Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Scotland: Driving Around Skye

I feel that I am not making much headway on reporting about our Scotland trip. It's time for another installment.....

Today I will take you on our drive around about half of the island, beginning at Digg and heading north around the northern tip of the island.

 Can you even believe the amazing clouds that graced the sky?! It certainly is the weather that makes or breaks one's stay on this island.

 Approaching the northern point, we came upon a tartan camper van! Camper vans were everywhere, but this was certainly one of the coolest!

Across the sea from this area, away in the far distance, would be the Outer Hebrides.

 We stopped at the Museum of Island Life which will have to be a post of its own. Here we learned more about what life was like as a crofter. I don't think I would have lasted very long!

Turning south towards Uig the rain came on! What a change!

The heather was just beautiful wherever we went!
Uig was a much bigger town than most of the villages we passed through.

A friend of ours here in Indianapolis has a brother who has been a minister for many years on the Isle of Skye. We decided we would try to find his church as we drove around. We found lots of churches, but by this point, nothing with his name on it!

The weather continued to be varied as we headed south west towards Dunvegan Castle.

Upon arrival at the castle it was necessary to have some lunch first in the cafe. Soup and rolls were the name of the game. 

As we made our way toward the Castle itself look what we found to the side of the path!!!! Aren't these the most gorgeous toadstools ever?! I've never seen anything like this in person before. I think the other tourists thought we were crazy.

Then we got to the main attraction: Dunvegan Castle, home of the Macleod family.

Like a lot of places, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside. :( But, the insides of many of these family homes are similar.

This view to the north was just breathtaking. The colors and the sky and the water. I just can't get enough of it!
After the castle we headed out to the gardens. 

They were beautifully developed around a water theme.

And there was a more formal flower garden as well.

Once again, admire the sky and the sunshine that made the scenery come to life!

We all were fascinated by the monkey puzzle tree:

Here is a lovely yellow flower:

We continued to see this gigantic "rhubarb-looking" plant all over the UK as we travelled. Can you see how large the leaves are? I want to plant it just to watch peoples' mouths open. Michael has completely vetoed it.

Here is the waterfall at the back of the water garden -- just lovely!

I had no idea that butterfly bush was such an integral part of British gardens. I can't figure out why I didn't realize this before. However, they seem to be very prevalent.

And this beautiful perennial was in bloom everywhere! I've forgotten where I've written down the name and I need to find it again. I'm really, really hoping it could grow in Indiana. It would make such a lovely addition to the fall garden.

Another beautiful butterfly bush:

We were planning to hike out to one of the white sand beaches north of the castle but the midges were horrendous and we could find NO place in the town to buy midge repellent so we had to give up on that idea and head south.

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the Black Cuillin mountains arose on the horizon.

There were absolutely stunning!

We didn't get all the way to the mountains but came upon a bookstore we wanted to stop at: Mor Books

It couldn't have been a more fun place to be! There were games for the kids, friendly owners, lots and lots of books, and even some yarn! You can see my large pile of books sitting there on the table:

One of the owners is a talented designer/seamstress and she had several of her pieces on sale as well as baskets of yarn she had dyed herself. 

 Here's another view of some of the bookshelves.

It was such a pleasant atmosphere! I'm not sure why we didn't settle in for tea and cake as well but we couldn't do that everywhere! We did spend a good hour or more browsing.

A lovely view from the bookshop window!

 And wouldn't you know it, our friend's church was just right there next door to the bookshop! That was a fun discovery!

 (We later found out that he had retired a few months or so previously and it was fortunate for us that his name was still listed on the church sign!)

Then we took a shortcut over the top of the island back towards Portree and home.

 We came upon someone's private peat cutting place -- see the wheelbarrow?

 And we finally arrived in Portree and walked down to the harbor to find Fish and Chips for dinner.

Oh yes! We found the right shop.

It was SO good!!!! We even ran into fellow Americans who, it turned out, Michael's mom had done some work for at one time! Amazing how small the world is, and how often one just "happens" to run into people like this....

 On the way back to our cottage we passed the famous Old Man of Storr stone.

And then an incredible rainbow lit the sky to our right as we drove along.

It is hard to get a camera to capture something that is just awesome in real life. At this point you can only see the two ends of the rainbow so you have to imagine the incredible beauty this was when you were standing there for real.

And then we were back at our cozy cottage and ready to get some rest for the next day's adventures.

 And now I need to get some rest for the present day adventures!!!


Sus said...

Such an amazing experience you all had! Beautiful pic's!

willow said...

Lovely pictures, I've never been to Skye but my brother went there for his honeymoon and loved it.

The name of the flowers you saw are Crocosmia. Often they are orange but if you want the tall red one, you need Crocosmia Lucifer. Its a nice idea to grow plants that remind you of holidays and I do agree with Michael, best not plant a Gunnera, great fun but very big!

Unknown said...

Love all your photos! WOW!! Gorgeous!!! I love those toadstools also....you aren't weird. ;)

Unknown said...

Your photography is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing more of your trip!

Laura Whispering said...

I visited Skye for the first time recently and this post makes me realise just how much there still is to see!

Lovely photos xo

Stephanie said...

Absolutely stunning and vivid photos!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post - I've linked to it from one I've written on Scalpay, to show the view from the other side of the Minch.

The mushrooms are called "fly agaric" and are common in Britain. We used to have them in our front garden in Aberdeen - one of the first signs of autumn.

There are lots of different varieties of crocosmia. I've planted a yellow one in my front garden. I also have some tall Crocosmia Lucifer.

I would echo willow's advice not to plant a gunnera!

The butterfly bushes are buddleia, and you often see them growing wild in empty lots, by railways, or even up in the cracks of masonry. They are a bit of a menace. I've planted a dwarf buddleia (it's currently VERY dwarf!) as my garden is too small for the regular variety. They are great for attracting butterflies and moths.

I'd never heard of Mor Books - looks like a great place! And I agree with you, it's impossible to capture how stunningly vivid the rainbows and general atmospheric conditions can be here in Scotland.

Ellen, the Bluestocking Belle said...

Beautiful! My husband and I honeymooned in Scotland and spent a few days on Skye. Your photos brought back many memories for me!