The Fairy pools is a collective noun for a number of waterfalls in the river Brittle (Allt Coir a’ Mhadaidh). The waterfalls of the Fairy pool are located north of Glenn Brittle on the Isle of Skye in Scotland (UK).
When driving on the A87 at Sligachan take the turn towards Drynoch (A863). Before Drynoch turn left (B8009) and turn almost directly left towards Glenn Brittle. The last 7 kilometers, to the parking, is a very narrow road with many passing places. Only problem is that the Fairy pools are the most touristic hotspot of the Isle of Skye. You can imagine this creates impossible situations of where busses and campers can’t pass each other, resulting in long traffic jams where nothing happens. This happened to us on the way back…. I think the local government has to do something to resolve this problem.
Although there is a huge parking (newly made in 2023) at the fairy pools (with a parking fee of £6), this wasn’t big enough. You can imagine there where a lot of people at the Fairy pools. Best is to go early (before 10 a.m.) to assure you have a parking spot without waiting. At the way back you will have some delay…… It took us 15 minutes extra before we where back to road B8009.
The trail along the Fairy Pools waterfalls is easy. After crossing the street (at the parking), the trail goes a little steep down with at your left hand a waterfall. This isn’t the Fairy Pool yet… Now the path gets easy and you are walking along the river Brittle (Allt Coir a’ Mhadaidh). The views are breathtaking and in the summer of 2023, when we visited the Fairy Pools, the weather was fine. Some clouds and some sun, a good combination for gorgeous pictures. From the car park is is a 2 kilometer walk along the river to see the multiple waterfalls. After 20 minutes we reached the first of the waterfalls and people where swimming at the base of the waterfall. It was very tempting to go swim myself but the water is cold and I am not such a hero…. Although you have a great view at the top of the waterfall, the views are even better at the base. You can climb down to the river Brittle.
We continued our walk and now we now why it is called the Fairy Pools. There are several pools where you can swim and several people did. I can’t imagine a better place to swim. I really like the gorgeous surrounding and views of the Fairy pools although the drops aren’t that tall, between 2-7 meters. There are about three significant drops and after 1 hour (from the parking) we reached the last big waterfall, on of the biggest of all waterfalls at the Fairy Pools, approximately 7 meters.The River Brittle, also known as the Abhainn Bhruidhail in Scottish Gaelic, originates from the Cuillin Hills on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The source of the river Brittle can be found up at a mountain rig with several peaks over 900 meters. The highest mountain peak is Bruach na Frìthe with a height of 958 meters. The river Brittle has quite a consistent flow.
Why are the waterfall called “the Fairy Pools?” The several waterfalls have something magic but there are also several legends about the pools on the Isle of Skye. One of the best known legend is the one of Dunvegan castle:
The chieftain of Clan Macleod of Dunvegan was to marry a “bean sidhe” (fairy woman) who was princess of the Shining Folk (fairies). One night she heard her baby in the human world weeping so she instantly returned to him, wrapped him in a silk shawl, and lulled him to sleep singing. This is why the tale is named the “Fairy Flag”.
Despite being in love with one another, the King of the Fairies forbade their marriage which led to his daughter’s upset. In response, he permitted their union but only for one year as a trial. The pair had a son together but, once their year was up, the Fairy Princess was commanded to return to her original realm.
Another popular legends about the Fairy Pools tells the story of a young woman named Brigid. Brigid was a beautiful and kind-hearted woman, and she was loved by all who knew her. One day, Brigid was walking through the Glen Brittle valley when she came across a group of fairies bathing in the pools. The fairies were so enchanted by Brigid’s beauty that they invited her to join them. Brigid accepted their invitation, and she spent the day swimming and playing with the fairies.
When it was time for Brigid to go home, the fairies gave her a gift of a magical necklace. They told her that the necklace would protect her from harm and bring her good fortune. Brigid wore the necklace for the rest of her life, and she lived a long and happy life.
After visiting the Fairy pools you must go to the beach at Glenn Brittle. A short drive and the views are gorgeous and the beach is so beautiful. You can park your car at the camp site.