Summer in Skye
We happened upon a Highland miracle on the Isle of Skye. We enjoyed four solid days of golden sunshine, one day which did not know what it wanted to be, and two days of misty moodiness accompanied with lashings of rain. As my brother-in-law said, the latter two days added the layer of character we expected from our Scottish jaunt. The warm sun was almost too incongruous with our preconceived ideas of hot toddies with whiskies and our stash of woollen jerseys in the boot. Almost.
The isle of Skye was a delight. We arrived at our destination after a six hour tiki tour up from Glasgow airport, passing the famed Loch Lomond and Eileen Donan Castle. The entire drive is as pretty as a postcard. Thank you to my wonderful father-in-law for making a few photo stops along the way. I have never been more content with my face glued up against the car window as I have been on this road-trip.
A quick grocery stop in Portree alerted us to our flat tire which led us to become quickly acquainted with the midges. Midges hang out en swarm, and hold the world’s title of Most Annoying Thing Ever. They definitely will not ruin your trip to Scotland in the summertime, but if you are out and about at sun-up or sun-down, be sure to have long sleeves on to minimize their indulgence of your DNA. Luckily for us, the sky at 9pm is still light as day, and we trundled along sheep lined lanes to our alluring little cottage in the teeny tiny cluster of Colbost.
Sunscreen was de rigeur for our week away and my one skirt got out a lot. On our warmest day in Skye we trekked out to Coral Beach, the most unexpected strip of white sand you ever did see anywhere in this world. Sammy and I waded in ankle deep, the icy-cold water prompting him to declare he’d gone in quite far enough to herald in his thirtieth birthday (one of the many reasons for our en famille adventure).
Our busiest and most memorable day of adventure got off to a flying start with a boat ride to see puffins. My gorgeous mother-in-law was a bundle of excitement as soon as she woke up, puffin sighting long having been resident on her bucket list. Our tour with SkyeXplorer was very pleasant, and at £20 per person we were incredibly chuffed with finding Andy and his boat. We spent the better part of an hour and a half circling outer islands off the coast of Uig, being treated to flocks of puffins flying overhead over and over again. Top tip: take binoculars - they are little birds. We also spied swarthy, ginormous seals, looking perplexingly comfortable sunbathing on jagged black rock. Andy informed us the largest seal was named Sammy, which only added to the banter surrounding our Sammy’s milestone birthday.
Having driven over to Uig, about an hour away from our cottage, we continued on to the Quailing region for its spectacular views and its hiking. We didn’t venture as far along as most walkers as the track is a little steep in parts, but we did have a mini picnic a few hundred metres along the walk to lap up the views. We hugged the east coast of the Trotternish peninsula back down to Portree, passing Kilt Rock where we were treated to a show from a passing pod of dolphins and an entrepreneurial, increasingly wealthy, bagpipe player. Have fun trying to say the place names as you drive - Loch Snizort Beag is best said in the manner of auditioning for the part of a wizard at Hogwarts.
Other highlights of our trip included the magnificent Dunvegan Castle. Definitely head inside for a quick look-see. The castle has been in the hands of the McLeod clan for over 800 years, and as their still-used residence, it is beautifully furnished with a pleasing mix of old and new. A hike up to the unmissable views of Neist Point during the two-hour sunset was a great way to work up an appetite one evening. With crumbling stone walls and black basalt columns, I felt as if I had seen Hadrian’s Wall and the Giant’s Causeway in one outing. Bingo! Skye is also full of cottage industries, with many locals creating stunning Harris tweed goods. My mother-in-law came away with a covetable chartreuse clutch purse from a woman who had recently turned down a listing request from a Manhattan-based department store. Definitely save room in your luggage for some local goodies - we picked up a heavenly soft merino sheepskin for bubba’s room (which was quite useful for protecting the bottle of Scotch whisky on the way home!)
Skye is a charming destination not to be missed. It’s a fair effort to get there, so make sure you stay for at least a few days to drink it all in. Thenk-ye, Skye, for being the perfect place to see in Sammy’s 30th.
With Love, Kate
(P.S see what we ate in Skye here)