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There are many fairy attractions you can visit in Scotland but have you heard of the Fairy Bridge Isle of Skye?
This arched bridge in the Waternish Peninsula gets its name from a magical legend of the Fairy Flag which belongs to Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan Castle.
So say, this is where a clan chief and a fairy princess parted ways before she had to go back to her home in fairyland.
It’s very easy to visit on the island and this bridge is a bit of a hidden gem that sees barely any visitors. So, you can escape the crowds and relax here in peace.
Here is a complete guide for The Fairy Bridge Isle of Skye and the magical legend behind it.
What is The Fairy Bridge Isle of Skye?
The Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Skye is an old bridge that can be found next to a road junction to Waternish.
It’s an arched bridge with a stream running beneath it and has scenic views of the rolling hills.
In Gaelic, it is called Beul-Ath nan Tri Allt or ‘The Ford of the Three Burns’. But, there is another translation that means the Ford of the Fairies.
Although most people see just a bridge, there is actually a fae legend associated with this crossing that gives it a magical name.
Why is it called The Fairy Bridge?
This bridge is called The Fairy Bridge because it’s related to the legend of The Fairy Flag of Dunvegan Castle or Am Bratach Sith.
This flag is one of Clan MacLeod’s most precious possessions and it dates back to the 4th century!
It’s rumoured to have mystical powers that helped the clan win significant battles in their history.
Indeed, Dunvegan Castle is the only Highland Fortress that can say it has been continually occupied by the same family for 800 years.
Many people say that their success is due to this Fairy Flag. But, what’s the story behind it and where did it come from?
Well, there are many different versions of this tale that speak of crusaders and magic. But, my favourite is the tale of The Fairy Bridge.
The Fairy Bridge legend
Once upon a time, a fairy princess married a MacLeod Chieftain and they lived together on the Isle of Skye.
As she belonged to the Seelie Court she was only permitted to live with him in the human world for a year and a day.
During their time together they had a son and, before she left for Fairyland, she bundled him up in a silken shawl.
They parted ways at The Fairy Bridge and she told the chief that he could wave the flag to save or protect the clan. But, he could only use this powerful magic three times.
True enough, it is documented that during two major clan battles the MacLeod Chief waved the flag to secure victory like in the Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke.
To this day, The Fairy Flag is revered by the clan and now proudly hangs in Dunvegan Castle. The Fairy Bridge also still stands and is located a few miles away.
Where is The Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Skye?
If you wanted to visit The Fairy Bridge from the legend then you only need to head over to the Waternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye.
The Isle of Skye is an island that you can drive to from mainland Scotland and it’s located on the upper west coast.
Waternish will be around 3 hour’s drive from Fort William, 3 hours from Inverness, 5 hours from Glasgow, and 6 hours from Edinburgh.
The bridge is near Dunvegan Castle and it’s very easy to visit using the A850 road.
How to visit the Isle of Skye Fairy Bridge
It’s easiest to drive to The Fairy Bridge as there is limited public transport on the Isle of Skye.
The bridge is around 5 miles away from Dunvegan Castle on the A850 road and the drive will take around 10 minutes.
Simply turn left at the old junction on Lochbay Road, there will be a sign pointing towards Waternish B886 (Geary).
Drive down this road and you’ll see the Fairy Bridge in less than a minute beside a Waternish information board.
If you’re driving from Portree, it is around 18 miles away from the town and will take you around 30 minutes.
There is a Stagecoach Bus that can drop you off at ‘Fairy Bridge Road End’ stop.
This is the number 56 and 56X service from Portree – Lonmore. This will later stop at Dunvegan Castle.
Forward planning public transport on the Isle of Skye is essential as there are only a few services per day and can be seasonal. Click here to plan your bus journey.
The Fairy Bridge parking
There is a small gravel car park located right next to The Fairy Bridge that you can use to visit.
Parking here is completely free. I believe most people park here to check out the Waternish information board as opposed to the bridge.
Even in the height of summer on a weekend, this bridge had barely anyone parked by it.
It’s a hidden gem on the Isle of Skye and it was nice to go to an attraction that wasn’t packed full of people for once!
Exploring The Fairy Bridge
When you park up at The Fairy Bridge, on the surface it does look like any regular pathway that can take you on a walk through the hills.
But, if you head down to the river banks, this is where you can see the arch in the stone bridge with the hills in the backdrop.
The top is where the chief and the fairy princess parted ways all those years ago and she gifted him The Fairy Flag.
You can take a walk on both sides of the bridge via the grassy banks and it’s really peaceful here.
Although it was near to a road, all I could hear was the babbling noises of the water.
It was a glorious day on my visit so I sat here for a while and basked in the sunshine and ate my lunch. It does make a great rest stop.
You don’t need long to visit this bridge as there is not much here. 15-30 minutes will be plenty. But, it’s still amazing to visit a part of the famous fairy legend.
Is visiting The Fairy Bridge on Skye worth it?
I thought so as I love myths and legends and anything to do with the Fae is my cup of tea.
Most people will see just an old bridge but for those that are curious, you can uncover a magical story that’s like something from a fairytale.
I’ve heard of The Fairy Flag for years and to visit a part of this legend for myself was quite surreal.
Beyond the folklore, this area is very peaceful on the Isle of Skye and sees barely any crowds. It was nice to find some peace and quiet along with beautiful views.
The Fairy Bridge opening times and prices
The Fairy Bridge on the Isle of Skye is open 24 hours a day but I wouldn’t recommend visiting in the dark.
It’s also completely free to visit and makes a great budget stop on a road trip.
That being said, there are no facilities here at all like a toilet or café. The nearest would be Dunvegan Castle.
How to see The Fairy Flag in Dunvegan Castle
If you wanted to see The Fairy Flag then you can do so at Dunvegan Castle on a self-guided tour.
There are even more fairy legends associated with this flag at the castle like the Fairy Tower.
According to one version of the tale, a nursemaid went to a party whilst the child slept in the tower and while she was away the babe started to cry.
So, the fairies comforted the child by bundling it up with this silken shawl and when the nurse returned there was the unseen sound of a Fairy Lullaby.
Dunvegan Castle is now one of the most popular attractions on the Isle of Skye and makes a great stop on the Waternish Peninsula.
You can take a tour of the castle, have a walk around their award-winning formal gardens and even take a boat trip to see some seals. It’s only a few miles away from The Fairy Bridge.
A castle and gardens ticket is £16 and you can book them in advance online.
Looking for more fairy places to visit on the Isle of Skye?
After you have visited the Fairy Flag and Fairy Bridge, you will be pleased to know that there are even more magical fairy attractions to visit on the Isle of Skye.
One of my favourite walks has to the Fairy Pools that can be found near Carbost in Glenbrittle.
It’s part of the MacLeod estate and was the location of a vicious battle between MacLeod and MacDonald clans.
Today it’s a very peaceful area and this short walk has dramatic scenery of the Cuillin mountain range in the background.
The trail will take you to a series of magical pools with waterfalls where you can go wild swimming.
You can also head up to the Trotternish Peninsula to visit the mysterious Fairy Glen. It’s a beautiful glade that looks like the stuff of fairytales.
You can climb up to Castle Ewan, walk around the glen, or make a wish in the fairy circle.
The Isle of Skye is a land that truly looks out of this world. So, you can get lost in this fantasy realm and enjoy being away with the fairies!