Isle of Skye

June 11, 2015 § 1 Comment

After our second workaway, life took us north to the Isle of Skye.  Five days of utter freedom, in the best place in the world to be utterly free in, before checking into our third WorkAway assignment in Plockton (about ten kilometers from the Isle of Skye).

Last year that I was here, I deemed the Isle of Skye as the most magical place on the planet, with the best shoreline to boast.  And while I try to avoid travelling to previously-visited places and dread returning and reliving places, I was utterly stoked to share this gem with my new travel buddy.

IsleOfSkyeCuteCoupleKinda

The trip started early, with knocking on car doors waiting in line to cross back to the mainland from the Isle of Luing.  After a couple of rounds, we found a ride with Mister Watson, a chipper old man that was taking bags of his deceased wife’s clothing to the charity shop in Oban.  So, we hopped in, learned some Viking history, helped unload a bunch of dresses and hats, and found ourselves back on the streets of Oban.  We found an art project attached to the railing of the harbor: hundreds of colorful school fish flying in the wind.

ObanFishRail

After the cheerful farewell with the rainbow fish, it was a bitterly cold hour at the side of the road, with occasional showers and a cruel wind that soon froze our thumbs into a permanently hitched position.   Eventually, we got a lift to Connel, from where we found another ride all the way to the Fort William train station.

FortWilliamHarryPotterTrain

After a couple of pastries and coffees, we were ready for the “Most Beautiful Train Ride in the World”, also known as the “Harry Potter” train ride.  We did not take the steam engine train (and saved a hundred bucks), but our regular-engine train took the same route, over the symbolic bridge, through the floating mountaintops, and into Mallaig.

FerryToSkye
From Mallaig, a windy ferry ride to the other side of the loch, arrival in Armadale.  Bus ride up to Portree, and we arrived– after about twelve hours of transport.  We had a lovely double rainbow (twice that evening) to greet us, which made the bread and huge chunk of cheese and colorful ales taste even better.

The next morning, an early stroll around the harbor to greet all of the fishing boats:

PortreeLittleBigBoat

And then a walk north, out of town, as the beginning of our Trotternish Peninsula tour itinerary for the day. Our first ride was an empty tour bus that dropped us off at Kilt Rock:

IsleOfSkyeKiltRockWaterfall

From there, we hiked back down south along the cliffs- my favourite part of my favourite island of my favourite country.

KiltRockCliff

I mean, seriously, those cliffs, and that sea!

IsleOfSkyeCliffsidePanorama

Then, a couple of rides up and down the peninsula for a scenic drive, before getting the walking sticks out at the Old Man of Storr.

IsleOfSkyeBigStoerLittleAmin

The view from the top of the hike was spectacular, in all directions.

IsleOfSkyeStoerFields

, and

IsleOfSkyeTopofStoer

 

, and

IsleOfSkyeOldManStoerTop

After a day of coastal exploring, we moved ourselves to Portnalong for the next couple of nights.

Portnalong

Now, this was interesting.  I picked the place because I stayed there last year and absolutely loved the bunkhouse.  And I booked it for two nights because I really wanted a day off to relax and do art and drink hot coco.  It’s cozy and in the middle of nowhere, so I thought that it would be perfect, and I was so excited about the day of rest.  Except… that the owner had a no-exceptions Everyone Has To Leave The Property Between 10AM and 4PM rule.  That kind of ruined my plan.  So, thoroughly ticked off and sore, I was kicked out into the grey rain and darker winds.

After hiding in a phone booth for a while, a French couple came to our rescue and gave us a lift to the Fairy Pools.  Definitely a different atmosphere than last year, with the grey clouds.  Very inspirational of Mordor.

IsleOfSkyeFairyPoolsWaterfall
But, miraculously, the skies parted and the sun came out, and we tread forth on a 5-mile hiking path through the mountain peaks.  And it was the most beautiful walk of my life.

IsleOfSkyeFairyPoolOnEdgeofWorld

And, just as the skies were darkening again, we made it back to stone bridges (and, thus, civilization):

IsleOfSkyeGoatBridge

In the evening, another colorful walk, this time among fields of blue bells:

PortnalongShed

In the end, being kicked out was a treat, for I do not think that I would have had the timing that I did, had I left later for the hiking.  If I had left at all.  (Althogh I am still waiting for a full day off!)  After a couple of shots of local whiskey, a generous dinner, and an even more generous breakfast, we began our long journey off the island.  More on that in the next post!

IsleOfSkyeTreeHorizon

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