07.11.2016 - 10.11.2016 6 °C
We departed Kirrie on Monday morning, and Jude even had the decency to look somewhat disappointed that we were leaving. And so began an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful roadtrip - which started with Popmaster, as all good roadtrips should. We passed hairy coos (even a couple of black hairy coos) and admired the autumn colours, the snow-capped mountains and the rolling green fields. We stopped for lunch at a place with a foosball table, which could have been fun except that we spent all our time trying to work out which way we were supposed to be going because the goalies were facing the wrong way... Oh and the heating was broken, but the views were lovely and the venison burger and Scottish vego breakfast were delicious.
On we went, travelling ever so slowly on account of a tendency to have to stop to photo faff at every opportunity, and also because we got stuck behind a petrol tanker.
Eventually we came to the Skye Bridge, which we had been warned could be closed if the winds were too strong. But the limp wind sock made an absolute mockery of the "warning: strong winds" signs and we crossed with no issues. We stopped at The Co-op for petrol and groceries and more views, and then dragged ourselves away and got ourselves to Ullinish, our base for the next four nights. Views + Pointless + chicken wraps - Skye was off to a good start!
The next day, the weather lived up to the forecast - six degrees, wind and a sprinkling of rain. Perfect distillery weather, right? So we headed to Talisker and participated in one of the more serious distillery tours of our lives. I had half expected it to be more informal (like the ones on Islay) but it was all carefully controlled and locked away. Delicious whisky though - and followed up with a visit to the Oyster Shed for scallops. The people of Skye certainly are resilient and probably waterproof - outdoor picnic tables seemed a little optimistic to us.
We spent the afternoon bettering ourselves - learning how to play backgammon, because it just seemed the sort of game that would complement our bottle of Talisker rather nicely. And after dinner, we continued our Scottish education by watching Highlander and playing spot-the-Scottish-landmark and pick-the-genuine-Scottish-accent.
Things took a turn for the worse on Wednesday morning when we woke to the news of President Trump, but we decided to venture out and make sure that the world hadn't actually ended. Skye did its best to remind us that things were still going to be okay - we headed north to Quiraing, collecting hitchhikers John (from New Zulland) and Marina (from Germany, studying in Glasgow) along the way. We walked the strange, volcanic and vaguely Icelandic landscape with our new friends and had the place basically to ourselves. Most of the serious photographers (the ones without cracked screens) had been out there early to catch the sunrise and left as we arrived, while the rest of the tourists were staying in Portree and were still making their way up the coast. You know the deal by now - photos don't do it justice, words cannot fully describe the beauty of the landscape, you just had to be there... Let's just say the views made me forget the outcome of the American presidential election. High praise indeed.
From Quiraing, we took John and Marina back to Uig and we grabbed some Skye ales before heading to Kilt Rock and then Lealt Falls, where the water was black and the falls looked as if it was stout gushing over the rocks. Next in the agenda was the Old Man of Storr - we made it halfway up before the mist obscured our view and the rain obscured our happiness in such a way that we felt that going back down hill was the best option. We moved on to Portree for a coffee and cake, feeling like we had made the most of the sunshine and outdoorsy weather. We spent the evening in denial about world affairs, drinking Skye beers and playing backgammon until we found the Highlander television series (which had even worse accents than the film, as well as terrible terrible haircuts).
Thursday started with sunshine again, and we soon found ourselves traipsing across fields out towards a tidal island accurately (if unimaginatively) named 'Oronsay', which just so happens to be the Norse word for 'tidal island'. Nicely done. The path to the island was boggy, to say the least. Foot-sinking, squelching, boot-soakingly soggy. Thank goodness the sun was out. We tried various techniques to keep our feet dry - seeking high ground, treading on the heather, taking running leaps over particularly water-logged patches, and above all, laughing hysterically. We met a local resident (originally from England, of course) and he gave us the tip for the place with the best effort:view ratio. We continued onto Oronsay itself and it was definitely worth getting our feet wet. Behold - the rainbow circle! Somehow I don't think the sheep were as impressed as we were.
We walked home to dry our feet and have lunch, then went on another quest for views at Neist Point before we went on a quest for coffee. We got lucky and found a second hand bookshop cafe textile shop thing, where we had cheesy cheesy scones, a hot drink and a rather interesting conversation with the owner (English - because there are no Scots in Scotland apparently). Could only have been better if there were milkshakes on offer, and if my book-purchasing didn't have to meet the constraints of my suitcase dimensions.
Our final night on Skye was yet another rager - beer, backgammon and a big moon reflected in the water. Winning. At. Life.