SKYE – LAND OF TUMULTUOUS WEATHER June 28

Today’s forecast for the Isle of Skye: sunny and bright. The reality: pretty much every weather condition but snow and hail, but mostly rain; a lot of rain.
We had a brief stop to check out Eilean Donan Castle on our way. We didn’t take the tour, but stopped for a quick few pictures between the rain.

Our first geocache on Skye promised great view of the water and the mountains, no matter what the weather condition. Um, yeah. I’m sure it was stunning, but I could not see much through the driving rain. That and the cowl of my rain jacket.

Back in the car and approximately 20 seconds later it was no longer raining. Our first official stop in Skye was Portree, where we would be staying the night. It was still far too early to check in to our hotel, so we figured we’d do some geocaching and then grab a bite to eat. The first cache we targeted was called, believe it or not, Viewpoint of Doom! How can you pass that up? I didn’t find much doom, but the view was beautiful!

From there we scampered back up the hillside and thought we’d search out a cache called The Lump where the Portree Highland Games have been held since forever. You’d think we’d be easily able to locate such a place, since they had dynamited a place above the town to create it. You would be wrong. We found a path that seemed to be right. Only it went under the high point, which was where the arrow insisted we go. After almost a complete circle, we spied the road – yes road – up to a folly.

But still, no big flat space fit for Highland Games. We followed the sound of a person and dogs playing fetch and BOOM! There it was. The cache was a micro, but was marked with this red plastic flag, which I found to be hilarious. If you are a cacher, you’ll appreciate how silly it was.

From there we let caches and hoards of people be our tour guide. If we could see all kinds of cars parked and throngs of people we tended to stop. Except at the layby for the Old Man of Storr. It was packed, so we drove on by and found an empty layby with no one in it and a great view of the Old Man of Storr. It’s impressive, and the photos don’t do it justice. You may recognize it from The Wicker Man.

We were going to bypass the old dolomite factory, but upon seeing the crowd gathered, Chad whipped the car into the layby. It was insanely windy (but not raining) and to get to the shore you walked down a well worn sheep path and hoped to avoid stumbling into the sheep. They seemed generally unconcerned about all the two-footed idiots on their paths.

Next up, Kilt Rock. It’s a basalt formation that looks like the pleats of a kilt. The overlook was packed and the wind was insane. It came whipping up from the water and flowed through the metal fence which made a lovely, harmonic sound. It was weird and delightful all at the same time.As if that wasn’t enough, looking toward Kilt Rock, there was a thin waterfall that was being whipped about by the wind. It was a lot to take in from one spot!

The water below was so clear we could easily see the huge boulders in it.

We continued on up North with the weather shifting from a driving rain to sun and back again. And again. And again. The scenery was stunning, even in the driving rain. Well, when you could see it. We kept on until we got to the cemetery where Flora MacDonald is buried.

And of course there was a tour bus coming at the same time. At moments like that I feel like I need to jump out of the car and shout, “RUN!” so we can have a moment’s peace before the flood of people overwhelm us. As luck would have it, the tour folks first went to the crofter museum.

We had plenty of time to see the amazing knight’s effigy stone – there’s a story about how it was stolen from a Scottish king’s grave by one of the of the MacDonald clan – and quite a few of the others to boot before heading onward and finishing the loop back to Portree.

So it was 4:30 when we hit the bustling metropolis of Portree. It seemed like a good time to check in to our hotel. Except, did I mention, it was 4:30 and apparently the pub at the Fair Isle Inn was quite the place to be. We could barely even get in the door. So we wandered around town a bit more and searched for some place that might be willing to give us food.

Today was the day in our trip where we hit the wall of exhaustion. After dinner we could not manage to drag ourselves downstairs to the pub. Just could not budge from our room. I sat there, watching the sun not set. At 10:30 it was still quite bright. at 12:30 it was still not even dark. I can only imagine how dark it is here in the winter.

Check out our additional lovely photos in the gallery. Skye really is an amazing place. We took A LOT of photos. A LOT. 

chris on June 28th 2015 in Geocaching, Travel

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