17 June 2015

Exploring the Isle of Skye

Prepare for the travel post of a lifetime and by that I mean it took me a lifetime to narrow down the number of photos to include in this post to the minuscule number of 30. I've read so many how to blog successfully posts I could sit an exam on it and pass with flying colours, but putting it into practice is something else entirely. For example some bloggers say posting more than 5 photos per post is a travesty, and your blog will break into a thousand pieces and no one will love you...rule broken my friend. I could have broken this rule in this post a hundred times. There's plenty of photos I haven't included like these kissing peacocks, the weary cow and, my favourite, the creature from the deep. More of them on my instagram.

So yeah, I'm pretty proud of myself, I always struggle to narrow it down (particularly with packing clothes in a suitcase) but I did it. And it was a cracking holiday. We were in the Isle of Skye, in Scotland, and it was sunny. For the whole week, we didn't have one patch of rain, it was glorious. We went to stay with Dan's (my long term man associate) aunt and uncle for a week, and I was thoroughly unprepared for the great weather. I'd packed multiple layers guys, none of them skimpy. 

We did so much during this holiday, but my favourite day was probably when we went to Talisker Bay. The beach is made up of black and white sand, which forms the most beautiful ombre patterns. The geology in Skye is so rich and it's what makes this area unique. Dan's aunt is a huge geology buff, and told us that people go crystal hunting round the bay. Keen to make a name for ourselves as crystal hunters, we set off in search of crystal (the non-hallucinogenic kind). Lucky for us we did find some and we're now just waiting for our invites to the Royal Geology Society. I hope they come soon.   

We did a fair amount of mussel foraging and found some massive oysters but unfortunately or fortunately we didn't have a shucking knife so the oysters went back out to sea. The mussels weren't as lucky. We went to Staffin beach, the home of dinosaurs, in search of the famed dinosaur footprints but they eluded us. We did see some suspicious looking footprints at Talisker Bay though and tracked them down to a group of peacocks. Not your usual beach bird

On the second day of the holiday we found out Dan's uncle is a liar. Or at least a white liar. A walk described as quite easy going and mostly flat to the Black Cuillin turned out to be a steep hill followed by scrambling up next to a waterfall and then a scree slope to the top. If you don't know what a scree slope is it's an almost vertical climb that when you get to the top looks like sudden death. We called this deception Skye Flat. 

The reason why I love the Isle of Skye, is for its extreme different types of beauty. There's the ominous dark mountains of The Black Cuillin overlooking the calm sea and a heathland full of heather. Opposite the Black Cuillin lie the Red Cuillin, which are not as hilly, red and look considerably less like Mount Doom. It's a beautiful, if Skye Flat, hike to the top peaks, but the view is so rewarding...if you make it up there alive. 


Disclosure: the sea eagle shot above is not mine. It's Dan's uncles, I didn't have my camera at the time of going on holiday so I shot all my photos on my phone, no shame in that, but I wouldn't have been able to capture it. We went on a boat trip with Stephen who runs Wild Skye and it was awesome. We saw so much! A sea eagle attacked a seagull for taking a fish, there were families of porpoises, gannets, cormorants, seals and an otter. Dan was having a whale of a time! Its not a pun because we didn't see any whales...that day. 

We also took a trip to Portree, a small fishing town that looks like its come out of a children's TV program with all of its little coloured houses like these ones. I think it's actually one of the biggest towns on the Isle of Skye though so sorry for offending any Skye People by calling it small. What I really meant was it's colossal, Skye Colossal. Stop me when this is getting old.  

Although we popped by Staffin in search of dinosaurs, we were actually on our way to walk up the Quiraing. There's loads of interesting rock formations round there like the Prison which you can walk round, the table which sticks out over the sea seriously high up (we're talking multiple hundreds of ft) and the Old Man of Storr. It's very rugged coast line meets Jurassic Park valley minus the Gallimimus'. Which, can I just say I am so excited for JP4 aka Jurassic World aka the film of my decade (first decade film was JP, duh!).

On the day before we left we saw a minke whale hunting for food off the coast of Rubha Hunish. This was the best walk of the holiday and unfortunately I've lost almost all my photos of this day, save a couple on instagram. For ravaged coast line, wildlife and really clear water that was almost turquoise, it has to be a must visit if you go to the Isle of Skye. The climb down to the shore is difficult, but it's so worth it. I could have sat in the little cove above for hours, listening to the water come in was musical. It sounds like I'm being a bit pompous, but it really was. More relaxing than any spa I've been to. 

Finally, I couldn't leave food out of this post. The Scots are famed for many foods, but my everyday favourite has to be the  humble raspberry. We had several punnets of yellow raspberries for breakfast while we were there from Dan's aunt and uncle's garden, which grew right at the bottom next to our neighbours, the cows and sheep. They were a rowdy bunch, never kept it down. 

We ate a lot of seafood, and Dan's aunt is a great cook so didn't dine out much but on the one occasion we did, we went to The Old Inn in Carbost, and had the best langoustines smothered in garlic butter, and classic fish and chips. Sorry veggies, I eat vegetarian most of the time but when faced with excellent seafood it's hard to resist...especially when it's staring at you.

Have you ever been to the Isle of Skye, if so do you have any recommendations for next time I go? And is anyone else as excited for JP4 as I am? Should I stop calling it JP4?

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