Last (longer) trip of the year – SKYE

On the Storr

I could not end my first year living in Scotland and not been to my favourite island. Skye will always be a special place to me. I love Glen Coe – everyone should know that by now haha. I discovered a love for Glen Lyon as well this year – a valley that hardly gets the recognition it deserves. But Skye is like a magic place – like leaving the real world behind you. It is no surprise that it draws so many people every year and Hollywood using its hot spots as filming locations.

I will be going to Germany for 2 weeks by the end of November and then again over Christmas and New Year so I did not have much time left to go – and not many holidays lol. I thought it was a little risky to book a trip at the beginning of November, as you never know how the weather turns out and obviously the days are getting shorter and shorter now. But I have been at the end of March in 2017 and it was fine back then, so I thought it cannot get too bad. And I was right. I was extremely lucky with the weather and it was just so nice that it was not as crowded as it in summer. I was once in August – in 2016 – and it was crowded then but I know nowadays it is even worth because tourism in Scotland seems to have increased exponentially.

Quiraing

I left Friday afternoon after work – worst time to get out of Edinburgh… Took me an hour to get over the Forth bridge. And then it was raining the whole time. And when it is cloudy, it is dark in this country – proper dark! 😀 When I went onto the A86 towards Spean Bridge I was just hoping there was no axe murderer jumping out the bushes. It was the worst drive I had in a while. Proper tiring. Passed 2 accidents on the way. One in the road works near Perth and one on the A86 where a car was hanging in the roadside ditches and police was trying to pull it out the bushes. I booked an AirBnB outside Fort William in Torlundy. Was proper idiotic of me. It was in the middle of nowhere and hard to find in the dark. Took me half an hour to find it. And then it was a very odd one, too. The whole house looked thrown together outside and inside. And it was dark! No lamppost or anything outside. If I was living there – I’d sh*t myself if people banged at my door at night time. It definitely was one of the weirdest AirBnBs I stayed at. I didn’t meet the host, just her maybe 12 year old son who was home alone.

Eilean Donan Castle

I didn’t even have breakfast there the next morning – she had some toast and cereals provided to use. I went into Fort William and had breakfast at McDonald’s :D. Fueled up my car at Morrion’s – which is always the cheapest and made my way up to Skye.

The weather unfortunately was not great at all. Drizzle the whole way. It got dryer though the closer I got to Skye. I also stopped at Eilean Donan Castle – obviously a must when you are driving up to Skye 😉 It was the first time I have seen it that you could go to the Castle without actually paying before going over the bridge. But I did not go, as too many people around. And there was also a wedding to take place later so the Castle itself was closed anyways.

Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock

Check-in to my B&B in Portree was only from 2 pm so I went up to the Trotternish. I visited Lealt Falls, Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock. I was pretty tired when I checked in later in the afternoon and it was about to get dark anyways, so I just chilled before I went for dinner at the Isles Inn. I had chicken stuffed with Haggis, wrapped in bacon with Whiskey sauce on mashed potatoes with – I think it was kale, which was pretty hard… All in all it was ok.

On Sunday I went up the Storr. I left right after breakfast and was at the car park at 9.15 am. First time I had to pay for it. That was not case the year before. I am ok with paying for it, if they take care of the infrastructure for the amounts of people coming to the Storr every summer now. They can at least also build a public toilet now then…

The Storr

The light was great that morning. The sun rays through the clouds looked magical. If I am honest, I always hate the way up the Storr 😀 And this time I was not even as slow as I used to be, but still quite slow. I stopped quite a bit, also to admire the views which were amazing with the sun and clouds. I also had a little chat with an English photographer whose mates made it up to the top for sunrise. But he was not fit enough to do that, so he was left behind… I bet he still had an amazing view on the rising sun. I would love to go up for a sunrise one day – but not alone and also when I am more secure in hiking hills… At least to go to the very top.

View on Trotternish Ridge

They have definitely improved the path – at least until the 2nd gate. It used to be much muddier. It looks like they had dug a drain. I guess when it has rained a lot it is still a mudslinging though… The path up the Storr and the Needle and the Table is still rough though. And I honestly do not understand how people can go up there in sneakers, chucks or normal street boots that have no grip. I slipped on the muddy surface in the past with hiking boots. And it’s rocky and sometimes difficult to find your way through without stumbling. At least if you are not experienced. I am a bit surprised actually that there are not more accidents happening up there with tourists. However, when you google “accidents on the Old man of Storr” you do find a range of incidents. Mainly broken legs…

This has been my 5th time going up the Storr but only the 2nd time I went onto the Table. I had picked a great day to be up there. It was magical.

On the “Table” at the Storr

After I made it down again in one piece I drove on to the car park at the Quiraing. Again – costs you at least 3 pounds now. I did not walk far on the path. There is one bit where you have to cross a gorge and I’m still too scared… I turned around at that point 2016, too. Maybe one day if I am not alone up there I manage…

It was bloody windy up there and I did not stay too long to be honest. I got a very tasty soup at a food truck at the car park and had that in my car. Then followed the road through the Quiraing down to Uig. By this time it was already late afternoon anyways and I drove back to Portree then to relax for a bit before dinner. This time I went to The Portree – Antlers Bar and Grill. And I had a pretty good burger!

Monday I drove down to Elgol. I spend some time at Loch Slapin as well and actually wanted to hike to Loch na Sguabaidh but I missed the parking slot for where you start the walk haha. It was beautiful down at Elgol. You have great view across the sea onto the Cuillins. The last two times I have been down there I took a boat to Loch Coruisk but they stop the crossing end of October. This time I went around the cliff for the first time. The blue of the sea and the sun on the Cuillins was a great view. It is just so peaceful and relaxing down there.

Elgol

On my way back I also stopped at church ruin with a graveyard around. It looked pretty mystic in the light of the sun through the clouds. Unfortunately I could not really capture that with my phone. I also did not get the angle right for the light.

Back at Broadford I made the decision to drive up to Carbost and have Lunch at the Oyster Shed. I had seen a flyer of it at my B&B and had read about it before somewhere. I stopped at the Talisker distillery for a picture. I really really do not like whisky. I don’t like the burning in my throat :D. But I do love the lovely distilleries everywhere and the bottles mostly look very nice, too. It was quite busy at the Oyster Shed. I had 5 Scallops with chips. The chips were nice – the Scallops honestly tasted of nothing. Not sure if that is just me though or if there is just way too much fuss about them. I did not dare to try an oyster… I just can’t get over their texture. The view across Loch Harport at the Cuillins in the far is pretty nice though.

After that I was pretty stuffed and thought of where to go for a proper walk as I had not moved much the day yet. When you drive to Carbost you pass the junction down to Glenbrittle so I spontaneously drove down there to walk up the Fairy Pools. I am pretty glad I did that. It was already after 2.30pm when I arrived and the sun was pretty low already. It cost me another 5 pounds to park. At least it is a decent car park now and they have put up bollards along the sides of the road so people cannot park there anymore. But still no public toilet :p. I was surprised there were still quite a few people at this time of the day and this time of the year.

Fairy Pools

Last time I have been was also on my trip in 2016. I went there very early in the morning and it got busy quickly and you could not really take pictures without having people in them climbing around on the rocks or bathing in the pools. So that was much better now even though there were some idiots taking forever to get their selfies right. And also 2 professional looking photographers 😉 They were probably more annoyed than me, but they were in my pictures as well haha :D.

I am very glad the Cuillins were not covered in fog for a change and the water still looked lovely turquoise. I then stood on one of the rocks myself from where you can look down into the water directly. And when I wanted to go back my legs actually froze and I got really shaky. This is why I try not to do anything too risky when out alone as I get panic attacks and afraid of heights sometimes. But I managed to get back on the path alright. I spent quite some time along the river before I headed back. The sun was almost behind the hills then anyways.

And then, one metre away from the main road I went too far to the left of the path and my left foot slid of the edge and I was on my knees… So I did fall. Just not at a dangerous spot but on a normal path… Clumsy me. Luckily I only hurt my right hand and knee a little bit but it did not even bleed. It did hurt though walking the last bit to my car :D.

I then made the decision to follow the road further down to Glenbrittle. I couldn’t leave Skye without seeing a sunset. I did not know what to expect as I have never been down there. But the sign that “beach” so I thought it can’t be too bad down there. That was the best decision I made on my whole trip up to Skye.

Cuillins

I saw a beautiful fiery sky over the black sands of Glenbrittle beach and more amazingly red glowing Cuillins in the evening sun. It looked unreal! But it was blood windy and cold… Even though my new Trespass jacket kept me pretty warm it was just not very nice to stand in the ice cold wind despite magnificent views.

Since I had a big lunch I did not go out for dinner that day. Just ate some of my travel sweets lol. Yeah I know not the most nutritious meal…

The next morning I had to leave Skye on a beautiful sunny day. I had a pretty amazing drive back through Glen Shiel, along Loch Cluanie and Glen Coe. As it is quite a drive I stopped a lot along the way. Obviously of course at the Buachaille Etive Mor and I had lunch again at the Broch in Strathyre. I love that little café.

I arrived in Edinburgh shortly after 4pm in the afternoon. Which was not too bad considering the amounts of stops I did.

I had a pretty amazing trip to Skye and cannot wait to go again next year :D.

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