Monday, September 9

A few days away.

Photos from trips from a village some 600 miles away! For some reason I decided a few days earlier that the roads on the Scottish Western Islands looked great fun and couldn't resist the temptation to go for a drive around some.

School for Bryony, Kyran and Matthew didn't start until Friday 6 September so we had almost a week which seemed about long enough to get there and back. Just.

We left Milton Keynes at about 8:30am and parked outside the cottage I'd rented on the Isle of Skye at 7pm. I think we stopped a couple of times on the way but only for my large cup of coffee, petrol and the loo. The scenery had started to get fabulous on the A9 to Perth and it just got better and better as we drove on.

Porthnalong is a tiny place on the South West side of the island. I had chosen it pretty randomly really as there were not exactly many available at a few days' notice! It had a great view across a bay and, although a bit far from anywhere, it was a good place to stay and the cottage itself was brilliant, really modern and tidy and with room for everyone.

That evening we ate at a pub which called itself a hotel which was just a few hundred yards along the lane. I guess they cannot have had a licence to serve food there or some VAT thing meant that it came wrapped up as a 'takeaway' but they were quite happy for us to eat it there! Weird. Fish and chips or similar tasted fine, much the same as Towcester's best to be honest. It was expensive too, the first indication that food was going to be pricey.

Sunday was a pretty lazy day. We explored Glen Brittle which was more or less where we were. That was brilliant, with rock pools, tiny streams everywhere and a nice bay at the end too. We found a supermarket in the main town, Portree, and stocked up for the next day.

Monday. Still like living in a cloud with mist everywhere and even if it wasn't actually raining we got jolly wet! This time we went North and found some crazy examples of nature's architecture along some small roads in a valley between Uig and Staffin. This was th Fairie Glen, as it is called, #2 on Trip Advisor. The most popular attraction  according to TripAdvisor was Quiraing, high up in the clouds, black rock mountains and great views so we passed that too on the way.

Staffin had a beach which we explored too on the way back, calling in at Portree where we found a great bakery and restaurant for late lunch. Kilt Rock is a massively high and impressive waterfall on the road between Staffin and Portree where I took the best photo of the holiday and shuddered as the children hung over the edge of a huge drop to clear blue-green sea below. Dinner at Sligachan was OK. Really expensive again, though. Just a simple bar meal - some interesting pie and chips but over £40 for the four of us and we had no desserts, starters or anything special at all. I did look at the hotel next door to the bar but that was even crazier, courses starting at £20 each.

Tuesday. Still wet so off we set in the car again and headed West. The most westerly point is Neist Point where there is a lighthouse and, according to some reviews, a good chance to see sharks. We got there - amazing roads again with some really scary twists and turns - but had to park and then set off on a long walk to get down to the bay where the sharks might be. On a decent day that would have been no big deal but the weather was appalling and I gave up half-way with a path that stretched out before us looking totally drenched as the rain lashed across it. I just about managed the climb back up loads of steps to the top again but it did take me several minutes to get my breath back which, bearing in mind I gave up smoking some months ago now, was disappointing. I hated giving up but there were no signs of the sharks anyway.

Wednesday. We got soaked just walking across a car park to the Talisker Distillery from where I had hoped to get some miniature bottles as gifts. I found a nice half bottle for Richard who had been driving me around recently so that was one good thing but for others we needed to go to Portree again. First we took a few more tiny tracks and explored some more crazy places with names we couldn't easily pronounce but which also appeared to have Wee Tea Rooms vaguely nearby.

It was raining hard now in Portree but Bryony and I managed to hoof it round the small town and visit a few shops, getting some Skye Ale and various items for those they needed to take something back for. Then some good food at the Granary Restaurant and stocking up for the journey home.

Thursday. Back home again. Of course, the sun now shone on Skye! Damn. We just drove and drove and drove and eventually finished up home again in time for the boys to get a bit of sleep before school the next day.

A great trip, despite the weather. Expensive food, though. That would need planning next time. I am sure reasonable places with great food exist but we just weren't where they were at the right times, I guess.

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