europe,  scotland,  travel

Big Skye – Day 8


After a warm and cozy sleep, we awoke to a lovely breakfast provided by our hosts. David, naturally, opted for black pudding, bacon and eggs, while I went a bit adventurous (for me), and chose smoked haddock with a poached egg. In my head, I assumed it would be something akin to eggs benedict (egg with a bit of meat scattered about); however, it was a big full fillet with an egg on top.While tasty, it turned out to be a bit too much fish for me to handle first thing in the morning. After saying our goodbyes to our kindly hosts, we packed up our car and headed northward to the Isle of Skye.

The scenery was verdant and lush–beautiful rolling hills dotted by farms and the ubiquitous sheep. We thought it might be a good idea for me to get a bit of practice driving in case I needed to later now (such as on the day of the distillery tours). Honestly, I wasn’t so much disturbed by being on the wrong side of the road so much as by not knowing where the left side of the car was, which made driving on narrow roads an interesting challenge. I was doing fine for awhile until I momentarily dipped off the road edge, which sent the car a-wobbling a bit. Thankfully, I was able to control it, but it did certainly rattle the nerves. After awhile, I eventually had David drive again, as it was a bit too stressful for me to be able to enjoy the scenery. A rather surprising fact about British roads, even relatively narrow ones with only one lane each way, have speed limits of 60 mph–highway speeds! Makes for navigating relatively narrow roads a bit nerve-wracking.

We continued onwards through the countryside, winding our way northwards until we reached the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle, a 13th century situated on a small tidal island at the edge of a loch. We didn’t have plans to go inside, but we thought it’d be a nice place to stop and stretch our legs. We munched on cheese and crackers to tide us over before setting off again. We were just a short jaunt away from the Isle of Skye, connected by an arching bridge. I particularly wanted to go out to see the western edge of Skye, namely Neist Point, so we headed off in that general direction.

The landscape was at first rather bleak, with hills covered in heather and not much else. However, as we wound through the hills, the countryside became increasingly verdant. We finally caught sight of the coast, which was lined by sheer cliffs in the distance. In order to reach Neist Point, we eventually turned off the main road onto a single track road, barely wide enough for one car, that had passing places every few 100 yards. Other than dirt roads, we decided it was probably the tiniest road we’d ever driven on. Despite not being the one driving, my driving stress was certainly elevated, as there were more than a few blind summits and turns that we encountered and a fair number of people going the opposite way that needed to pass us. Finally, I breathed a sigh of relief only to have my breath taken away again at the cliffs of western Skye.

We scampered around the cliff edge overlooking Neist Point. The weather cooperated with us nicely, with the clouds breaking and giving us a glimpse of actual blue sky (not bad for the famously rainy Skye). We would have loitered for a bit longer but we needed to head back to the other side of the island to check-in to our B&B, and it had taken us a lot longer than anticipated with the small roads (and all the stopping for photo opportunities). We turned around and headed back to the southeast of the island, stopping briefly to grab a quick coffee for David. We were staying at another Air B&B spot, Strathallan B&B, in the hamlet of Lower Breakish. I always love rural directions that involve navigating to signposts and crossroads. We did have a bit of difficulty finding the place, circling through numerous times (signposts that are identical and need to be numbered, like the “second one after the restaurant” make it a bit tricky), until we finally found it.

We were given a lovely room, with a beautiful, almost high-tech bathroom with heated floors and a towel warmer. After all the driving of the day, we didn’t really feel like driving out to find a restaurant. Thankfully, there was a well-reviewed restaurant on the main road, just a 10-minute walk away. We walked back through the quiet country roads to Red Skye Restaurant. Our host had suggested making a reservation, and I’m glad we did, as it filled up shortly after we arrived. Built in an old schoolhouse, it was a lovely spot, and we were glad to eat after our epic day. I started with woodland mushrooms in a creamy garlic sauce on brioche toast, while D couldn’t resist haggis bon bon (battered haggis), which were both super delicious. For our main, David couldn’t decide between the rump of lamb or the venison, but wasn’t actually sure what “treacle cured” venison involved. The chef actually came out and informed us it involves being marinated in molasses (another word for treacle). Convinced by our chef’s word, he opted for the venison, and I ordered the breast of duck (with mashed potatoes, naturally). Full and sated, D finished off the meal with a dram of Drambuie, a Scottish malt whisky liqueur, which strangely enough reminded him a bit of Jaegermeister. He also couldn’t resist ordering the raspberry creme brûlée. We waddled off back the thankfully mostly downhill roads to our B&B to turn in for the night.

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