I have a confession. Every time I start a Travel Tuesday post, I want to start off like that GEICO camel commercial. You know – “Guess what day it is!? Travel Tuuuuesdaaaayyy.” So now you know (smile).
For this week’s linkup with Bonnie, Melanie, and Tina, we’re headed to the Isle of Skye, Scotland. I admit that when planning this trip, Skye was my primary destination. I’ve heard such wonderful things about the island and I’ve seen all of the stunning photos, so how could I not want to go?! So in the adage of saving the best for last, we mapped a very circuitous route around to land on Skye for our last few days in Scotland.
We decided to stay in Portree, as it seemed the most centrally located for where we wanted to go. We booked a room at The Royal Hotel, which seemed to be in a great location for getting in and out of town easily. My brother booked this one, so I’m not sure about the details on that bit. The hotel itself was nice enough – very clean with different eating options on site. I will say that it has no elevator, so careful when packing! The room was also quite small compared to most of the others (with the exception of Edinburgh, which was expected). On-site dining was satisfactory, but not mind-blowing. I wish we’d had more options, but it was clearly the off season and many places were buttoned down for the winter.
Our first stop was St. Columba’s Isle, located in Skeabost near the River Snizort. Although St. Columba is better known for his association with Iona, this was the site on which he founded the cathedral of the bishops of the isles, making it the center of Christianity in the Hebrides from the 10th to 16th centuries. During the reformation, the cathedral and abbey were dismantled and the stone used elsewhere. Now the Isle serves primarily as a burial ground. It’s a bit tricky to find, but well worth a stop if you’ve any interest in religious history or enjoy old cemeteries (as clearly I do). This site has the best directions.
From there we headed over to Uig to see the Fairy Glen and grab lunch. The Fairy Glen is an interesting place. An area of cone shaped hills with interesting rock formations interspersed throughout. Although it also requires some maneuvering to find, it’s well worth taking the time. Maybe you’ll even see some faeries (although all we saw were sheep! – smile).
After lunch, we drove around the northern peninsula stopping along the way to check out a beach, a waterfall, and a few rainbows. All very beautiful of course!! The beach we stopped at was the Staffin Slipway. There was a bit of a pier and dramatic scenery all around – there was even a little seal posing on his rock for the photographers (smile)!
The next day was a bit rainy, so we decided to try some indoor pursuits. We made our way over to the Talisker Distillery for a brief tour and a wee dram. Afterwards we headed out towards Dunvegan, but the castle was closed. We did happen upon a rather scenic cemetery (yes, I do have a thing for them but that’s a whole different post). Up on the hill behind the cemetery, and truthfully the reason we actually stopped, was a standing stone. It doesn’t matter how many you see, when you spot one, you stop. Turns out this one was actually erected by the local community a few years ago to commemorate an event. Slight fail. But the cemetery and church remains were cool, so it wasn’t a total loss (smile).
We did quite a bit more driving around the Isle just stopping at random when we saw something worthwhile (we stopped a lot). We were meant to spend part of a third day, but due to weather and a few other factors, we opted to head out and do some exploring on the mainland on our way back to Edinburgh instead.
You guys, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I didn’t really love Skye as much as I thought I would (and cue gasping…now!). I love Scotland, and it’s not that I disliked Skye, it just wasn’t my favorite spot. Now in fairness, we were clearly very out of season for the island; a great deal of the local merchants and attractions were shutdown for the winter. I fully intend to go back again some day in a different season to give it another go. But overall, it just didn’t give me the same feeling as a lot of other places around the country, and that’s okay. Such things happen, for many reasons, when traveling around. I was just caught a bit off guard I suppose. Of course I cannot fault it’s beauty or the wealth of sites to see; I definitely recommend it if you’re in the area or looking for some amazing photographs!
Come join the fun!!