Hi there, welcome back! 🙂
Let’s start off straight where I stopped in my previous post:
Just for those who are new: Last weekend, I visited the Isle of Skye, currently on the 4th position in the ranking of the world’s most beautiful islands published by National Geographic. Obviously, I had to check whether the high placement was appropriate! And let me tell you: It certainly is.
The island’s Gaelic name is An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, due to the wing-shaped form of the island descirbed by the word Sgitheanach.
Upon our arrival on the island via the Skye Bridge, we stopped in the small settlement of Kyleakin. Even though it is tiny, it’s the third biggest settlement on the island! I find it funny how Singapore, which has a smaller surface than this island, is home to several million people, while there are only around 10,000 living on Skye.
After a short visit of the ruins which are beautifully located on a prominent rock outside the village’s harbour (which is incredibly cute!), we drove to our final destination of the day: Broadford.
In the island’s second largest settlement, we first of all checked into our hostel, that we had completely for ourselves! I even had my own little room, with a beautiful view onto the shore. I couldn’t get over how tiny and cozy the room was, and I really regret staying there for only one night. Due to our tummies grumbling after the long day, we made our way straight to the village’s only Fish’n Chips restaurant, located in the centre of the little harbour. Afterwards, we paid the local supermarket a visit, before heading back to the hostel. I then did a little walk around the village by myself, since I had planned to phone some friends in Germany. However, since it was already dark by that time, I don’t have any pictures of that- but it was incredibly relaxing to stroll through the peaceful streets, where you hardly see anyone.
Since the village’s only pub was closed, we spent the evening in the hostel’s living room playing cards and discovering the different games popular in France, Italy in the US. I live how such evenings are often just as great (or even greater) than a night out in a club!
The next morning, I got up very early, because I wanted to make sure I had a few pictures of the tiny settlement- and I was highly rewarded for abandoning my cozy room so early! The sunrise was amazing, and the guide said he has rarely experienced such a beautiful morning. I kind of got lost in my thoughts while strolling thorugh the quiet streets, and what was supposed to be a 10-minztes photography session turned into a 60-minute walk through the entire village. I am not going to write a lot about it since the pictures speak for themselves:This is the size of the local art “gallery”:But it definitely balances out its small size with the incredible location 🙂
If it wasn’t so lonely, I’d definitely buy one of the houses above- can you imagine waking up in such an atmosphere?!
At 8 am, we left the hostel and made our way to Sunday’s first destination: Sligachan bridge, from where you can enjoy the stunning view onto the Cuillin Mountains, which also constitute the highest point on the island. There is a legend saying that, by dipping your face into the water of river Slichagan for 7 seconds, you will receive eternal beauty and youth. Some of us actually did that- however, I found it far too cold to even touch the icy water with the tiniest bit of my finger. I guess beauty is just not that much of a priority for me 😀
We then stopped at the side of a lonely road in order to do a little hike up onto a rocky mountain. When we started off the walk, the weather was (for Scottish standards) amazing, sunny and not even that foggy. We enjoyed amazing views onto the surrounding scenery. Somehow, it remined me of Namibia’s savanna- it was equally brown and desererted, and I loved it just as much!
Despite the heavy storm that was arising during our hike, we had the opportunity to enjoy the view onto the Sound of Ruasay (sound is just another word for the water between two islands/ the main land and an island). Nevertheles, by the time we had reached the top (and I started feeling as if I was in alpine areas), it had started to rain terribly, and the view onto the prominent rock called “Old Man of Storr” was completely hidden in the fog.
It may not look spectacular, but the wind was so strong, I was actually scared of being blown away! I still felt sort of proud to have mad it to the top, since around half of us did not have enough stamina to complete the hike.
We quickly made our way down the hill back to the coach, since we were already entirely soaked. In the warm bus, we dried quite fast, and I was already completely restored by the time we reached the third destination: The Mealt Fall at Loch Mealt.
The fist thing I noticed when jumping off the bus were the fluffy sheep just next to the viewpoint- having an affinity for all sorts of animals, I naturally had to take a picture- so here is the obligatory picture of Scottish sheep 🙂The cliffs reminded me a little of the cliffs of Moher in Ireland!
Afterwards, we visited another waterfall (you can never see enough of those!): The Lealt Falls.
I also found the first signs of spring. I find it amazing how nature can survive even in the most hostile conditions.
Then, it was already time for lunch, so we headed back to the island’s biggest settlement with the (not so) huge number of 2500 inhabitants : Portree. There, one can find the only college (called Sabhal Mòr Ostaig) where Gaelic is taught!
The town’s name comes from the Gaelic words “Port an Righ”, which means “King’s Port”, originating from a visit of James V in 1540.
We had lunch at a tiny local Fish’n Chips shop, known as one of the best ones in Scotland, and which was pre-warned by our guides several days before our arrival- a wise decision, as I believe they usually don’t even have this many customers in an entire month 😀We ate our food while standing at the pier, accompanied by many (supposedly hungry) seagulls. With full and warm tummies, we decided to use the rest of our time to explore the small village. First, we climed up the hill to a tiny little tower, from wheer we had a stunning view onto the beautiful bay, with all the small fishing boats. It was incredibly idyllic, and I am sure that I will come back in summer jsut to see how it all looks when the nature is greener, and the sun is stronger!
Moreover, I really fell in love with the cute colourful houses of Portree. I can only repeat myself: If the island wasn’t so lonely, I would undoubtedly move there. But knowing myself, I am sure I would get bored out of my mind within the course of only a few weeks. I guess a holiday home would be cool though…Afterwards, it was already time to drive back home to Edinburgh. But since the journey is quite long, we did a stop-over at the Spean Bridge Mill, a shop and restaurant located next to an ancient mill. Not only did they offer the cutest (and most delicious!) cupcakes, but there was also a tiny store selling handmade soaps and bath bombs. Make sure to stop and have a look when driving by!
Overall, it was an amazing weekend, and it was surely by far to short to do the island justice! I need to come back as soon as possible, and now, I really cannot wait for summer to start so I can discover the island in its full blossom!