Isle of Skye

I have no idea how many miles we’ve driven or paths we’ve walked in the past two days in our explorations on the Isle of Skye, but I can certainly say that none of it has been dull!  Single track roads, sheep roadblocks, muddy boots, wind burned cheeks, rain drops and sunshine, we’ve had it all.  The island is much bigger and much more impressive than we imagined; about 50 miles from end to end, but about 400 miles of shoreline with all its twists and turns.  There are massive cliffs, sea arches, tidal flats, heather covered hills, waterfalls, and caves.

Stunning vistas

Stunning vistas (and I just found the panorama setting!! )

In addition to all the geological treasures, history abounds from prehistoric times to recent centuries.  We walked through an 800 year old castle, some iron age brochs, which are basically hollow walled structures that no one can agree as to their use, and checked out the souterrains, which are long underground storage passages also from the iron age.  I think the brochs are amazing because they are rocks that are laid perfectly and without mortar so that the rocks fit together to make a strong wall that has lasted for literally 1,000’s of years!

The landscape on Skye lends itself to magic and legend, history and struggle.  Looking into the protected bays or at the ruin of an ancient castle, you can just imagine a Viking long boat rowing in, or the Scottish chiefs fighting a battle to keep their lands intact.  The land is a reminder of Clan feuds, battles for independence, and simply the effort to stay alive in a harsh place.  At every turn there is a different type of beauty;  stark or gentle, peaceful or dramatic.

After two days of awe-inspiring scenery, walks hither and yon, climbing up rocks and slipping down muddy trails, we found ourselves in a gathering – a céilidh!  This is something I have dearly wanted to find and it was all that I’d hoped.  We sat down at the bar of a small pub that was part of a B&B, and pretty soon people started wandering in with instruments under their arm.  And soon, we heard it – the pull of a bow against a fiddle, the strum of a guitar, the plucking of a  mandolin, the tapping of a bodhran (a hand-held frame drum).  We both looked at each other with grins a mile wide and chills running up our arms.  It was magical.  So casual, so friendly, so full of life!  People would come and go, and even kids would join in occasionally.  At one point there were 4 fiddles, a couple of guitars, a mandolin, a couple of drums, a small accordion and even a bag pipe solo by a young boy!  Even though some of the musicians obviously hadn’t met, they played together beautifully and you could see them talking to each other as they played, helping to direct the song or add phrasing.  A céilidh!  A moment I’ll never forget.

We soaked up the music and enjoyed sharing stories with the locals for a couple of hours, then drove back through a misty rain to our B&B in Uig.  What a treat this island has been – definitely on our list of places to return to some day!

 

3 thoughts on “Isle of Skye

  1. A céilidh! Oh my gosh, I know just how you felt. We enjoyed the same fantastical moment in Stirling at a place with an equally fantastical name: Whistlebinkies! It was a highlight on my top 5 moments in Scotland and it sounds like it might rank up there for you too. It was so interesting how, as you said, some of the people did not know each other but fell into a seamless single voice because of their love of the music and love of their Country. Most of what we heard sounded like Robert Burns’ poetry and we were mightily impressed with how revered he is even in modern day Scotland.

    I’m drawn into the richness of your photos. It’s easy to see how Scotland’s poets can write so beautifully about the land. I almost felt like jotting down a few words myself. Ha! The greens are breathtaking. Seeing the heather is a treat as it was gone when we were there. The scenery goes on forever and I know that there is so much more outside the frame of the pictures. I doubt that anyone can capture it all, but you sure made an attempt! I totally get a sense of the magnitude of it all. Doesn’t it crack you up how there are red phone booths in the middle of no where? Maybe it’s for the tourist enjoyment (tongue in cheek!) and they are a nice shot of red in an otherwise green, green world.

    How lucky for us that you were able to sneak up on and photograph the elusive Wellisaur. Amazing luck/timing and definitely one of the more beautiful ‘saurs I’ve ever seen Bravo!

    As usual, you gave us an enchanting narrative. Someday when you are floating off Panama or other exotic location you can go back and read the whole blog and experience what we’ve enjoyed. Perhaps, as you ‘drip’ with humidity you will remember the cool mists of the moors on your cheeks and be transported back to a place that spoke to your soul.

    Travel safe,
    Cindy

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  2. Looks like a little slice of heaven – probably why the name 🙂
    Love the red phone booth in the middle of nowhere. You shoulda called me.
    Your trip has been extraordinary! Thanks for your daily stories that read like and great book – I’m always so anxious for the next chapter. Still waiting to see Marty in a kilt.
    Enjoy every minute! And couldn’t you just listen to that accent forever!!
    Corinne. Xox

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