Isle of Skye - Visual Inspiration
The journey to the Isle of Skye incrementally gets more beautiful the further north you go, almost like mother nature is drip feeding you ahead of your arrival on the Isle. Glacial valleys and snowcapped mountains line the roads northward (which are also epic) as fleeting glimpses of red deer running away from traffic and birds of prey soaring up above reintroduce you to wild environments.
For me, the Isle of Skye is one of the few places where I am happy to visit at any time of year. In fact the past three visits have all taken place in January. My mindset is, if I'm going to be surrounded by slightly grotty wintery weather then I'm going to exacerbate it in awe-inspiring location where it actually becomes an asset.
Skye has some highlights like the Neist Point, Portree, Old Man of Storr,Talisker Bay and Ornsay Lighthouse. But simply driving or walking around and exploring this rugged landscape is a visual feast no matter where you are.
Highland cattle, though domestic animals at heart, capture the hearts of tourists to the region, full of character and hardiness for the often bleak conditions. Their long drooping fringes covering their eyes making them look like angsty teenagers, this is somewhat mitigated by their loveably ginger coats which make them standout against the landscape, particularly when it's sprinkled with snow. Is there a more charismatic cow?
My favourite place - Elgol
Elgol is pretty hard to put into words which will do it justice. Here it goes - coming down the headland you're greeted by dramatic coastline falling off either side of the road as the land narrows before the road drops to Elgol, a quiet village with a post office and a school which must have at least three pupils attending. Indeed you're more likely to bump into the resident livestock than human local.
This place is where I come to escape and reset, to be inspired by nature and to remind myself that those things niggling at me really aren't important in the grand scheme of things. I have my health and I have this view, at that moment in time this is all that really matters.
On Skye, I challenge myself to forget about everything else except the moment, not my phone, work or stresses.. except maybe about a warming whisky..
Searching for eagles
The is of Skye is one of the UK's strongholds for white tailed sea eagles, as well as golden eagles. These 'flying ironing boards' were historically persecuted by farmers and were extinct in the region up until 1975 when they were reintroduced to neighbouring Rhum and have spread throughout the region. There are trips run from Portree which go out to find sea eagles in the harbour, one company I can recommend is Brigadoon Boat Trips. My skipper, George, was a fantastic guide to the region and we were lucky enough to see the beautiful birds in the bay. Witnessing the return of this might predator back to its ancestral habitat is something to behold.
The speed, strength and sheer size of these birds comes shockingly into perspective when they come gliding down to grasp an unsuspecting fish.
The saying "four seasons in a day" couldn't be more apt for the Isle of Skye. Having gone out walk in gorgeous crisp sunshine only for a snowstorm to come down the valley from the Black Cullins mountain range and sprinkle everything, transforming the landscape before the sun returns again, it is fair to say there are few dull moments when it comes to the isle's weather. Being coastline this also means that coastal storms frequent the region, turning the natural harbour into a white horse torrent. If you're fortunate with the weather then the beaches surrounding this rugged lump of rock are breathtaking. Whats more is that you can have them all to yourself, something which Cornwall and Devon visitors can't even dream of.
This page is dedicated to my dear friends Deborah and Simon Milner.
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