Wild swimming and seals in Skye

Throughout this trip, I’ve seen some of the loveliest countryside in the world. While I adored the prettiness of Chichester and the Lakes, and the gorgeous green of Wales, the wild beauty of Scotland satisfied a longing I didn’t even know I had. The Isle of Skye combines towering hills and wild heather, the black waters of the lochs, the slate-grey sea and skies, white “wee bothies” and the stunning greens you find elsewhere in the UK in a kind of untamed beauty that I’ve never seen anywhere else. We stayed four days on Skye and I loved every minute of it. The journey from the Lakes was long (note to others – you have to book a spot on the ferry to Skye, otherwise you’ll find yourself backtracking three hours’ worth of driving to get across the Skye Bridge… just saying) – like 10 hours long. But I have to say the kids were fantastic (Souljourneyboy had arranged the luggage in the 7-seater in such a way that no child was touching another. It paid off big time). And with photo opportunities like this we had to keep stopping anyway:

Many times we had to slow down and give way to the sheep!
Many times we had to slow down and give way to the sheep!

The Fairy Pools

Our first outing on Skye was to see the famous Fairy Pools, at the foothills of the Black Cuillans. This was such a wonderful day out. They are just gorgeous:

One of the waterfalls at the Fairy Pools.
One of the waterfalls at the Fairy Pools.

I’d told the kids the local lore which holds if you swim in the pools you become a selkie, so Little Miss was the first to brave the near-freezing water:

She's a selkie now!
She’s a selkie now!

 

The Fairy Pools are clear as glass and just stunning.

The water was such an interesting shade of blue-green.
The water was such an interesting shade of blue-green.

Wildlife boat trip

We decided to book a boat trip to see some of the famous wildlife up close. The beginning of this trip was somewhat worrisome, as we could not make head nor tail of the skipper’s thick Scottish brogue as he told us something very important about life vests and boats. Fortunately we had need of neither, and soon we were speeding cross the sea, which is unlike any colour I’ve seen before. It looks black, and cobalt blue where the light strikes the surface. Anyway while you can never really guarantee what you’ll see in a wildlife tour, we were delighted to see white-tipped eagles:

Luckily we had the camera out at just the right moment to capture an eagle fetching his dinner!
Luckily we had the camera out at just the right moment to capture an eagle fetching his dinner!

And we also saw seals! My favourite animal.

I love seals!
I love seals!

As well as some other sea creatures:

Bookworm was trying to be excited about holding a crab :)
Bookworm was trying to be excited about holding a crab 🙂

Dunvegan Castle

The seat of Clan Macleod, Dunvegan is a wonderful little castle. The grounds and castle were just the right size for us to really enjoy, and I particularly liked the game they had arranged in the castle for the kids, where they had to search for a key in each room. Such a simple game, but loads of fun for them. Sadly we couldn’t take pictures from inside the castle, but my favourite item was the castle’s treasure – the fairy flag, which legend holds was given to the MacLeods  by the fairies to protect the Clan.

The gardens were delightful, and the best castle gardens I’ve been to. They were wild and rambling, and just perfect:

IMG_4691

 

The water gardens at the castle.
The water gardens at the castle.
I loved all the little hidden walkways in the woodland.
I loved all the little hidden walkways in the woodland.
Beautiful Dunvegan Castle!
Beautiful Dunvegan Castle!

Exploring Portree and the countryside

Driving around on Skye is like being inside one giant Kodak moment. Some of the best pictures we took were just us pulling off on the side of the road:

IMG_4655

 

We also loved the little working harbour of Portree which is sweet and quaint but kind of gritty as well.

The famous coloured buildings on the Portree Harbour.
The famous coloured buildings on the Portree Harbour.

All in all, the Isle of Skye is my happy place 🙂

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