The Isle of Skye

(Note: to set the time perspective, this trip occurred on the day of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.)

After a somewhat unexciting breakfast - although we did sample another Scottish tradition black (AKA blood) pudding…and not again, we left for a day-long bus trip to the Isle of Skye. It is due west of Inverness in the inner Hebrides.
Everything we saw today, a good portion of which was from bus windows, is the incredible scenery, flora and fauna of this area, as well as learning a wealth of information for this blog. Since we were in a seat, listening to our wonderful guide, I even took notes! So just skip to the pictures if it is TMI.
Skye originally was south of the equator and migrated north over a period of 3 million years. It is now on the same latitude as Kodiak island in Alaska but with much mellower temperatures due to the air currents. It has, give or take about 11,000 people gradually recovering after a steep decline over the years.

Skye means " misty", or " cloudy" in Gaelic (here pronounced GAL-ic, unlike in Ireland where it is GAY-lic) which is still used a lot here. Every sign is in both English and Gaelic. And if that isn’t hard enough, comprehending accents range from straining to understand the words to totally incomprehensible!

We stopped at some beautiful falls and were lucky to have a wee bit of fall foliage in our picture. Also admired some Highland cows, here called " hee-lind coos".
After a long beautiful ride and going over the bridge to Skye we picked up our guide Cullen MacDaniel, a true Scot.
Next stop was the picturesque fishing town of Portree. Hardly anything was open, and after using the pay toilets ( first time we experienced this on our trip), ate our boxed lunches and walked around. Sooo quiet, only a few small bus loads of tourists like us enjoying the sites with only one small fish and chips stand open near the water. The Scots in the Highlands don’t seem to think too highly of the Royals, although we did see a few flower tributes in places.
Then a ride up a steep narrow road that reminded us a bit of the Amalfi coast (but with saner drivers). That brought us to a little town with a small cemetery, housing among others, Flora MacDonald, a legendary Scottish heroine who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape from English pursuit after the tragic Battle of Culloden.
Our last stop in Skye before going homeward was at Kilt Rock. This is a outcropping that is supposed to look like a kilt. It was a picturesque photo opp, along with the local mountains nearby that showed evidence of the "peat mining" in the area. Most people use oil now, but some still strip large swathes of earth,keep turning it over to accelerate the drying process before using it as fuel ( or making whisky).

Back on the mainland we made one last photo-op stop in Kyle at Elena Donan Castle (yet another Scottish castle).
This was a great day and also the longest one we’ve had, getting back to Inverness around 8 pm and eating dinner in the restaurant downstairs. Although the food was pretty good, the manager of the restaurant was extremely rude. Maybe he had a long day too.