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Entries about isle of skye

Scotland: From Skye with Love

The Scottish Isles are Braw

The journey was coming to an end. The weather was way more than I bargained for, as was the terrain. Rain, rain, more rain. Even when it didn't rain, the wind in the Highlands was powerful and at that altitude, it was brutal. I was completely over the weather, but I could never be over the scenery. If you stand in one place, you can binge watch nature for hours since it changes constantly. The broody clouds cast shadows on the mountains; the fog and mist drift in and out; the water in each loch has its own color and movement and it is all quite braw*. The Cullin mountains of Skye cast a spell and, although I am the first to admit I am a wimpy rough traveller, my small taste of the inner Hebrides islands of Scotland left me wanting to see more. There is something compelling about being in the middle of nowhere, in nature, in silence, surrounded by water. I am a water person. I can't be too far away from a sea, or at least a lake or a river. Scotland is surrounded by water on three sides and within its boundaries lie 38,000 lochs. Along the edges lie clusters of islands: the inner and outer Hebrides, the Shetlands, and Orkney. I need to explore them. Next time, I'll bring warmer, water-proof clothes.
Here are some final views from Loch Lubnaib. Tomorrow it's back to Edinburgh for one final fling.

*braw-fine, splendid, beautiful





It turns out there are many words for bad weather in Scottish. Shocking. Don't let the bad weather keep you away. The scenery and the people are grand. Here are a few descriptions of what you can expect to find:

Dreich — This is the most common word to describe Scottish weather. Wet, dull, gloomy, dismal, dreary or any combination of these.

Fret — A cold, wet mist from the sea.

Oorlich — Raw, bleak, depressing.

Smirr — Drizzle.

Snell — Freezing cold and wet.

Stoating — Rain bouncing off the ground.

Posted by teethetrav 05:09 Archived in Scotland Tagged scotland isle_of_skye outer_hebrides inner_hebrides braw loch_lubnaib Comments (1)

Scotland: Isle of Skye

Portree, Bridal Veil, & the Old Man of Storr

Before the Isle of Skye bridge opened in 2004, the only way to get to Skye was by ferry. There are dozens of Scottish isles that are still only accessible by ferry. Skye is one of the biggest and most popular isles and has become quite a tourist attraction. That is not to say it is touristy. It simply means that it get more visitors than it used to and it may be difficult to find a place to stay and you may have to wait to get into a restaurant in the major town of Portree.

Here are some photos of the Bridge to Skye and views from Loch Alsh before crossing over to the Isle of Skye. In the first two photos, the bridge is in the background, to the right.

The Isle of Skye is rugged and you need a vehicle to explore its many natural sights. One popular landmark on Skye is the Bridal Veil waterfall, with views across to the Old Man of Storr overlooking Loch Leathan. A country of folktales, myths, and legends to explain the inexplicable, there are multiple stories about the Storr rock formation. Here's one: A man who walked up the hill every evening with his wife told stories every evening to entertain her. Faeries hid and listened to his stories. One day, the couple realized that they had grown too old and could no longer climb to the top. The faerie folk who had listened to the stories every evening, offered the old man the chance to always have his wife with him forever. The old man accepted the offer but the faeries tricked them and turned them both into pillars of rock, ensuring that they would indeed always be together on the hill.
Even today when people no longer believe in fairies these tales still have the power to enchant, fascinate, and explain natural phenomena. Photogenic Scotland is the setting for many movies and the Storr appeared in Snow White and the Huntsman.


Posted by teethetrav 07:36 Archived in Scotland Tagged isle_of_skye portree Comments (0)

Scotland: Applecross & Highland Coos

Food, Nature, & Missing Wildlife

The Scottish Highlands abound with land and sea wildlife. The mountains, lochs, and sea are home to enormous sea eagles, puffins, seals, dolphins, orcas and salmon. They were hiding when I was there. I did see a couple of stags, way more sheep and lambs than people, and Highland coos-otherwise known as cows.

We passed through the remote and pretty Applecross Peninsula on the way to the Isle of Skye. Depending on the weather, the clouds, and the fog. you will see views from the Bealach na Ba road that are worth the trip. At best, you will see the mountaintops touching the sky at the same time you'll see down to the bay. The road is narrow and gives new meaning to breathtaking, but it is well worth the drive to get to the 2000 feet above sea level heights.

After the trip, the perfect place for a well-earned lunch is the Applecross Walled Garden where I had the blackboard special, a lamb casserole with perfectly cooked vegetables grown on the site. I had a bit of a guilt attack about eating lamb after seeing hundreds of grazing sheep along the way, but the fact is that raising and selling sheep is a large part of the Scottish economy and many of the crofters rely on the income from selling their product. As any farmer will tell you, they're not pets. Enough said.


The cattle are not raised for beef, but are mostly kept for the local crofters' personal milk and dairy products. The Highland Coos, which look like characters Maurice Sendak might have imagined, are native to Scotland. They are enchanting, especially when you encounter them grazing on the side of the road on the Applecross Peninsula and they pose with you.

Posted by teethetrav 06:26 Archived in Scotland Tagged isle_of_skye applecross_peninsula applecross_walled_garden bealach_na_ba_road highland_coos isle_of_skye_bridge Comments (1)

Scotland: Faeries, Nessie, & Kelpies

Fact, Fiction, Whiskey & Beer

Scotland has 38,000 lochs (lakes). Some are fresh water and are landlocked. Others run into the sea. Loch Ness is the second largest loch in the Scottish Highlands. Situated in the Great Glen, the fresh water Loch runs from Inverness in the north to Fort William in the south. Loch Ness is approximately 25 miles long and incredibly deep, 750 feet at its deepest point. The depth plus the high peat content explain why the water is so dark it is almost black. It is here in the murky, dark water where "Nessie" hides. She is the infamous creature who is also known as the Loch Ness Monster. She occasionally makes appearances both in and out of the water. Stories about her sightings usually begin with a pub and there's whiskey involved. Whether or not you believe in Nessie, Loch Ness is one of a series of interconnected bodies of water in Scotland and it, like all the Lochs I saw, is spectacular. The water, the mountains, the rolling clouds reflecting on the Loch, the mist, and the fog are ever-changing and cast a spell that make you want to stay and binge watch forever.


Scotland has a rich history of mythical creatures such as Nessie. Maybe it's the mystical scenery, or the wild and remote land. Or it could be the beer and whiskey that lead to creative stories told late into the night. Regardless, Nessie is just one of many creatures the Scots are more than happy to explain with entertaining tales. The kelpie is an animal that tricks you into thinking it is a horse. But beware…kelpies are mean! They are shape-shifting spirits who live in the water. The kelpie often appears as a tame pony beside a river. These water horses can also appear in human form. They may materialize as a beautiful young woman who hopes to lure young men to their death. If you are fooled, you will get dragged into the water and meet your doom. Scottish stories never have happy endings. Walt Disney would have been an epic fail here.

Other popular stories tell about the faeries. To be clear: we are not talking about Tinker Bell. Scottish faeries are mean and hate humans. There are faerie traps all over the country. They are openings in the earth that, should you explore them, you will be kidnapped and held prisoner. You might well disappear for centuries like Rip Van Winkle. Faerie Glen on the Isle of Skye is an enchanted place. There is no definitive folklore linking the land to the faerie realm, but some say faeries created the dramatic landscape and still dwell within its many crevices. It doesn't take much imagination to picture faeries, or possibly hobbits, hanging out here.

The Faerie Glen is well hidden on winding back roads, but it’s well worth searching for it. Even if you don't return for a few hundred years.



Posted by teethetrav 11:53 Archived in Scotland Tagged beer isle_of_skye whiskey loch_ness nessie kelpies faerie_glen Comments (0)

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