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Postcards from Scotland // Isle of Skye

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Personal, Travel

I feel like most blog posts and trip reports gloss over the imperfections or mishaps to tell a story that is almost too good to be true. In the case of our adventure on the Isle of Skye, it was the imperfections and mishaps that made our experience so memorable and actually made the place itself so absolutely stunning.


For starters, we were on Skye for what turned out to be a portion of a hurricane which caused rain and wind like you wouldn’t believe. Arriving at a trailhead for the hike to Old Man of Storr, a famous rock formation overlooking the Sound of Raasay, we saw a few other travelers diving back into their cars and speeding off as if in retreat. We were glad at first at the prospect of having this place to ourselves but then Anna opened her door and the wind almost ripped it off the car. We laughed nervously and yelled “this is crazy!” back and forth while throwing on every layer we brought. As we hiked uphill, the elevation added to our exposure so that it felt as though we were walking into a storm that was only getting worse. We agreed on a destination which was an overlook with panoramic views of the entire area. Turns out that this overlook was more of a saddle in the landscape that acted as a perfect funnel for the winds that were blasting across this side of the island. When we reached the saddle, we literally crawled on hands and knees to keep from getting pushed over by the wind. We huddled behind a rock pile as if we were in a war zone. This was one of those times when you are given a forceful reminder at the power of nature. Looking directly into the wind, the rain hitting our faces felt like little pebbles being shot through cannon. At one point, I army crawled over to another rock to take a photo of the scene and the wind literally pulled my rain pants down until they were below my knees. We must have looked like complete idiots running around on top of ridge while a hurricane was building nearby in the north Atlantic. That said, we¬†enjoyed an amazing view – albeit from our hiding place – and did in fact have this incredible place all to ourselves. So, yes, it was definitely worth it.


Before our harrowing journey to Old Man of Storr, we caught a break in the storm and ran to see the Fairy Pools along the River Brittle on the west side of Skye. I say “ran” because we were losing daylight fast and could see some monster storm clouds coming in. The Fairy Pools are a gorgeous series of waterfalls that have a fast flowing river on the downstream side and a slow, meandering stream on the upstream end. From the top, we stared into a what looked like a half crater that was actively collecting rainfall and funneling it into the meadow where we stood. By turning 180 degrees we could see down the long valley where the river had carved out a curvy path to the not so distant coastline.


So looking back, we did not have perfect weather or great light and we spent most of the trip caked in mud up to our shins. It would be easy to leave out those details when describing our trip to Skye but at the end it all contributed to our experience. At the end, we loved every minute of our wind-whipped, mud-soaked trip to the Isle of Skye.

~ Jack


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