Cuillins from Elgol - Isle of Skye

Return to Skye

I reached a personal milestone in my recovery from M.E. and managed to drive for 6.5 hours up to the Isle of Skye!

I used to live in Skye from 2000-2002 and I visited a couple of times after I’d moved further South, but I didn’t have the energy to travel that far, and drive around Skye once I had M.E.  I’ve been feeling a lot better, so I planned a trip up in September, and thought I’d share my photos and experiences.

It’s a lovely drive up there, and the scenery just gets better and better as you travel through Glencoe, Invergary, Shiel Bridge, past the iconic Eilean Donan Castle and over the bridge to Skye.  It’s been about 9 years since I’ve been up that way, and I think time had diminished it somehow in my mind; as I saw that wild landscape again, it was larger, more dramatic and more sublime than in my mind’s eye – it quite took my breath away. I stayed with my friend, Marion, in Portree the 1st night, and in the morning I drove over the hill to Struan, on a crazy winding single track road, to see my friends Zuleika and Beads in Caroy, on the West side of the island. There’s a great view of the entire Cuillin ridge from that road:

Cuillin ridge from Struan Road - Isle of Skye

Zuleika and Beads (real name – Mark – everyone knows him as Beads) live in a small cottage on their croft. They hand-built their cottage, and have continued to add bits to it, so it was great to see how the cottage and croft have developed. They live quite self-sufficiently growing their own veg and herbs, and keeping a few animals, generating their own power, using a natural water source and composting toilet. What always amazes me is their ingenuity at re-purposing and recycling material. A fish farm had been put out of commission near them and dragged up onto the land, so they sawed up the large circular plastic float and used it to edge their raised vegetable beds:

Raised beds, Chapel Croft, Caroy - Isle of Skye

It works really well, doesn’t rot, and holds in the heat.

Beads has really gone to town with his recycling and has made crazy animals and creatures from the flotsam washed up on the shoreline at the croft. They are so imaginative and fun:

Sheep made by Mark Francis

Sheep

Rat made by Mark Francis

Mole made by Mark Francis, Caroy - Isle of Skye

Rhino and Bird made by Mark Francis, Caroy - Isle of Skye

Rhino and Bird

Creature made by Mark Francis, Caroy - Isle of Skye

Creature made by Mark Francis, Caroy - Isle of Skye

Bird made by Mark Francis, Caroy - Isle of Skye

Bird on their gatepost

Butterfly mobile made by Mark Francis, Caroy - Isle of Skye

Butterfly mobile

Angler fish made by Mark Francis, Caroy - Isle of Skye

Angler fish

They were found all over the croft and the cottage! He’s planning on selling them and will have a website up and running soon. Beads is normally a carpenter, and had to get away to a job, so after my tour around the croft, I had a good catch up with Zuleika, drinking some fresh peppermint and lemon balm tea, picked from the croft.

I headed up to Waternish in the North of the island for the afternoon. I lived in Waternish most of the time I was in Skye, and it was great to get back to my old stamping ground:

View from Stein - Isle of Skye

View from Stein

I drove as far North as I could go on the Waternish peninsula, which took me to Trumpan, and the old church and graveyard there:

View to Dunvegan from Trumpan, Waternish - Isle of Skye

Dunvegan from Trumpan

I popped in to see Neal and Maddy at Halistra Pottery and bought a mug, and bought some lovely autumnal 4 ply yarn from Shilasdair:

Bought in Skye - Shilasdair Yarn & Halistra Pottery mug

Heading back out of Waternish, I went down to the bay at Camuslusta to see some friends. Initially, no-one was home, and a collie dog accompanied me on a walk along the beach:

Camuslusta, Waternish - Isle of Skye

Although he was more interested in chasing the chickens really:

Chicken, Camuslusta, Waternish - Isle of Skye

I finally managed to find Judith at home (it was her dog) and had a quick cuppa with her, before heading back to spend a quiet evening in Portree with Marion, and headed down the South part of the island, to the Cuillins and my friends Ray and Antje, and to a wedding ceilidh in the evening.

I wanted to have a walk in the scenery in the morning, so I drove to Elgol for a walk on the cliffs. It was quite windy and threatening rain when I got there, which made it look very dramatic:

Cuillins from Elgol - Isle of Skye

Gars-bheinn in the Cuillins - Isle of Skye

Elgol cliffs - Isle of Skye

I walked along the cliffs to where they broke up into limestone pavements nearer the water, had a good explore, and the sun came out. I found a baby waterfall:

Baby waterfall at Elgol cliffs - Isle of Skye

and wild flowers: the Devil’s Bit Scabious was irridescent against the grey limestone:

Devil's Bit Scabious

and had a rest on the rocks in the sun, peacefully gazing out at the Cuillins. As I headed back to Elgol harbour, the midges rose up from the heather in the sunshine, and gave me a few bites! I was unprotected, without any midge repellant, as there was no sign of them when I left the car about an hour before. It shows how fast the weather can change in the Highlands.

I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up with my friends in Torrin under the glowering Blaven:

Blaven from the road to Torrin - Isle of Skye

The wedding ceilidh was fun in the evening, and I had enough energy to have a couple of dances. My best wishes go to Abigail and Tibor on their married life together.

I stayed with Antje and Ray overnight, and after a bit of a false start found my favorite beach in Skye the next morning:

Shoreline at Torrin - Isle of Skye

It was absolutely deserted, and the water was crystal clear and it has the most beautiful rounded egg-like pebbles and amazing white marble cliffs.

I helped Antje with her sock knitting when I got back, funny, neither of us knitted when I lived in Skye, but now we’ve both taken it up… I headed back home the next day. It was so marvellous to be in such a beautiful part of the world for a few days, and to catch up with old friends. We just carried on together as if I had never moved away; for all my friends there it was just as if I still lived in Skye and had just popped around for a cuppa. Thanks to them all for looking after me.

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