14.10.2011 - 14.10.2011 14 °C
Left the hostel right on 10am this morning with the rain unfortunately coming down again.. I had decided over brekky that with the rain coming down I would do a circuit of the island in my car and hope that at some point it would stop raining enough for me to get out and stretch my legs.
So my tour started with me heading north from Broadmeadow (where I’m staying) up passed Portree (the main town on the island) and towards the Qintang Mountains. I took a slight wrong turn in that instead of heading up the East Coast towards the Old Man Storr (outcropping of rocks that look like rock spires) I headed up the West Coast towards Uig. Uig is a tiny fishing town perched up on the mountains surrounding a bay. I would think very picturesque if the sun was shining. Even without the sun and a smidge of fine misty rain the little town was really pretty to look at. A bit chilly though, when I hopped out of the car at 7 deg!!!
I had borrowed a walking tour book from the hostel so knew that I wanted to find the road that lead over the top of the island towards the East Coast to enable me to stop and have a wander through the Qintang mountains. By now, the mist had really set in so by the time I found the walking trail for the Qintang the car was enveloped in light misty annoying rain! Smoko was the decision so I grabbed my trusty thermos and some bickies and had a picnic on the back seat of the car! Finally the mist reduced itself enough that I could get out and have a bit of walk, although after 20mins I decided I was already wet enough and decided to head back to the car to continue my journey and hope that the weather would clear. From the little I could see of the Qintang through the mist I would say they would be pretty spectacular. It looked like sheer rocky cliffs (quite a red/ brown colour) with some heather like vegetation. To be perfectly frank though, I couldn’t see a lot and certainly didn’t bother to get the camera out!
I made my way to the East coast to discover that some of the weather was starting to clear! The sun was shining on the nearby Rassay Islands and peaked its way through the clouds now and again on Skye. The drive down the East coast was much more pleasurable and far more picturesque (particularly because shafts of sunlight kept beaming their way through the clouds giving some pretty beautiful effects in the clouds). My next stop was to get out and see the Old Man Storr. By now the rain had cleared on the coast but it was still raining heavily in the mountains (so the Storr was covered in swirling mist). I decided to chance it and began the 2mile walk up the hill to see the rock formations. I didn’t make it all the way (because by the time I gotten half the way I couldn’t see the rock formations any more for the rain) but I did find a great spot half way up the mountain to stop and drink in the view of the Storr as well as the coastline. Honestly, the view from up the mountain was pretty amazing.. one of those views that you just know you’ll remember for ever. The Storr itself (and the other formations) were quite eerie looking with the continually swirling mist surrounding them. It was a case of ‘now you see them, now you don’t’. I’m really hoping that I managed to get at least one good shot of the pillars because they did look pretty amazing.
I rounded out my quick tour of northern Skye by having some lunch back down in Portree at this funky café that is run by an Aussie! (I swear you can’t go anywhere in the UK without finding at least 1!!) After my late lunch I decided to drive back to Broadmeadow via Dunvegan (south west of Uig but north west of Broadmeadow) to see if the West coast is as amazing as the East. Again the elements beat me… No sooner had I left Portree but the rain started again… this meant my tour down the West Coast was pretty challenging (both driving and site seeing—you can’t see much when its raining!) Probably the thing I did enjoy the most about this drive was the houses.. Each of the houses in this part (and in the north although I wasn’t paying as much attention) is one of those white washed houses with a steep pitched roof and the windows in the attic.. The two times (yep I counted) that the sun broke through the clouds on the western side the houses just lit up like little candles. Really beautiful on a backdrop of green grass and dark grey clouds! If only I could drive and shoot photos at the same time… someone needs to invent this for me (autopilot in the car so I can take photos and gawk out the window at the view)!
After such a long drive I decided to retire early to the hostel with a light supper before hitting the sack. Back to the mainland tomorrow and over to Loch Ness.