Experience a wild part of Scotland with us as we wander ‘among the farthest Hebrides’
Some parts of the world are so wild and untamed that they make no pretence of adjusting themselves to make humans comfortable. Gusts of wind overturn sailing boats, curves of mountains fall and rise like sleeping animals, and the only living creatures that thrive are eagles and falcons. However, it is precisely these reasons that make the remote Outer Hebrides, the islands located almost on the edge of the world in Scotland, seem so beautiful in their act of defiance to mankind.
Getting there is more difficult and time-consuming than I had imagined it would be. After a flight and bus journey from London, we were in the small Scottish city of Inverness, with more than half way to go to our destination, the Isle of Skye. We spent a night there because the next leg of the journey was by a train that runs only in the mornings. During the train ride from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh, I could see the buildings of the town give way to lakes and cabins, which soon gave way to dense forests with not even an electric cable line to give us company. As the train arrived at Lochalsh, rain was pouring down in torrents and we were left staring at a rather smudged local bus timetable that stated that on Sundays the bus to the Isle of Skye ran only twice. Thankfully, there was only an hour’s wait for the next one. The clock ticked past the hour and the bus still didn't show up. Cold, wet and hungry, we decided to look around and see if there was any hope of finding more information near the train station. Just as we were about to make our move, a bus huffed and puffed into sight, the driver looking clearly surprised to find passengers waiting for him.
The weather in Skye changes from one extreme to the other in the blink of an eye. As we landed at the doorstep of our cabin perched on top of a hill, the merciless rain continued to drench us. We freshened up and came out ten minutes later to find the sky a piercing blue and the surrounding mountains shining all lemon and zest. Deciding to take advantage of the weather, we hiked to the mountain Storr, which has an impressive formation of rocks that have been left lying around after an ancient landslide. However, as we started climbing towards the summit, a grey cloud began to descend and we decided to abandon the climb considering that the path was unmarked and steep, with stones starting to come loose under our feet because of the downpour. We decided instead to explore the rugged cliffs that lined the sea. We walked for hours along the rocky cliff edges that lined the ocean, through boggy moors and grassy patches until we came to a clearing with a view that made the entire trip totally worth it. There was not another human being or even a lost sheep in sight. The view looked ancient, almost prehistoric. A deep and dark ocean rumbled far below us, its voice echoed by the surrounding jade mountains that were bent into tortuous shapes by the powerful forces of wind and water. A dinosaur could have emerged out of the ocean and it wouldn't have looked out of place. It was a rare glimpse of an untouched earth, a glimpse of what could have been.
‘The flag is unfurled in the direst danger, when the fairy legions from the skies above would come to the clan's aid’, goes an old Scottish legend that surrounds the castle of Dunvegan, located in the adjacent Loch (a Gaelic word for a sea inlet). There are many such myths and legends surrounding the islands. There are not many people who live on the Isle of Skye but many of them do still speak Gaelic. They live around the little town of Portree, a quiet place by the sea with buildings painted in cheerful colours of cotton candy. It also has a rather nice pub where a fire crackles merrily and the locals gather to exchange stories after a hard day’s work. We sit outside the pub with a bowl of spaghetti and watch the stars slowly start twinkling against the raven sky. I can’t help wondering if the fairies above are still watching over Skye.
Keywords: Scotland tourism