Friday, 13 March 2015

Be a Cloud: Isle of Skye

Hopping a fence to a fantastic view.
Above the sky, clouds streak, they bob and pass along in a mild manner more befitting a dodgy old man with  walking stick than amorphous miracles of nature which humans will idly observe into definable form.

There a cow. A cat. Now a ship. Stretched into a dragon. A boy reading a book. A griffin circling a snake. Now two dragons dancing. 

The Isle of Skye is what I imagined Tir na nOg might be like if it does actually exist somewhere on this plane of the world. Remote. Forlorn but full of the sheep wool emotions brought on by picturesque forests, hills, waters and villages. 

To properly appreciate the Isle, you'll need to just find a hill. Pause. Breath and imagine yourself into another time period. I did the Isle in a day trip and perhaps that could be deemed as insufficient for true appreciation. Many travel sites, locals and past visitors recommend a minimum of three days or even up to a full week. I agree. I wish I could go back to slow down and wander. Nonetheless, any time on the Isle of Skye is million times worth it. 

The few homes in the village I landed in, known as Uig.
The few hours of daylight which I had, rendered me speechless. To the point where all was empty in a mind with generally moves at the speed cars on a race track in terms of imagination and general thoughts. The only things to exist was the world and I. I and the world. Feet sinking slightly in damp hillside, I tramped through a sheep field in search of a faerie fort said to be nearby. Instead, I found a glade with a bubbling stream and a fallen log turned bridge. Then I climbed a hill, hopped a fence and stood before the horizon. 

The sun was heavy over the water and arched off a ferry boat rumbling its way out of the harbour. Soon it settled as a backdrop to a cliff, jutting out like a great giant's fist. The wind picked up, whirling a distant flag down the way, in the harbour where sat a token petrol station and a restaurant near two cottages on the back hill. All was dark and closed for business thanks to an electrical outage which had occurred just a half hour earlier as I learned from the lone employee behind the bar at the restaurant.
So I turned my feet back out the door and wandered up and down the harbour walk. 

My only company were two grubby capped Scots gabbing away about carpentry work in front of their white lorry, a retired couple seated instead a red Peugeot and a grey beard dipping into a cigarette as he also strolled up and down the walkway. Periodically, the whispering breeze was interrupted with the staccato of seagull shouts. Time inched in this bubble. Which admittedly, for all that I love the thrill of being lost on the winds, just me and nature, I did much prefer to be back in Inverness by nightfall so I could snuggle under thick white down sheets in the old manor turned B&B I had stumbled across in search for an inviting but reasonably priced hostel. 

I wandered. Back and forth in the October breeze, feeling a stronger and stronger need to talk out loud as I am wont to do when alone. Well I wasn't entirely, but it certainly felt like it. So I did. Only to smile sheepishly at the looks the few other individuals gave me, or as cars rumbled past with windows down.
Eventually, the sole bus I could take back, before sometime late the next morning, came breezing into the harbour at exactly 5:22pm and I was back to the central town in time to catch my return coach back to Inverness.

Town of Portree
 The Isle of Skye is the sort of place you visit if you want to feel either at one with nature, alone with nature, lost in nature or all three at once. Even if you're wandering the narrow, winding streets of the main town of Portree, nature encircles it so strongly it takes all of five minutes walk in any direction to either hit water, a trail or a road surrounded by trees, eventually fields and probably sheep. Plus the occasional punctuation of a ruinous tower, windmill or cottage. 

There is much to see on the Isle of Skye; faerie forts, a castle and village life among many other things, but really, if you want to find something special, just have a wander. Grad a bus out somewhere. Then, no matter how you view adventure down the nose, you'll be guaranteed to find a place of calmness, bobbing along the wild roads of Skye like an amorphous cloud. Just being.


  1. Reading this makes me think that the Isle of Skye is the place that dreams are made of...

    1. Exactly. It is definitely the physical world's version of dreamland. I left with my imagination enlivened and spirits high, over just a few hours!