You know I don’t think through these posts that much! It’s just a stream of consciousness of my feelings at that point in time. I didn’t change in anything in that post because that’s how I was feeling at the time and I want to remember it. I still have zero information about when we are leaving/if we are leaving or what any of that looks like.
I’ve gotten a nonstop stream of texts today from people wanting details – sorry friends. I got nothing. It’s part of the life of an expat to live day to day not totally knowing what the future holds. It’s extremely frustrating for a futurist thinker like myself. But we were told it was a 2-3 year stint so with one year down, the end is coming and I feel pressure to see and do it all!
I will say that I’m shocked at how much we love our new house! It’s made a huge impact on our day-to-day lives and just overall happiness here. The only frustrating thing is that we weren’t here a year sooner.
Moving on to Isle of Skye.
It’s easy to see how the study of geology was started in Scotland. The landforms are other worldly and are most easily described as Jurassic. It feels like a dinosaur could step out from behind a munro at any point. Again I was struck with the feeling that I haven’t done enough good in my life to be rewarded with vistas like that. Just amazing.
We left our house around 8am and on a Friday and started the 5.5 hour journey to Skye. My cousin Liz and her husband recently visited and said that the journey to Applecross was one of the best parts of their trip. Since we were so close, we just had to try it!
It was pretty freaking cool but Brett wasn’t exactly thrilled to have to travel that same road back down.
With all of the pit stops for Mia and the Applecross detour and stopping at the grocery store in Portree, we didn’t make it to our little croft house in Staffin until around 5. It was a long day in the car! We were rewarded with a lovely view of Staffin Bay at sunset and some sheep for neighbors.
Y’all, that little girl didn’t go potty from Elgin until we arrived at the croft house. She thinks she’s way too good for her portable potty now. Only indoor plumbing for that chick!
Saturday we headed to the Quiraing. The Quiraing is part of the Trotternish Ridge that was formed by a massive landslip which created hidden plateaus, high cliffs, and pinnacles of rock. The drive to the top wasn’t unlike the drive up Applecross! More cool stuff to see at the top though!
Next up was the Old Man of Storr – one of the most recognizable points in Scotland/Isle of Skye.
Sadly, we didn’t make it all the way to the top. We didn’t do enough research! It’s quite the hike! Plus we left our waters in the car (don’t worry, Brooks literally cupped his hands and drank from a stream) and it was nearing lunch time so we headed into Portree for lunch.
Portree is adorable! It looks just like a postcard!
We ate at Cafe Aribba and had a blissful 5 minutes of peace while the kids were bent over their electronics.
Both kids were rapidly deteriorating by this point. Much of their time in the restaurant was spent under the table and rolling around on the benches with Brett and I whispering to them sternly not to embarrass us and give Americans an even worse reputation…or live up to the one we have. Although I think we have our work cut out for us because Portree is pretty touristy. I heard quite a few North American accents and more than once complained about the tourists, high and mighty in my role as a “local”.
In the afternoon we stopped by a small dinosaur museum to see some fossils and imprints well preserved on the Isle of Skye. We also stopped at the Leath Viewpoint and took in the incredible views.
Then back to the croft for forced quiet time before heading to the Fairy Glen. This particular fairy glen doesn’t have any stories surrounding it. It is simply another Quiraing like landslip – but in miniature. The atmosphere around it does feel a bit different but I’m guessing it’s more mental than anything else. There’s a “castle” in the glen referred to as Castle Ewan for some reason. It’s not a castle at all though! It’s a basalt topping that is still intact. It definitely looks like a castle ruin from far away but there are structures when you get close that look like a ruined castle as well. In fact, the real clue it’s not a castle ruin is that no one’s family name, crest, or tartan are flying over it or being sold at a nearby gift shop.
We stopped for a quick pic of Loch Snizort before we drove through the Quiraing on our way back to Staffin.
We finished up our day at the beach in Staffin Bay and watched a bit of the sunset in our front garden.
I had the pleasure of starting my day off at sunrise at the Quiraing. Wow again. Just wow. I figured that I would be among at least 10 photographers but it was just me, the sheep and the gorgeous sunrise.
At some point the day before, I made the mistake of saying I wanted to go on a boat ride to one of the Outer Hebrides (pronounced heb-ree-dees, not he-brides as I said for the longest) and Mia just would NOT LET GO OF IT. She had huge tantrums about wanting to go on a boat so Brett arranged for us to go out in Loch Bay with Diver’s Eye Boat Trips.
This was on the more westernly side of the island so we headed out with time to spare before the launch. Right as we reached the Dunvegan Castle grounds, Mia fell fast asleep. We decided Brooks and I would nip into the gift shop and look around before we woke her but she was dead to the world. After a quick google search, Brett found a coral beach nearby and we took off so Mia could finish her wee nap. What our research failed to inform us was that the coral beach was about a mile walk from the car park. No big deal for the kids but we were racing the clock to make it to our boat in time. Again, we didn’t quite make it to the beach but we did get a great view of it from a hill before we had to cut and run to catch our boat.
We raced to Diver’s Eye in Stein, worried that we were late, and were met by the best people. Gordon, the skipper, could best be described at a Scottish Uncle Robert – a very clear picture for those of you fortunate enough to know him. And sidenote, Robert – if this gets to you, I know where you should retire! You’d love this little sliver of Scotland! Gordon, his son, and wife came aboard with us and catered everything right to us/the kids. We got up close to seals, saw the coral beach we’d be trying to reach, looked down at the 12 ft loch and saw starfish on the bottom, caught tons of mackerel – even Mia, cruised by tiny islands, the kids drove the boat – like for real – and Brett and I got to sit back and enjoy the show and the company. I’m so glad that Mia’s constant nagging pushed us into booking. It was such a fabulous laid back few hours.
For any fisherman that might be reading this – the fish basically jumped in the boat. Brooks never had his line in the water for longer than 2 minutes without a bite. And no bait. Just lures.
Afterwards we headed back to Dunvegan for a quick bite and then set off to find Talisker Bay. On the way we passed the most stunning scenery! Our side of the island had interesting landscape features but the western side was all drama!
We also saw several free roaming Highland Cows (Heilan Coos) along the way.
We never actually made it to Talisker Bay. By the time we found it (GPS was really sketchy in this area) it was a mile walk to the beach from the car park and there was no way the kids were up for it so we just enjoyed the stunning scenery with a few stops for pics along the way.
We loaded up for the very long car ride home – but not without stops for a few pictures of the Eilean Donan Castle and some coos along the way.
Long car ride aside, Isle of Skye was an amazing experience – a must do for anyone visiting Scotland.