Isle of Skye. How can I even begin to describe what the place was like?
When you look at photos of Skye, you normally see grey skies and moody, magical fog drooping over the island’s fascinating geological forms. That was what we expected to find when we were driving north with R to see the place, but instead, as we woke up to a new day in our accommodation after the previous day’s long drive, we found clear blue skies and hot sunshine. I daresay that particular day we’d picked for exploring Skye was one of the most beautiful ones the island had ever seen. Even though it would have been nice to see Skye dressed in its more traditional weather, we were pretty lucky that the island happened to be showing off some of its more unusual beauty during our trip. And, let’s face it – who wouldn’t be bursting with happiness with views like this?
Our plan for our day in Skye was to explore the northern parts of the island first, since our accommodation (Madeleine and Godfrey’s wonderful countryhouse) was situated perfectly on the drive towards some of the main attractions. As our first destination, we set out to find Uig and the mystical Fairy Glen.
We soon realized that there was no 4G, 3G or even cellular service almost anywhere, so instead of a digital navigator we had to rely on a not-so-detailed little physical map of Skye we found on the back of a visitor’s brochure we’d picked up earlier on. It was kind of exciting just driving around, not entirely knowing where we were headed (that’s something that doesn’t happen too often in the networked world we live in!). Fortunately, all the attractions we wanted to see were pretty easy to find, as there’s not that many roads on Skye – as long as you know you’re headed in the right direction, it’s pretty hard not to stumble upon the most famous sites. That’s what happened to us when we were looking for Fairy Glen; our map lead us to a little parking spot, and we had no idea how far the place would be by foot. We just started walking towards what looked like the right kind of terrain, and suddenly, the little stone spirals familiar from photos were visible below us.
Yup. Just look at that. The fun, bumpy landscape, the inexplicable spirals, that little rock tower – no wonder it’s called the Fairy Glen. I haven’t been able to find proper information on the spirals’ origins – apparently, some of the smaller ones are created by tourists and considered by locals to be vandalism, but the bigger ones are more permanent and maintained by someone. Isle of Skye is rich with fairy folklore, and some believe this little place to be a fairy dwelling, created by them. It’s certainly not hard to reach some sense of magic when sitting on the hills and looking upon the scene.
And, of course, we had to climb that interesting little rock tower known as Castle Ewan.
From Fairy Glen, we continued our way up north. Driving in Skye is a bit intimidating: you’re driving on the left just like everywhere else in Britain, but in addition to that, the roads are narrow and you wouldn’t be able to fit two cars side by side. Whenever you see a car approaching ahead, you need to find a passing place to let your neighbour through. Tip: always wave when meeting another car on the road!
As if the narrow roads weren’t enough, the island is crowded with sheep. They’re pretty lazy and probably won’t jump in your way, but you should slow down each time you see one all the same. (And why wouldn’t you, since they’re so darn cute?)
However intimidating the driving may be, it’s also equally uplifting. Because after a turn, you might be looking at a view like this.
Oh, the Quiraing. An Isle of Skye classic, one that you see in photos of every trip ever made to Skye, and for good reasons. I fell completely in love with the place. There’s just no words to describe what it felt like to stand there, with the sun on our faces, fresh air in our lungs, the sea visible in the distance and a hang glider with a red parachute in the sky to make it all look ridiculously picturesque. I’ve actually been painting the view with oils lately – perhaps I’ll post a photo later!
From the Quiraing, we made our way south towards new adventures, but I’ll have to save those for another post since this one has already reached its visual peak. Coming up: Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls, Old Man of Storr, Portree and Fairy Pools!