While writing this, I’m having a layover of about 3 hours in Amsterdam and hacking this in my mobile phone. All the other group members are on their ways to get home again and I’m the last one sitting in the airport terminal alone for the last hour and waiting for my connection flight. I was on a trip with some friends for seeing the beauty of the Isle if Skye. The island is part of The Inner Hebrides islands and is located at the west coast of Scotland in the Irish Sea.
As I was told before, many parts of that island look very similar to Iceland: fjords, steep hills and small mountains, few trees, green mountainsides, lots of sheep. Spring starts a bit later here, so far in the North.
We visited many famous and also less famous locations. As expected, the weather was quite mixed: warm, sunny moments were interrupted quite often by rain, which was sometimes heavy and equipped with very strong winds.
Over time, some images will pop up here. For today I attached an image of Eilean Donan Castle, located between the Scottish main-land and the Isle of Skye. It’s considered as a doorkeeper and one of the famous locations here.
Our base for exploring the island was somewhere in the middle of the island, not far away from Portree, the biggest town of the island. We had two cars for our group of seven: a Skoda Octavia and a Mercedes C220. The later wasn’t appropriate for the streets, because of the lowered down body and the low section tires. (We ordered a different car, but the rental car station did not have the ordered car).. The roads are quite small and often in bad shape. Some roads even have only one track and passing points every now and then. Usually, the sides of the roads are the worst parts: many potholes and unpaved sides. To avoid hitting a pothole you have the leave the regular track sometimes. But, when you’re encountering an other car or even s lorry, you can’t leave your track without risking an accident. So, over time we got a flat front tire 😕. Unfortunately, that happened at night and there was neither a spare tire nor a bootle of repair foam in the Mercedes. 😭
While two of us tried to get the tire repaired in the next morning, the others were trying to see another famous spot. But, after a few miles an encountering lorry occupying more room of the road (he crossed the middle line of the road and drove also in our half) and thus forcing us to yield to the unpaved side, where we hit a huge pothole and thus got a flat tire on the second car, too 😕. Thanks to a spare tire in the Skoda we were back on track after a short break. Pugh. Day saved. At the early afternoon we met with the second car and used the rest of the day as good as possible.
A few times, we noticed the midges, a kind of large mosquitos which bite very aggressively. Fortunately, we had too heavy wind for them to fly most of the time. So, no-one was harmed. Usually, they come not before end of April or early May, but probably they were earlier this year because of a few very warm days. In this context, warm is a quite relative term. As our landlord said, they have about 15-19 degrees centigrade during summer! So, the 14-16 degrees we had during several days, were quite ‘hot’ for spring time. During the rainy days the temperatures went down to below 10°C, not counting the nights.
So, I recommend dressing with several layers of clothing, starting with a t-shirt. I wore a t-shirt, a hiking pullover, a thin hiking jacket without hood, a thicker hiking jacket with hood and on top of this a windbreaker with hood. The windbreaker was not always necessary. Sometime even the t-shirt was enough. Because of the cold and heavy wind I also used sometimes a pair of Norwegian gloves and my wooden hat. Hiking trousers don’t fight the wind very good, but in my opinion that was warm enough. The advantage of such material is, it dries up extremely quick after a rain. It only lasts 10-15 minutes to dry completely even after a hard rain. During on trip we got very wet. Some of us looked like they were drowned in a barrel of water. My trousers dried up as expected, but because of the heavy wind, the rain was forced through the fabric and ran down the legs. In the end, the water ran inside the shoes. In such situations, the material makes a huge difference. When having leather shoes, drying lasts days, especially when fur-lined. I have shoes made of Goretex. Although, my shoes were completely wet from inside, they were dried up in only 3,5 hours. OK, I got some help by toilet paper and a hair drier.
Regarding shoes, I recommend hiking boots with a solid tread, so that your shoes have grip and save you from slipping. Don’t expect paved paths when heading to a sightseeing spot. Thus, use boots with a high shaft and no trainers. Despite having hiking boots, one of our group members had an accident. He went over on his ankle. Fortunately this happened in the early afternoon of your last day on Skye. So, he didn’t miss much. But, he will probably suffer from the for some weeks.
My advice: always care for good boots and proper clothing when going on a trip.