To the casual observer, an area on the same line of latitude as central Russia could be presumed cold and bleak, with long, hard winters. Amazingly Sleat has a climate that allows palm trees to grow (at Ord) and exotic trees to flourish (Armadale castle) and is cultivated to such an extent that it is referred to as the garden of Skye.
The Sleat peninsula is unique, even on an Island where every area has a distinctive character. Unlike the rest of the region, there are no mountains here, the central parts being lush moorland, dotted with forestry plantations. This gentle landscape is home to hedgerows, green fields and small woodlands, and offers the traveller a superb view of colours and shapes not found elsewhere in the area, and is so different from the rugged structures of North Skye that it is hard to believe the distance between them is only fifty miles.
A traditional starting point would be the Glenelg--Kylerhea ferry, bringing the traveller onto one of the old drove roads of Skye. On a sunny day in springtime a vista of colour awaits, wild flowers in green valleys undulate slowly down to inlets and rocky bays where the waters gleam and glisten. A later visit treats the tourist to a display of Autumn colous, browns and golds, reds and greens.
Drive west on the single track road to the beach at Tarskavaig, with wonderful views of the small isles, take a look at Dunsgathaich Castle (the Fort of Gloom!), pass through Tokavaig wood, an ancient Druid oak grove, but stop at Ord bay with its wonderful coloured rocks to experience the best Cuillin sunset on the Island.
Explore the more accessible East coast from the main tourist route, passing Ardvasar, one of the prettiest Skye villages, and Armadale bay, with superb panoramic views of the mainland mountain ranges. Take refreshments at Isleornsay, where a thriving community has built up around the old herring port, and take the road north through Kinloch; 'head of the loch' to Broadford, the largest settlement in South Skye.
The mountains are on the horizon now, a taste of things to come, and a reminder, if one was needed, that the lush, rolling topography and vibrant colours of Sleat are not only unique to this region, but a truly unforgettable experience for the visitor.