Scotland – The Isle of Skye

Near the end of my year in the UK, Laura and I took a week off to make a trip to Scotland, more specifically the Isle of Skye, followed by a short stop in Glasgow.

Though it often rained at night, we stayed dry for a full week except for one day of showers. Quite an achievement in Scotland! We were both very impressed with the landscape on Skye, but were a bit dissapointed that much travel was car dependent – somewhat like Norway from my earlier trips this year.

Our trip began with an overnight train journey from London to Inverness, where we spent a few hours looking around the town. Next we took a bus which took us past Loch Ness (sorry, no aquatic monster photos) and west toward the isle of Skye and it’s biggest town – Portree.

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Not a bad view on the first night of the trip.

From Portree we took a long hike north to the old man of Storr and back to our campsite again.

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Laura admiring the view.

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And what a view it was.

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Looking south along the coast.

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A sailboat below for scale.

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We also saw a pod of dolphins, but they were too far away to take a good picture.

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The Old Man of Storr.

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Heading back to Portree.

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The Old Man dissapears in the distance.

Instead of hiking to the Old Man and back along the same path, we made a loop inland which made for a very long day and which took us through some boggy land where we were attacked by midges.

For my North American readers, the midge is not to be underestimated. I thought I was a tough outdoorsman immune to mosquitoes, blackflies and horseflies. The midge is an entirely different beast. The Scottish midge is essentially a Canadian “no-see-um” on steroids. They attack in hordes like mosquitoes, they can hardly be seen, yet their bites can be as itchy and swolen as a black fly bite.

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Trying to escape from the midges.

On the third morning of our trip we packed up camp and took a bus around the Trotternish peninsula and then hiked overland from Staffin to Uig. We made quicker progress than we expected and Uig turned out to have less to do than we expected. We hopped on another bus and made our way south to Sligachan.

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Wonderful view from the Sligachan campsite.

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Heading into the Cuillin hills.

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Somewhat Icelandic landscape.

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Crossing a saddle.

On our first full day in Sligachan we hiked to the Fairy Pools. We approached them from the back (from the NE) and saw no one for most of the morning. The pools themselves are a bit of a tourist trap – close to the road, overcrowded and the car parks are often chock full.

That evening we had planned to eat at our campsite, but the breeze died so we had to ascend 300m up a local peak to escape the midges again. Overall we only had trouble with midges about three times during our week in Scotland, we gather that it could have been much worse!

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Fairy pools.

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Happy to be leaving the crowds behind.

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The Sligachan hotel across from our campsite.

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We spent three nights enjoying the live music and Scotch whisky at the Sligachan Hotel -a real scene!

On our last day on Skype the weather did not dissapoint and we made a long hike from Sligachan to the Loch Coruisk area. Again we saw almost no one on the hike, though at the far end boat tours do bring people to admire the area. Nevertheless we had no trouble finding a small cove to swim in all to ourselves.

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Back into the hills.

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A beautiful day.

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We were really there!

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Loch Coruisk.

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Boats coming in from the sea.

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Our swimming cove. *water may not be as warm as it appears*

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Such clear, and icy cold, water!

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Motorcycle touring (not us).

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Our last night in Sligachan.

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