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Skye, the northern and western part


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Scotland, April 2002, Skye, the northern and western part

Another reason we went to bed so early is breakfast: we have to be at breakfast before 9. So no possibility to sleep late. Well, the positive thing is that this way we are on the road quite early. It is very cloudy, but dry.
Old Man of Storr Old Man of StorrFrom Portree, we first drive to the north. From a distance we can see the Old Man of Storr. This is a high mountain peak (49 meters), standing loose of mountain Storr. A massive landslide is responsible for this. We want to walk up there, but all the tracks are too swampy at the time.
Lealt gorgeSomewhat to the north, at Lealt, one can find the most spectaculair gorge on Skye, with several waterfalls. Elisabeth finds it a bit too high and too steep to stand too close to the edge.
Lealt gorge Kilt Rock WaterfallThe coastline lies high above the sea and the cliffs are often very steep, sometimes they go sheer down.
You can see that very clearly at the Kilt Rock Waterfall: the water drops almost 100 meters, into the sea. Very wisely, this part of the coast has been fenced off.
The Quiraing The QuiraingA lady in a take-away at Brogaig advises us to drive for a few kilometers into the Quiraing, via a side road into the direction of Uig. Near the top is a small car park from where we have a very nice view over this bizarre landscape. A short time ago this road was used in some car advertisement (Peugeot it was, I believe). Here a few pictures of this area.
The Quiraing The QuiraingIn a short time we climb quite a lot, into the hills from where we have a splendid view on the sea and the soft-greenish, almost mysterious landscape.
Duntulm castle ruinThe weather is improving and we drive back to Brogaig, to continue our way to the north, along the coast. At Duntulm is a ruin of a castle and since we have a special castle-page on our website, Teije wants to make at least one picture of every castle we pass. Here a few pictures of this ruin.
Duntulm castle ruinThere was a broch (a fortified tower) on this place in the Iron Age already. Later the MacDonalds built a stone castle here, but it was abandoned in the 18th century.
Duntulm castle ruin Duntulm castle ruinThe view is great and the spot was chosen very well on a strategic point. Meanwhile, the temperature has risen so much, that Teije walks around in his T-shirt.
But back in the car, it starts to drizzle and sometimes even to rain. They say the weather on Skye is unpredictable and so we noticed. One moment it can be sunny and warm, the next moment the sky is cloudy and the temperature has dropped with a few degrees Centigrade. In 5 minutes it can change back again, so we don't bother too much, we never do about the Scottish weather.
We continue our way to the south, via Uig and finally to the west. In fact, the island Skye is composed of several large peninsula's. Very often, you drive to the end of one of those peninsula's and have to drive back the same way to go to another part of the island (for example Elgol and Sleat). In the northwestern part we want to visit Dunvegan Castle, but of course Teije has to drive all the possible small roads he sees on the map, to remote places and villages. The scenery is beautiful and many roads are near to the coast, where one has a nice view on the dozen (maybe hundreds) of small islands that surround Skye.
The sea at Duntulm, Skye Dunvegan CastleEventually, we arrive at Dunvegan Castle. This is the castle that has been inhabited for the longest period by one family: the heads of the clan McLeod. They have lived here since 1270.
Dunvegan Castle The garden of Dunvegan CastleIt is a place worth visiting and the gardens are splendid. We would like to have a waterfall like that in our garden! In the castle they have a clear video-presentation about the history of this part of Scotland in general, and about the clan McLeod in particular.
We take all sorts of single track roads to go to the south. The weather is behaving like a yoyo: sometimes gloomy, then sunny again. Through Drynoch we drive to the west coast near Talisker.
Waterfall at Talisker TaliskerAt Talisker we see another impressive waterfall, but also some cows walking about freely. Teije doesn't like that very much: he was once chased by a cow around a haystack. But they are more frightened by him than the other way around.
Waterfall A lonely houseOne of the most appealing qualities of Scotland to us, is the combination of mountains and water. Everywhere there are hills with lochs and lochans (small lakes) hidden between the hills and the mountains, even in the most remote areas. Waterfalls, about which we can only dream of in Holland, are abundantly present in this country.
The lonely cottages one can find in these, often desolate, areas, give an extra atmosphere to the country. One can imagine being hundreds of years back in the past, while hiking through these hills.
Portree from a distanceIt isn't very late yet, but we decide to head for Portree, so we can have a walk through the village by daylight. We drive back to Coillore and take the single track road from there, across the island. A very nice road through the tableland of Skye. We can see Portree lying from a great distance.
Portree PortreePortree is the main town on Skye and it used to be a busy port. Nowadays it is busy with tourists also, considering all the hotels and restaurants. Although we have made a long trip and seen a lot, we have plenty of time left for a walk through the town.
Portree is located sheltered in a bay and there are still many fishing boats in the harbour.
Portree PortreeAlong the quay there is a street with coloured houses. There are some good snackbars and restaurants here and also some hotels and B&B's.
Portree PortreeThe whole town looks very well-groomed, something which is often totally different in other Scottish villages. Behind the church near the harbour, one can climb a small tower from where the view over the town and the sea is beautiful.
At half past eight it becomes dusk and we search for a pub. With our maps and books spread out over the table, we prepare a route for tomorrow. Our first whole day on Skye had been very satisfying and we feel quite at home. This is also a beautiful part of Scotland.

 


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