Fairy Pools – Isle of Skye, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Scottish culture is chock full of naturalistic Celtic myths and legends that speak of magical beings living under hills, and waters filled with beasts large and small. The Fairy Pools near Carbost, Scotland embody that sense of magic in their unbelievably blue waters.

Accessible only by a foot hike through the Glen Brittle forest, the series of small waterfalls that make up the so-called Fairy Pools are some of the most pristine swimming holes in the world. On a sunny day, the turquoise waters of the natural pools are so clear, one can readily see each moss-covered stone at the bottom.

Located at the foot of the Cuillin Mountains, the crystal-clear water flows between pools with waterfalls of various shapes and sizes. On wet, cloudy days after a good rain, torrents of water rush and whirl in thunderous cascades.

There does not seem to be a legend attributed to the fairy pools, but rather the pools look as though they were pulled from the imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien. The waters of the Fairy Pools might be bone-chillingly cold, but their near supernatural atmosphere has made them one of Scotland’s most enduring natural wonders.  

Know Before You Go

From Portree on the Isle of Skye, head North and then West towards the town of Carbost. Just before reaching the town, head South towards Glenbrittle. A small fairy pools sign can be seen at the crossroad. While driving towards Glenbrittle, the Fairy pools car park will be found on your right. Parking costs £5 per car and must be paid for by coins or card (no notes).

From the parking lot, called (and signed) Glumagan Na Sithichean, cross the public road to find the path labeled "Sligaghan," take the path in front of you. The return walk takes 2 hours without any places to protect from the sun, wind or rain. Several small river crossings are required (with large rocks to help) and ground can be slippery when wet. Proceed with caution. 

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