For some unknown reason we only scheduled four days in the beautiful Isle of Skye, yet an entire week was spent in Edinburgh and a week in York. This planning was a bit backwards in hindsight. Much more time could have been spent in this stunning island countryside. The one day available to hike to the beautiful and unique Old Man of Storr provided only very dumpy light (photography speak), so I turned around and explored other parts of the island rather than devote an entire day to a single spot. The Old Man of Storr is the monolith in the distant background of the lead photo above.
We generally do not stay at B&B’s, preferring self-catering lodging. Yet those seemed to be lacking in the area, so a B&B it was. Typically, in a good photogenic spot such as the Isle of Skye, I rise well before the sun and often do not get back in time for the breakfast. For the above sunrise photo, my newly purchased ‘wellies’ were a must, both for walking in the mud and muck to get to this spot and for wadding into the lake once I got there. Clearly there was little wind since the lake surface is so calm, yet the two boats were moving about quite rapidly. I could not take a long exposure or they would have been blurred as they moved around the lake, in and out of my photo frame.
On our first night in Portree, Scotland we ate at a high end restaurant within a very upscale hotel suggested to us by our B&B owner. We generally prefer pub grub. The view of the harbor and colorful houses on the other side could not have been more magnificent and the food was great. Yet after being on the road exploring Europe and the British Isles for almost five months one gets a bit weary of it all. For me, guilt sets in since we are not excited enough nor appreciative enough of the beautiful and unique sites we are seeing.
When looking at the Isle of Skye on the map, it appears quite small and it seemed to me driving from one photo spot to the next would be quick and easy. The drive to the westernmost point on the island proved this was not the case. The trip out to Neist Point Lighthouse was long and arduous. Narrow, one lane roads seemed to take you into ranchers’ back yards, past sheep laying down in the road, coupled with steep inclines with few signs marking the route. None of it seemed right. All too often a car would be riding my tail, so as soon as there was a spot in the narrow one lane road where I could pull over, I would do so. Then it was a game to see how long I could keep up with the crazy local driver ahead of me clearly familiar with every dip and turn. After a short while I would no longer see their tail lights and it was back to creeping along at my own cautious speed. Hitting a lamb was not an experience I wanted to share in my BLOG. There surely must be a name used by the locals for people like me who drive slow as molasses in January, then given a chance to follow a speeding local through the twisting lane we drive faster than seems reasonably safe, only to soon be left in their dust, limping along until the next local car finds a passing spot to lead me. One such car I followed seemed to be driven by a cute young blond girl. She may have seen me, an old gray haired guy. For all I knew, she thought I was chasing her and she kept trying to drive faster and faster to lose me. Soon enough, she did…. Plenty of people made it to Neist Point Lighthouse, as it was crowded with picnickers, hikers and photographers when I finally arrived. The lighthouse and surrounding buildings are now owned by a local lady. What a unique, magical piece of property! The buildings used to be rented out to the public, but no more, I understand.