The Most Enchanting Walk on Skye

The Isle of Skye is a place of raw, stunning beauty. It is truly a feast for the eyes. Though I still prefer the feast found in Provence, Bourgogne, Dordogne, Alsace, and really all of France, Skye is beautiful, remote, peaceful, and calm. It’s a part of us now.

DSC00755

On the last day of a trip, we usually repeat our favorite thing. And the decision was easy—Talisker Bay.

118

The Talisker Bay walk is an easy 20-minute walk that takes you on a path surrounded by mountains and sheep to a gorgeous waterfall at the sea, making an impression that will stay with you.

DSC00601.JPG

If in the area, you might as well combine the walk with a tour of the Talisker Distillery beforehand. The tour was fascinating. As the saying goes, “Today’s rain is tomorrow’s whisky.”

DSC00529.JPG

The bay walk must be done in the evening in order to see the sunset, as it will be enchanting indeed.

DSC00770

À bientôt!

Avernish Lodge—Stay Somewhere Extraordinary

DSC00221.JPG

Extraordinary is the theme at Cool Stays, a site that makes looking for a vacation rental nothing but pure enjoyment. Instead of having to search through endless accommodations to find that special one, every accommodation is something special. Thus, we chose the Avernish Lodge for our stay in Scotland.

DSC00210

Located on the banks of Loch Alsh, a mere eight miles from the Isle of Skye, lies the stunning, secluded Lodge.

DSC00204

From the bedroom windows, you can even see the iconic Eilean Donan Castle.

DSC00194.JPG

Oh if only we could live here.

DSC00202

DSC00220À bientôt!

The Old Man of Storr—A Scottish Icon

106.JPG

There’s a reason why this hike is one of the most popular and photographed sites on the Isle of Skye. With massive rock pinnacles towering amid rolling green hills, valleys, and mountains, no wonder this has been the site for many science-fiction films, as it looks as though you are on another planet! Yes, stunning scenery and dramatic landscapes set the stage. Located on the Trotternish Ridge, just north of Portree, the Old Man of Storr hike begins.

DSC00614.JPG

072DSC00621.JPG

We were considering skipping it, thinking it may not be all it’s cracked up to be. So glad that we went! It wasn’t overly crowded on a mid-October day. But I hear it is unbearable in the summer, as Skye has become more discovered. The walk is rated medium in difficulty. With good hiking boots and a raincoat, it’s suitable for anyone with average fitness. There are plenty of spots to stop and catch your breath if needed. The path does get quite muddy and slippery from the rain of course; so caution is needed. We had a fair amount of sunshine on our October day but did encounter a heavy rain shower once we reached the top. While waiting it out for 10 minutes, the sun came out.

DSC00622

075

It probably takes about an hour and a half to reach the top. Once you make it, the last section is a bit of a rock scramble. You can stop here or crawl a little on all fours like I did. After this, it’s a must to veer off on the path to the left of the Old Man as you are facing it. Follow the path down a little and then back up for breathtaking views that will make you think you are in Switzerland. This path eventually reconnects with the main path to take you back down.

099.JPG

We were originally torn between the Old Man of Storr hike and the Quiraing. We chose Storr, being that the Quiraing was rated difficult. Now that we conquered the Old Man, we are ready—boots and all—for the Quiraing because the scenery looks even more amazing. Check out this family’s beautiful photos of Storr and the Quiraing for inspiration.

DSC00638.JPGDSC00629.JPG

And at the end of our hike, the Tea Pot was waiting in a parking area nearby, where we had the most delicious sandwich that I was skeptical about at first—Scottish cheddar and raw onion in a hot dog bun. Crazy good.

DSC00640.JPG

DSC00643À bientôt!

Scotland’s Mesmerizing Fairy Pools

DSC00512.JPG

Most visitors to the Isle of Skye plan to visit the popular Fairy Pools. And you should too! Rain or shine, I was going. And it was mesmerizing to say the least.

031.JPG

After leaving the parking lot and walking the trail a little ways, you come to a gushing river crossing with three slippery rocks overflowing with water that you must cross in order to proceed. First thought. Now, what could possibly go wrong here? Yes, it is treacherous! After searching for some time for another way across and studying the strategy of others in how to do it without falling, we said: “Let’s go! Make it quick and get it over with!” Thankfully, we escaped a fall and were on our way. Though on our way back, it was sad to see one young person down while the Mountain Rescue team was making its way down the trail to carry him out. Here’s a thought. How about a small bridge instead of  rocks covered in gushing water? Or is there no fun in that?

DSC00462.JPG

After the treacherous water crossing, the rest is easy. It is a moderate walk—with good hiking boots—amid beautiful glistening pools of water and ominous mountains lurking behind.

DSC00452

DSC00424.JPG

DSC00499.JPGDSC00440

When we got to the end of the Fairy Pools, my husband naturally wanted to keep going despite the sign.

DSC00491.JPG

So we continued on a little further until the only way to continue was to wade through water. Seeing the rain clouds coming and being the mountain “experts” that we are, we decided it would be best to make our way back. After all, we still had to cross the treacherous rocks at the end.

For more information on the Fairy Pools, located near the village of Carbost on the road to Glen Brittle at the foot of the Black Cuillins, the Isle of Skye.com has a wealth of information.

À bientôt!

Scotland’s Captivating Isle of Skye

DSC00305.JPG

Filled with raw, rugged, breathtaking landscapes, this 50-mile-long island is one of the largest of Scotland. Voted as the fourth best island in the world by National Geographic, the Isle of Skye is a hiker’s paradise. Just ask the Munro baggers—hikers who are striving to climb all 282 Munros, mountains that are over 3,000 feet. From majestic mountains to breathtaking waterfalls to the sea, the lochs, and the moors, the scenery is dramatic to say the least. This isle of beauty is a photographer’s dream.

DSC00646.JPG

We were told by a local: “You don’t come to Scotland for the weather!” And to that, we have to add: “That’s why you go to Provence!” Though it does rain nearly every day on the isle, the weather can change every five minutes. One minute it may be raining and the next the sun is shining, at least for a few minutes. We had no trouble in the month of October, as it mostly rained only during the night or in the early morning hours. Rain was quickly replaced by spectacular rainbows, and the sheep didn’t seem to mind.

DSC00333

DSC00311DSC00608DSC00316

Driving for hours a day around the isle seemed like minutes as we were captivated by the spectacular scenery. Although at one point, I did have to wonder where in the world we were when the sign said we were entering Sleat peninsula. Here is an introduction to Skye.

DSC00664

À bientôt!

Plockton—The “Jewel of the Highlands”

DSC00256.JPG

“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Provence anymore!” Far away from the land with over 300 days of sunshine a year, our travels take us to the misty, captivating land of Scotland—a land of rolling hills, majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, and more sheep than there are people. Travel along as we visit the “Jewel of the Highlands”—the picturesque village of Plockton.

DSC00685.JPG

DSC00686.JPG

Sitting on the shores of Loch Carron lies this sleepy little village with its whitewashed chocolate-box cottages and photo opportunities for days. From boats bobbing in the calm waters and picturesque islands off the shore, not to mention the chance of spotting a seal or an otter, this village is a place to stop and explore.

DSC00697.JPG

DSC00691.JPG

There are several scenic walks around the village, which take you through open moorland to vistas overlooking the sea and through enchanted forests. Ian’s walk is an easy hike that offers beautiful views of the sea. The Woodland walk takes you through a forest with tranquil views of Plockton. The marked shoreline path takes you to Duncraig Castle. And last but not least, most definitely walk the peaceful country road above the village, looking down on the loch and charming string of cottages.

DSC00294.JPG

For home-cooked comfort food at its best, stop at the cozy Plockton Inn. The menu changes daily from a selection that includes fish-and-chips, shepherd’s pie, fish pie, fish soup with tomato and basil, and braised beef and potatoes. All were excellent. But the fish pie was outstanding. It was a smoked fish with potatoes and vegetables in a crust. There is also the Plockton Hotel and the Plockton Shores restaurant, both serving fresh and delicious food. The carrot and coriander soup at the Plockton Hotel was memorable.

If venturing to the Highlands on your way to the Isle of Skye, stop at the “Jewel of the Highlands.” Like us, you might even find your car surrounded by a herd of Highland cattle as you make your way around the winding roads of the village.

DSC00238

DSC00274DSC00286

À bientôt! Or see ye efter! (as they say in Scotland)