30pm daily.