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Published: September 29th 2019
So far up to this point Dennis had only had to drive on short stretches of single track roads, but headed up and around the Isle of Skye is predominantly all single track. On these types of roads it is a single lane but two ways of traffic must pass. You have to pull along the side in small turn offs to allow oncoming traffic to pass to avoid a head on collision. The trick is deciding who is the one that yields and sometimes you must even back up to go into the closest passing place, often with no guard rails and steep cliffs off both sides of the roadway and there is not a single straight stretch of road ANYWHERE in this country. Pretty much the entire west coast and the center of the country is filled with single track roads, however the scenery is sublime and it makes the effort worthwhile.
We stayed two nights in the Kyle of Lochalsh area in a waterfront BnB near the Eilean Donan Castle. This is the most photographed castle in Scotland and is always shown in postcards and calendars because of it’s picture perfect setting, situated on an
island in a loch.
The first night we found the best fish and chip “chippy shop” of the trip where I finally had a bowl of amazing Cullen skink (smoked fish chowder). We then drove out to the ridiculously but understandably popular Fairy Pools, the location that I got a flat tire going out to last time I was here, stranding us for hours waiting for a spare to be delivered. I never hiked out to them so I really wanted to this time, and do so beating the crowds late in the afternoon. The pools looked soo inviting so I planned on taking a dip, as only some daring locals do during the warmer summer months, but chickened out after Dennis went in before me and looked so miserable upon emerging. We had no towels or change of clothes so I allowed him the victory of being tougher than me, at least for one night. I left some ashes of Mom there in the fairy pools, carrying her to where she couldn’t go herself.
The following day we drove the Skye loop all day, retracing our stops I had
done with Mom. We drove past the Man of Storr, a popular rock pinnacle that was in the movie Aliens/Prometheus. This time the fog was so low and heavy we couldn’t see the Old man, even with a hike up the mountainside. We visited the Fairy Glen, a series of enchanting and strange grass covered rock formations and ruins giving it the appearance of well...a fairy glen or like Tolkein’s Hobbiton. There was a small pond in the glen where Mom had placed Grandpop’s ashes, so she joined him there as well.
We also visited the MacDonald castle ruins along the ocean, which is supposed to haunted by a noble who was tortured to death by being deprived water and fed only salted beef, and a nanny who was executed after she dropped a baby off one of the high walls. The ruins perched along a cliff on the ocean are now fenced off since last time, some having fallen off into the sea.
We went to Neist Point lighthouse, quite literally the most beautiful setting for a lighthouse you could ever imagine, a long and steep climb down from the sea cliffs. This
was one of Mom and I’s favorite places so of course part of her now dwells there forever now.
Dotted throughout the Isle are ruins of old cottages, it’s thatched roofs long ago deteriorated burned so only remnants of the stone walls remain. These are leftovers from what is known is Scottish history as the “Clearances” when the tenants were forcibly evicted by the large land owners after generations had lived in these ancestral homes, to give way for sheep herding, a more profitable venture than what they were receiving as rent from the peasants. This caused lives to be destroyed and lost, many describing this practice as a sort of ethic cleansing. Similar occurrences occurred in Ireland as well, hence the large numbers of Scottish and Irish immigrants during the 18th and 19th centuries to the US.
Next stop the Orkney Islands.
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