Okay, you ready for this??
After quite literally months of anticipation, a whole two hours of planning and just 5/6 hours sleep at 11am on Sunday 7th my friend Stef and I left the granite city for a week on the beautiful Isle of Skye!!
The drive up was pretty uneventful – Stef stayed awake all the way to Keith, far better than my estimation of Inverurie, and then I was on my own until Inverness where we stopped for some shopping. We made it to Kilmuir, in the very North of Skye where we were staying, just in time for the evening service which was lovely after a long day travelling and quite a contrast to Frenzy the day before. I have to be honest though, and say that I probably preferred the small service of maybe thirty people in a building nearly 100 years old to the gathering of 7000 or so the day before.
On our first day we went to Dunvegan Castle, the stronghold of the Chiefs of the MacLeod Clan for nearly eight hundred years! We took a small boat out on to the loch to see the resident seals and then had a look around the castle before taking a walk through the gardens.
That evening we took a walk up the road, further towards the most northerly tip of the Island and climbed a wee hill (not even a molehill in comparison to most of the mountains on Skye) to watch the sunset over Harris in the distance – at least I think it’s Harris, Hector can correct me! It was really quite something. I can’t understand how people think that a world as beautiful as ours can happen by accident.
The next day we took a boat from Elgol to Loch Coruisk – an isolated loch, surrounded by the Cuillin mountains and inaccessible except by boat or foot. With three hours to spend ashore Stef was determined we were going to walk all the way round it and did a great job of ensuring I made it. I was very grateful that she was there to chivvy me along – I would probably have gone for the shorter trip and just pottered about at the mouth of the river if it hadn’t been for her and the views were most definitely worth the walk! There were some precarious moments through bogs, over boulders, when Stef attempted to climb a very large rock, and I was never certain that we’d make it back in time for our boat home but sure enough we made it in plenty of time and in good health. My day was absolutely made when we got back on the boat and were offered a cup of tea and a piece of shortbread – some of us are very easily pleased!
On Wednesday we went to the Museum of Island Life – a little glimpse into the history of the Island and particularly life on the crofts over the past two hundred years – and then spent some time in Portree visiting all the little shops full of lovely things before heading home, where I hada nap and Stef cooked the roast for dinner!!
On Thursday we went to Talisker Distillery and each had our first dram. It burned is all I’m saying!! We went on a tour around the distillery and saw how it all works, giving me time to sober up (yes it was necessary – alcohol really does have that much affect on me!) before we spent the afternoon driving around Waternish (North West part of the Isand) from one craft shop/ visitor attraction to another. Stef bought some wool at Shilasdair where we saw how they dye their own wool and then we went to Skyeskyns and learned how they still tan the skins in the traditional way. Going into their showroom was perhaps a mistake however, because I walked out with something that looks like this:
Except, mine is more beautiful! I really wrestled with myself about it – and still feel a little guilty – but I needed a souveneir and what better to remind myself about Skye than a sheepskin!!
We had a bit of a lazy day at the cottage on Friday before Stef’s big day running the Isle of Skye Half Marathon on Saturday. She did really well and made us all very proud though I believe moving is now proving somewhat difficult!
On Saturday night, Stef’s parents took us to the very prestigious Three Chimneys restaurant. I have never been and probably will never go to a restaurant nearly as posh again – we had pre-starters and pre-desserts!! I spent most of the night in a state of complete shock at the sheer amazingness of it all – the setting, the building, the service, the food – it was all impeccably fabulous! My parents had always spoken of it like something that was far beyond our means, something I could hope to experience one day, far in the future if I saved up for a month or so, so to actually be sitting there experiencing it was really quite cool.
Then, unfortunately it came time to return home.
Well done if you got through that but I’m afraid there’s more to come . . .