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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

SKYE - PROBABLY THE MOST SCENIC OF THE SCOTTISH ISLES

The entrance to the beautiful Armadale Castle in the Isle of Skye, Scotland.


In the morning, the Island of Skye in Scotland is covered with clouds. And from the sky two mounds of smoke merge with the clouds.

Like old friends, the chimneys of the Talisker distillery smoke their pipes in Portnalong.

You should get tour accommodation in this small village on the West coast of the Island of Skye, overlooking Loch Harport, I stayed in a caravan cold and run down but I didn't have reason to complain too much about it.

If you get a rainy day and the rain continues to come down and the visibility is extremely low you can only do so much in Skye.

You can at least reach the top of a hill around Portnalong and  from there you can enjoy beautiful views of the coast. The wind would almost push you down from the cliffs and therefore you may have to sit on the lawn of heather to avoid falling and admire the sea during a storm .

Then, already soaked with rain, you would probably descend from the cliffs and move near the beach to brave a little walk along the sea, hoping that the sky would become clear for a while.

The sea calm and the boats would color the beach that stretches up to an isolated cottage at the end.

All this, my dears, is Scotland at its best!

At Mallaig you can clearly see the other side of the channel.
Caledonian Mark Brayne  connects quickly by ferry the Isle of Skye from Armadale to Mallaig.


In the small Village of Caroy,  not far from Portnalong, the whiskey shop makes the morning more cheerful. The whiskey warms the body ...better than the sun of Scotland, you might think.

Then if the sun comes out really from the grey clouds, the brown turns into bright yellow and the white lighthouse at Caroy shines on the islands on the horizon.

You should walk along the coast, facing the sea that turns pink, and you can enjoy the breeze which finally moves the clouds away.

At Mallaig you can clearly see the other side of the channel. Caledonian Mark Brayne  connects quickly by ferry Armadale to Mallaig.

Entering the garden of the castle of Armadale is experiencing the joy of discovery , like finding a little treasure.


An ancient Viking boat is hidden under the trees
at Armadale Castle, as if it was stranded there.
There are no ticket and there are no doors , only a small gate to find yourself in a park of old trees. Trees trunks that four people would barely be able to embrace. The gate and its strange tower are dyed red at sunset.

In the evening, the best time to visit Armadale park, there would be probably no one in the park. You can climbs the tower and enjoy the view from up there.

In the large garden, the grass is perfectly cut. Only squirrels though are around.
The castle seems empty, but it is not. Someone still lives in this old manor house.

An ancient Viking boat is hidden under the trees, as if it was stranded there.A bed of leaves apparently is the sea. 

When I visited I jumped on the boat and lied down on the bottom, closed my eyes and thanked heaven for a sunset so beautiful over Armadale's Bay in the Island of Skye.

Portree is a pretty town in the Isle of Skye. But those who live there do not seem to think so apparently.
The traveler knows that sometimes the appearance of a place is deceiving. 

Portree, however, makes a good impression. When you will finally snap your fish & chips at the harbor, Portree will enter in your heart.

You will enjoy to sit there on the bay to see the fishing boats sway on the waves. Portree, according to some means the King's Port, it is definitely the Queen of Skye. 

Four large cottages in pastel colors give grace to the beautiful bay. 

You will see the white , pink and blue of the cottages facades mirrored in the water.

From Portree you should absolutely rent a car and drive along a panormaic road to visit the Old Man of Storr nearby.

From there you can have great views all over the island. You can see those great views leaving and arriving in the island of Skye .

The beautiful typical landscape of Scotland in the Isle of Skye.


The Old Man of Storr saw Prince Charlie escape over the Sound of Ramsay, it saw hunger , misery and despair. But it also saw beautiful thousand sunsets , rain and rainbows .

The trail up to the Old Man of Storr is usually muddy , but the closer and closer you get to the great man of stone and the more you will want to resist the strong winds.

From Loch Leathan the trail plunges into a dense forest of conifers that does not seem to have end. Then finally the trees thin out and the view opens up, looking barren almost like the moon. Among the large stone pinnacles the silhouetted profile of the Old Man of Storr stands up.

The largest natural menhir stone will leave you breathless. The clouds rise and the panorama opens up on the big Sound of Raasay and the neighboring islands.

When you will finally sit at the feet of the Old Man of Storr in the Isle of Skye you will enjoy a unique panorama overlooking the Sound of Raasay.

Here how to visit the Old Man of Storr (from Wikipedia.com): 
"A well constructed path, used by many sightseers, leaves the A855 just north of Loch Leathan. It heads up through an area of forestry, with glimpses of the scenery beyond. After about 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) the walker emerges from the trees, into a spectacular, almost lunar, landscape.

Most day-trippers are content simply to wander around the Sanctuary, admiring the pinnacles and gazing up at The Storr's eastern cliffs. Walkers can easily ascend to the summit, however, by skirting below the cliffs whilst heading north from the north end of the Sanctuary".

Stories of men and women who were able to live happily in the simplicity of this island are well known. Men and women who have lost everything but their honor and their faith. Men and women that poverty and deprivation have made the most noble and brave. Men and women who are survivors motivated only by the beauty of the landscapes and the smell of the sea.

You will feel that you now reached the edge of the Great North , the next move will take you over the choppy sea in the Hebrides . Solitary islands and wild are the Hebrides. Islands that still remain ancient and glorious. But this is another post...

The white lighthouse at Caroy shines on the islands on the horizon.
Want to read more about the Scottish Isles?
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