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134km (83 miles) W of Inverness; 283km (176 miles) NW of Edinburgh; 235km (146 miles) NW of Glasgow

Off the northwest coast of Scotland, the mystical Isle of Skye, largest of the Inner Hebrides, is 77km (48 miles) long and varies between 5 and 40km (3-25 miles) wide. It's separated from the mainland by the Sound of Sleat (pronounced "Slate"). At Kyleakin, on the eastern end, the channel is only .5km (1/4 mile) wide.

Dominating the land of summer seas, streams, woodland glens, mountain passes, cliffs, and waterfalls are the Cuillin Hills, a range of jagged black mountains that are a mecca for rock climbers. The Sleat Peninsula, the island's southernmost arm, is known as the "Garden of Skye." There are many stories about the origin of the name Skye. Some believe it's from the Norse ski, meaning "cloud," and others say it's from the Gaelic word for "winged." There are Norse names on the island, however, as the Norsemen held sway for 4 centuries before 1263. Overlooking the Kyle is the ruined Castle Maol, once the home of a Norwegian princess.

On the island you can explore castle ruins, duns (hill forts), and brochs (prehistoric round stone towers). For the Scots, the island will forever evoke images of Flora MacDonald, who conducted the disguised Bonnie Prince Charlie to Skye after the Culloden defeat.