14 July 2011

Vacation: On the Isle of Skye

Our first stop on Skye was a grocery store. Mom was amazed to discover that the use of a shopping cart cost one pound.

Needless to say, we chose to use a handheld basket.

One of the things Mom and I enjoy doing on trips to other countries is to stop in a grocery store or department store and look for differences. We also try to buy some cookies or candy or potato chips that are not available in the United States.

Since we were in Scotland, I bought an Irn-Bru, which is a Scottish soda.

Drinking it was a unique experience - it smelled like Big Red, looked like Sunkist and tasted like orange-flavored Sprite. Not bad, but not what I was expecting.

After our brief visit to the grocery store, which wasn’t all that spacious - about the size of a large house, we drove on to Greenacres, our bed and breakfast in Portree.

For supper that night, we went to Portree and ate at a hotel in town. I had beef stew with neeps and tatties - otherwise known as turnips and potatoes - and discovered I really liked the turnips.

On our first full day on the Isle of Skye, we set out - with Mom driving - to search for Kilmuir Graveyard and Duntulm Castle. These proved a bit difficult to find, especially since the road we were on was narrower than the car, included passing places every 500 feet or so, and was in worse shape than the gravel road I grew up on. But this road was blacktopped!

The road also went up the side of a hill, so Mom and I were convinced we were going to die. It was as scary as Independence Pass, especially when the cars we met coming from the other direction refused to slow down.

We survived but only just.

To take our minds off that awful road, we drove to Dunvegan Castle, the home of the MacLeod clan chiefs since at least the 1500s.

The best part of this castle was that it had a dungeon in it. A real dungeon! The prisoner would be dragged up to the third floor, shoved into a little room and dropped down a hole (or maybe forced down a ladder, but I saw no ladder) into the pit.


On another floor, there were some back stairs from the kitchen. Along the wall was a small slit that allowed the smells of the food to waft into the dungeon so the prisoner could get a whiff of the food he would not be eating and cause further torment.


That’s punishment.

We also wandered around the grounds of the castle. Even though it rained off and on while we walked through the grounds, the flowers glowed.

We saw rhododendrons in colors we didn’t even know they could.

Next we drove down another narrow road (but not as narrow as that earlier road!) to find Knock Castle. This castle is a ruin on the side of the road and not set up for tourists. Mom had read something online that said you could walk up to it and explore at your own risk. But we couldn’t figure out how to do this.

The Isle of Skye’s scenery is breathtaking.

It seemed to change as the color of the sky changed - dramatic with gray storm clouds, peaceful with bright blue sky.

We visited another hotel restaurant for hamburgers. Mom and I were hungry for one at this point in time. Unfortunately, they weren’t cooked all the way through. The manager comped our meals, but we were still wanting a hamburger.

The next day we visted Armadale Castle - a ruin with only walls and a staircase remaining.

Perfect. I loved this place. The view of the sea was stunning.

The grounds were amazingly beautiful.

And there were even peacocks!

After that visit we took the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig and back to mainland Scotland -

which sounds odd considering we were going from one island to another.

No comments: