The Itinerary

The Itinerary

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 13 - Isle of Skye

Wednesday, May 13, Day 99 - Isle of Skye 

Dick promised to get up at sunrise, which is about 5:20AM here just south of the North Pole, and, if the sun was truly out, go and take pictures of Mealt Waterfall and Kilt Rock. Hoping to be able to roll over for another hour or two of sleep, he is disappointed (not really) to find the sun shining brightly at 5:30AM. So, dressed warmly, he drives the two miles to the overlook and is the only one there at this time of the morning other than a camper van that spent the night. He gets his photos and heads back to the house for coffee. No chance of going back to sleep now!

Carolyn rolls out at about 9AM and fixes breakfast and a picnic. It is shaping up to be a nice day for our outing.

Our day trip starts about 10:45AM as we head south for a first stop back at yesterday’s craft market in Portree and a visit to the local bakery. Today all the little fishing boats are already out for the day.  The bakery, is sold out of Danish but Carolyn buys some pastry filled with bacon to try for tomorrow. As we are leaving half the high school kids in town line up at the door. We bet the shop will be cleaned out quickly. Dick gets the last of the cash we need for our rented cottage and then we go to the craft market where Carolyn buys two finely done, mohair wool sculpted elves (Elf on a Shelf German style) for more money than we will discuss here. Carolyn says one is an elf and one is a woodland fairy!?  Only she can tell!

That done, we head south out of Portree, on A87 to pick up A863 west over to Bracadale, Dunvegan and Dunvegan Castle, the home of Clan MacLeod. Outside of Bracadale we stop for a view of Dun Beaq Broch ("little fort") while we eat our lunch. It is a round stone structure on a rocky outcrop. It is one of 500 brochs to be found in the north and west of Scotland. They were all built in the last centuries BC and the first century AD. It is remarkably well preserved and up to about 1.5 meters in height. It would have been as much as 12 meters high originally and roofed over with wood and thatch.

On down the road we stop for a beautiful view out the loch.  Dick turns and looks up hill as Carolyn is taking a picture of the loch and sees a man herding his sheep the old fashion way. Mostly we have seen men on four-wheelers doing this task. We watch while he and two dogs herd the sheep into a pen. Dick walks over and tells the man how much we enjoyed watching his dogs work which seems to please him a great deal.

We have not done too many castles and want to see one or two of the best and Dunvegan Castle qualifies. The Chiefs of Clan MacLeod have lived here, except for the 80 years after the 1847 potato famine, for eight hundred years. As usual, mores the pity, most rooms have a photos are prohibited sign in them and there are docents in the rooms to enforce this prohibition. Family artifacts are everywhere and we both enjoy the walk through very much. We do get some photos and some of the grounds before and after the tour.

Outside of the village of Dunvegan we stop at one of the many church ruins on the island. This one is where the last eight or nine MacLeod Chiefs are buried. The grass is new mowed and the sunshine is warm. It smells like Spring! We follow A850 back to A87 on the west side of the island and reverse our trip of yesterday in hopes of pictures on this first really clear day of our visit to Skye.

We stop for pictures frequently and also explore the Kilvaxter Souterrain a mile south of the Skye Museum of Island Life we visited yesterday. It is now 4PM or so and even with a bright sun out the wind is cold. It is the coldest 50 degrees we have felt in a long while!  A souterrain is an underground, stone-lined tunnel associated with Iron Age settlements and was probably used to store perishable foods; sort of like a well house or root cellar. This one was discovered in 2000 by the land owner and has been opened to the public after professional excavation. It is 17 meters long and curves in a shallow "S" shape. It is only 0.75 meters wide and head room is only 1.5 meters. You are allowed to go in but since the experience has been described as "confined", "cramped", "dark", and "dirty" we decide to take photos of the entrance and trace the chamber above ground by the white wooden stakes that mark its route. Next to the tunnel is a somewhat sunken, domed area that was the under ground home of the family who owned he tunnel. They think it was home to a family of two grandparents, the parents and 6 children from what was found during the dig.

On around the north end of the peninsula, fighting the one lane road again, we stop for pictures of the Duntulm Castle from both sides. Hopefully we got a better picture this time.

Closer to home, it is now pushing 7PM, we take more pictures of this beautiful island in the later afternoon light. Then we make a quick stop at the local café/bar (the little grocery next door had closed) for two bottles of Coke at 1.65GBP each! Beggars have no room to haggle!

Back at the house, we fix dinner and watch night come on ever so slowly. It is quite clear and we can see a lighthouse flashing way over on the mainland north of Red Point. Carolyn goes to bed at 11:30 and looks out after she turns out the lights. There is a red-orange glow on the northwestern horizon from the sun. It won’t be long before the sun just hangs around the horizon for what passes as nighttime, "The White Nights of the Far North."

1 comment:

  1. Isle of Skye looks lovely - we've only been add far north as Inverness and the locks.