We were out and about early for our day on the island of Skye. So much to see and only a few hours to do it in!
Our first stop was at the Talisker distillery http://www.malts.com/index.php/en_us/Our-Whiskies/Talisker . There are whole tours built around visiting distillery and distillery (called “The Whisky Trail”) and that didn’t interest us at all. However, Scotch whisky is so much a part of the heritage of Scotland I wanted to learn about it. I told Maureen and Dave as much, and said for them to plan in what they thought we should see. We ended up going to two distilleries.
Talisker is a distillery that makes one of the distinctive “peated” whiskies. Meaning that the malted barley has been smoked to give it a particular flavor. There is a whole art to the ‘tasting’ or ‘nosing’ of whisky. This site has a fantastic article about it.
See this lovely bridge? I call it the “Rain Bridge”. While Dave and I stood on the top, Himself decided to go down to the burn (stream). As Dave and I waited, we turned to look behind us at the Cuillins (the mountains on Skye) and were startled to see a curtain of rain sweeping down towards us. Of course we yelled a warning to Himself of the coming deluge, then Dave and I trotted off to the car. We hadn’t even made it when Himself came dashing up and we all leapt into the van. Good thing we did!
Because here comes the rain! Didn’t think Himself could move as fast as he did! ;-)
And of course after the rain are the waterfalls. In a land that is either going up or going down… there are a lot of waterfalls!
This was the weather during our day on Skye. But it didn’t mess up any of our sightseeing. In fact, I rather liked the moodiness it gave the landscape.
Our next stop was at the small museum dedicated to the giant Angus Macaskill http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/skye/angusmacaskill/index.html . He lived in the earlier part of the 1800s and was the largest ‘true’ giant; that being someone who is truly a large person and didn’t suffer a condition that made him large. His full height was 7 feet 9 inches and as a mature adult he weighed around 500 lbs. As you can see… he was a BIG man!! He toured with PT Barnum for a while (that’s Tom Thumb on the right).
This is Peter Macaskill, who runs the museum, and the angriest dog on Skye. Why is this collie giving Himself (who was taking the photo) that baleful glare? Because we had finished our visit to the museum, said our ‘good-byes’ and Mr. Macaskill and Dog were heading back to their house. Dog was already feeling his soft blanket in front of the coal fire… out of the cold, windy, rainy day. But then Himself asked Mr. Macaskill for a photo, to which he happily agreed. Mr. Macaskill called Dog back into the cold, windy, rainy day to be in the photo also.
Dog knew who was the reason he was now standing in the cold, windy, rainy yard instead of being curled up in his warm bed.
And Dog was very angry.
Leaving Dog to his warm blanket, we continued our journey. Along the way we came across this road hazard… a ‘hairy coo’ standing in the roadway. This must be a tourist because there is plenty of room for them to go around this cow. But the tourist didn’t realize that and there they sat waiting for a cow that has nothing better to do than stand, chew cud and stare, to move out of the way.
My last look back at them as we topped the hill saw that no one had yet moved. It could be a long day for that couple…
We then had a lunch that was such a neat experience that I will tell you about it in my next blog.
Next stop was at “Skyeskyns” http://www.skyeskyns.co.uk/ . This facility produces fleece items (rugs, clothing, gloves, hats, etc) from sheep skins. Most of the sheep in Scotland are raised for meat. The skins are a wasted by-product of this industry. In the old times, nothing was wasted and Skyeskyns uses many of the old tools and machinery from back then – combined with modern machinery to make the process more efficient.
From there, we headed up to the upper part of Skye. First stop was at Kilmuir cemetery, the grave site of Flora MacDonald. She is the brave and tough lady who saved the hide Bonnie Prince Charlie/The Young Pretender after his defeat at the battle of Culloden. Her story is worth a read. Her stone is marked with this epitaph "Her name will be mentioned in history and if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour."
Then we made our way to Kilt Rock, so named because the basalt stone that forms the 200 foot cliff resembles the pleats in the back of a kilt.
And in front of it is Mealt Falls. There is a pipe guardrail around the view point and in the wind it makes a humming sound a bit like the drone of a bagpipe. With the misty rain while we were there, the effect was awesome.
You could just imagine the Highlanders appearing out of the mists…
This is an area of peat and heather. The little ridges are where folks have harvested the peat for a heating source. I’ll show you more on that in a later blog.
This cute area is known as “Fairy Glen”. There are small cone shaped hills/mounds and the peat has slumped on them… giving it a terraced effect. You can easily imagine it as a tiny village landscape.
As we arrived at our B&B, the sky started to clear and there was a beautiful sunset and a rainbow too.
Garybuie B&B hosts Christine and Kevin. They have a fun blog at http://garybuie01.wordpress.com/
We had supper there, beet soup and ham sandwiches. Delicious!! Most of the meal was sourced right from their croft. In fact, those tomatoes were growing in a hanging basket in the sunroom!
Huff the Duck… “Girl, what are you doing up there?!”
Puff the Duck… “Enjoying the peace and quiet! Now go away!”
The next morning I did a bit of shopping at the Uig Pottery while we waited load onto the ferry to Harris. I had this little shop reconned and I was out of the van as soon as Dave got it into ‘park’. I didn’t know how long I would have to shop and I wasn’t going to waste one second!
Aren’t these plates lovely?
And this chicken pattern makes me laugh. We brought home a salt cellar with this design. I had to make my selections quickly for the ferry soon sounded its horn and it was time to leave for Harris Island!