The North and West of the island
Skye is made up of five main peninsulars – today we would mainly be exploring Trotternish to the North of the island, as well as Duirinish in the North West. We had visited Minginish (South West) and Waternish (North, central) the previous day.
Ten years previously, it had been a photograph, looking down towards the Old Man of Storr and out towards the Sea and the mainland, that had inspired our first visit (which included a snowy walk to the Old Man – see pictures below), and whilst we wouldn’t be walking up there again this time, I was keen to remind dad of the time we’d spent there before. The weather also promised to be rather better than the day before, but with the chance of the odd short, sharp shower.
After a leisurely breakfast (Dad loves his breakfast), and a chance for me to get a few photographs near the B&B, we set off to Portree (B on the map), the primary settlement on Skye, via the lovely single track road that heads across the centre of the island. Portree itself is a colourful town, with pretty painted houses, and lovely views out into the natural harbour. What was trickier to find was somewhere for a quick warm up drink that didn’t involve either steep, narrow stairs (a big no-no with dad that day), or drinking out of a cardboard cup outside (there was a shower approaching, so this was also not a plan). In the end we ducked into a souvenir shop to avoid the shower, and agreed we’d pick up a drink once we’d finished our little wander in Portree (a primary mission of which was to pick up a couple of gifts for family back home).
A tour of Trottenish
This peninsular, the easternmost of Skye’s three northern peninsulars, offers a real variety of scenery, from coastal cliffs, to lakes, rock pinnacles and mountains to remote settlements. There’s even a beach with fossilised dinosaur footprints. Admittedly, dad’s primary need at this stage was a cup of coffee (and ideally some cake or chocolate), as Portree hadn’t satisfied us in that manner. Before dad could have his coffee though, we wanted to get a look at (from the road) and picture of the Old Man of Storr (for old time’s sake), and also to stop and take in a couple of recommended scenic waterfalls (the alphabetically named Lealt Falls and Mealt Falls) with easy parking access. This we duly did, getting a serious hail-pelting at one of them. I was particularly impressed by the cliff waterfall at Mealt falls, which features a musical safety fence (yes it was windy enough), and views to Kilt rock. Dad decided to wait that viewpoint out in the car, as it was still wet and windy.
Finally if was coffee time (for dad as i don’t drink the stuff). We found a lovely welcome, excellent hot drinks (and chocolates) at the Skye Blue Gallery (blue knife and fork symbol on the map). Lynne – photographer, artist and owner of what I was reliably told is an excellent coffee machine – made us so welcome. Her photographic art speaks beautifully of the colours and land- and sea-scapes of Skye and other Hebridean islands, and i now have some at home!
Lynne told us that if we wanted to get down to the waterfront, then we should head to Staffin Beach (pale green camera symbol) as the road was good and there was easy access, and if we looked carefully enough there were also dinosaur footprints (we didn’t see these). She was right about the stunning coastline though. The sun had even decided to come out, although the wind was pretty fierce. Lynne also suggested heading up to the Quiraing viewpoint (E) so we could look back down to the sea and towards the mainland – again a great suggestion. From that viewpoint, we could have headed straight down to Uig, but we decided that the earlier stop would keep us going a while, and so we’d head round the road around the for north end of the peninsular. I’d remembered this as a favourite area (and one where we’d managed to get some sunshine) from a different visit with my family, and we weren’t disappointed with the dramatic scenery and views across sparkling blue sea. (More follows on Page 2)