Just one small snippet of 20 minutes or so in Waternish, Skye.
It was slightly colder this year than last but the cottage had lovely warm wool blankets and a big tea pot, so I was fine. The midges were evident this year too, so when it was cloudy and the wind disappeared I had to come in for a while.
The Musician Husband (being a soft southerner) lit the stove and we were toasty warm (a bit too warm for me).
Can you believe the size of this coal? Being from Wales I thought I'd seen it all (when it comes to coal), but it seems that Scottish coal doesn't mess about on size.
On one of the numerous trips around the side of Number 19 to get coal or logs, I noticed these fossils sitting beautifully on the bank at the back. I must have walked past them a thousand times and never noticed them before.
They were the only fossils we managed to find, but next year we're going prepared to find those dino prints, no matter what happens!
So! Skye in one Summer day. I will get onto it! I'm just finding the blogging thing hard to be honest. It's now mid September and I've been putting it off. I set up several blog titles when I was in Skye but never found the time to actually blog much, there was always something else to do and I didn't want to spend the time staring at the laptop. My plan was to wait until I got home to complete most of my blogs. Big mistake!
I'm sitting at home now, and every image of Skye I look at is ripping my heart out. Not that I don't like lovely Toad Rock Street, my friends, my life here. I just miss Skye so much that it slightly hurts my chest when I think of it. I could cry at the drop of a hat to know I may never live there. It's totally impossible for us to move, so there's no mileage in us trying to work it out. I felt the same last year when we got home so I blogged about the good things that were here at Toad Rock Street and it really helped (Coming Home - the good bits). Maybe I should do that again to remind myself what a good life we have and how lucky I am to still be here with the Musician Husband.
Finally, Skye in one Summer day. It's taken a while to go through all of the images - there were hundreds - but here they are, photos taken at various intervals during a 12 hour period, showing how the weather here can turn on a sixpence.
What a day! It's like that all the time on Skye. Never boring. Proper weather.
I'm crying into my tea...
On one of the cloudy days in Skye we slept in a lot and decided to have breakfast at Jan's in Dunvegan. No plans other than cream with cakes added.
We had no idea that the drive we went on afterwards would be so beautiful and we never thought we'd find the place where the dramatic Volvo advert was filmed a couple of years ago.
Cakes first, then the drive.
By the way, my purse is not packed with money. It's full of small change, store loyalty cards and receipts.
The film had to be digitally enhanced later to make it look stormy as the day itself was quite sunny.
Surprisingly, the sun came out for mere moments when we were on the jetty checking out the water for swimming. I'd spoken to a diver earlier in the week who suggested Pooltiel (this bay) but we didn't realise at the time it was here at Meanish Bridge. We could have looked at a map but we were on holiday...
Then we were back to clouds.
But Skye is beautiful anyway.
Tide in at Stein.
Me in the water.
Musician Husband on the jetty 'coaching.'
Things brush past you when you're swimming in the sea, they wrap around your ankles fleetingly, they take on unrecognisable shapes and then morph into something else equally alarming. Imagination runs riot. There are killer whales in this sea. Yet, underwater evidence proves my mind is playing tricks...there are no worrying creatures caught on camera.
It's so liberating to swim in the sea and this time there was no sea-sickness. Walkers came to watch me swimming, wondering why on earth I would get in the water on a day when they were wrapped up in coats, hats and scarves. When I'm in my wetsuit (with my considerable padding) I'm toasty warm.
I was treated to a nice pint of beer afterwards at the Stein Inn. Plus a packet of crisps.
My life is endlessly fabulous...
The Cow and I had a walk to catch up on after the abandoned trek into the croft. My mind was mostly on swimming, tide times and sea swell, so, we headed down to Stein a couple of miles away. It has a particularly unpleasant history (clans carving each other up a bit) but then most of the Isle of Skye is the same.
We'd been told to head towards Camus Lusta (turn left on the beach) where the swimming is good. We walked along the beach and the tide was out so I had a good idea what was going to be underfoot when I ventured out to swim later. It also gave us time to look for beach glass and search the small rock-pools. The seaweed was particularly beautiful in its autumnal colours. I even thought I'd found a fossilised mammoth tooth but it turns out I know a big fat zero about paleontology.
We stopped half way back at the war memorial where the heather was in full bloom. It's going to be quite beautiful in the next couple of weeks when it's all out. The sky above was the loveliest blue with wispy white cotton wool clouds. We sat for a while and looked out over the isles of Uist and thought about the men who lived and worked in this place who lost their lives fighting in other countries almost a century ago. We wondered how we might feel if we could never come back to Skye.
Just before the last turn on the road for home is the school. Imagine turning up there every day! It would be pure heaven for me but hell for some. Apparently there are 3 pupils. Not sure this is true but, boy, am I jealous!
We didn't intend to have a dinosaur day.
Until it happened, we knew very little about Skye's history of prehistoric animals running about and leaving their footprints in the sandy mud. The photo above is Staffin beach - home of Skye's dinosaur prints - looking suitably volcanic. We'd sort of missed this beach in our wanderings around Skye on previous visits so it was great to come across it with no planning.
We started off with the intention of visiting the Skye Museum of Island Life, just outside Uig. We'd tried at least 3 times before (twice last year and once the year before) but we always get up later than usual on holiday (which is the law) and start off too late for places that keep strict times. Unless we've planned an outing the day before we invariably bowl up at 4pm to see something that takes a couple of hours at least and then wonder why it's closing.
The village itself is quite small and beautifully positioned on the Trotternish peninsula. Flora MacDonald is buried near by (yep! it's that sort of place). Thatched cottages are set up to reflect various areas of village life; blacksmith, community hall, barn, weaving shed and home. There may have been more but the dogs kept setting off the car alarm in the adjacent car park by jumping about and barking at every dog within a 5 mile radius, so, I was quite distracted and probably missed loads.
In case you're interested, the largest cottage (the old croft house) was inhabited by several generations of the same family until 1957. The last lady of the house made a very simple brown and orange bedspread for her wedding bed I think around the 1920's - check on the link and see how amazing it looks. This lady (in her youth) picked the plants/lichen to dye the wool herself then spun and crocheted the whole thing; a great example of all of the skills needed when working with wool. I can't tell you how incredible it was to see that bedspread in its own place, on the bed it was made for and probably in use within the family for a long, long time.
Sadly they didn't allow photography indoors (even flashless), so the link is all I can share with you. I wonder what what the lady of the house would have thought if she knew how many people from all over the world have stood in her bedroom, checking out her wedding bed (the bed she slept in all of her married life) and thought their thoughts about her lovely hand made bedspread.
I could have stayed in that cottage and the weaving shed for quite some time but the rule about no photography completely hampered my way of doing things. I like to soak in atmosphere and let my imagination take me back to how I think things were. I am quite sentimental. I love taking photos of small items or areas that capture my imagination, for example, in the weaving shed there was a complicated almost dessicated loom set up to weave. It really did need a good half hour to get to grips with what was going on and how it could possibly work. I'd usually photograph it and check it out later, cup of tea or glass of wine in hand. I still had the wine later though...
Anyway! We headed back home but decided to take the Portree road around Trotternish rather than head back on the same road. It was out of our way but we often drive just for the sake of seeing something unexpected, and on this occasion we did - Staffin beach!
We took a left turn because a small sign said 'beach' and we found ourselves in a huge bay with the promise of dinosaur prints and the remains of mesolithic settlement (I don't know what this means other than quite old). I've borrowed the following picture and information as it's so much better than anything I could have put together...
At the entrance to the beach Charlie was obviously concerned about what we would meet...members of the 6500BC settlement or a family of dinosaurs? Instead we met a handful of collies (not sure why everyone had this type of dog) and a handful of fossil hunters like ourselves who didn't have a clue where the prints were.
We all looked and looked. Every stone was checked and double checked. We all checked with each other as we went along...Have you found them yet? Can I borrow your map? Are we in the right place..?
Nothing!. The only prints we came across on the day were mine and Charlie's.
So, instead we walked along the beach and talked, the four of us avoiding the sea urchins (apologies for the blurry photo). We talked about swimming at this beach as it looked quite safe (only the sea urchins to maim the unaware). I've since found out that people swim over to Staffin island in the summer.
We left Staffin beach with the promise we would come back next year to swim here and to find those prints.
The journey home was as beautiful as ever with the sky darkening and The Old Man of Storr watching over all of Skye.
What a day! All unplanned but every minute loved.
Every year we're on holiday around the time of the Perseid/Delta Aquarid shower and we've watched them in several places over the years. The best was lying on sun loungers next to a pool in Cephalonia about five years ago (we floated in the pool too and watched them and it was beautiful).
This year there was too much cloud in Skye.
The above photos were taken at about 11pm. They look quite dramatic on 'film' but in reality the nights are quite light even when cloudy. It's great taking the dogs for a late walk with no torch and there's a tranquility here in the evening/night that's unmatched.
When we get home I know I'll feel enclosed and surrounded by the high trees and roadsides in Kent (even though they are lovely). There's nothing like the sky up here for feeling free. Ahhh! The end of the week is coming up too fast...
I took the Cow down into the croft that the house belongs to (Croft/Number 19) which reaches right down to the cliff below. The intention was to see how close we could go before we reached the edge. Charlie smelt rabbits almost immediately and the little paths that we followed mostly led to their burrows. I couldn't let him off the lead because the goat croft is only two fields away and we can all guess the outcome. Also, there are sheep on the neighbouring croft and they're much bigger than Charlie (and he's a big dog) so, he may just come off worse.
We picked our way through high grasses and flowers, avoiding low hidden nests, trying to ignore the birds shrieking as they led us away with their alarm calls. It was an ankle-breaking opportunity at every step. Clumps of grass looked secure but often gave way to a boggy stream-side mush or lay over a two foot hollow for no reason whatsoever. Charlie, being considerably lighter, was often supported by the net of interwoven stems. I wasn't so lucky. The attention needed to consider every step took the joy out of our little expedition for me, which I had thought would be a breezy wander through an old pasture to the sea.
We only managed half way before we came across a deep stream that intersected the croft. I couldn't see down into it, could only hear it, but it was easily four feet below hidden by thistles and wild fuchsia bushes. It sounded lovely and bubbly, but was totally inaccessible with a dog and camera in hand. I had to turn back much to the Charlie's open frustration; he does sometimes cast a very disgruntled glance at me when a walk is cut short. I plan to try again via the left hand side of the croft in the next couple of days with the proper camera and some plaster of paris, just in case.
Ahhh! Wednesday morning (07/08). It was hot! Big blue skies. Our friends arrived the night before and I had to have a little lie-in because my head hurt. They went out to look at Skye. The Musician Husband, Cow'n'Wolf dutifully stayed at home until midday when I was a little more human. Then we all met up at the Highland Games in Portree to watch caber tossing and stone throwing.
The lump (Meall na h-Acairseid)! A natural amphitheatre above Portree harbour. Such a beautiful place with 360 degrees view of the bays and hills.
I thought I'd taken quite a few photos of the Highland Games but it seems I took about 20 of exactly the same shot. I obviously wasn't well...quite a shame as there was a lot going on at once. In the short time we were there we saw Highland dancing, hop, step and leap, hammer throwing and '56lb weight over a bar' (executed marvellously by some big shouldered chaps in kilts). Here's one of the 20 similar photos. It was baking hot and the dogs were overheating along with our friends who went home very brown (red, to be honest) which is the last thing they expected when they packed their woollies and socks to visit Skye.
We all went to Jan's for cakes afterwards but I could only manage a sparkling water and cappuccino. At least it was in the shade and the dogs could lie down. I so wanted to join them. Everyone else ate loads with cream on!
After a small nap we went to the Edinbane Inn for music night (fiddles, pipes etc.). The boys were up for a good evening (where do they get the energy?), the girls were almost asleep and we left about 10.30. I don't think I will ever drink alcohol again based on how I felt today. Honest!