We spent last weekend in Plockton, a beautiful village on Loch Carron. It is also a mere hop to the Isle of Skye.
It is impossible to spend any amount of time in Scotland and not be instructed to go to this island. It does, however, come with caveats and warnings. My Scottish friends, all advised the taking of appropriate rain gear and bulk purchases of midge repellant. For the uninitiated the midge is a little blood sucking insect that leaves nasty bites and is the bane of the Scottish hiker. It is also the national bird of Skye.
So armed with fleeces, macs, wellies and enough midge repellant to annihilate the entire species, we went on our merry way. Of course, there is nothing predictable about Scottish weather and generalisations are always dangerous. This time we were quite happy that the locals were proved wrong. The sun came out and it was warm. Really warm. Even I wore t-shirts! All weekend! And there was a light breeze for most of our stay. Not strong enough to make you cold - but just enough to disperse the midges.
There were a few clues that we were rather lucky. Firstly, the postcards all showed beautiful views topped with angry, dark clouds, leading me to suspect that a good day on Skye is high cloud. The other was that sunscreen was incredibly difficult to come by. It clearly isn't in high demand in this neck of the woods.
We were booked to stay on a farm just outside Plockton. The decor could best be described as 'cow and collie'. Particular attention was paid to the display of the photographs of the bulls over the years, one of which watched over the toilet. Inspirational!
Our hosts were real characters. We were treated to their tales of farming, courting in the highlands, gossip from the village and their deep suspicion of anyone from 'the south'. And the breakfasts were fantastic.
But the best part was the view from our room...
That's Skye in the distance. Tomorrow, more of our explorations on the island...