Just when we think that the Scottish scenery cannot get more enticing, well, it does. Welcome to the Isle of Skye.
We look forward to taking a break and resting a bit in a remote, self-catering cabin. This one sits in farm country on a coral beach at one of three peninsulas that mark the end of Skye.
A flock of sheep follow their shepherd past our porch. We expect to see herding dogs doing their herding thing. Instead, a hearty young woman comes running and yelling behind the flock, keeping the sheep and the shepherd moving.
After cooking the last of our fresh caught langoustines, we pull ourselves away from the cabin for a tour of Dunvegan Castle, a short drive into the town of Dunvegan. This is the oldest, continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been home to the Chiefs of the clan of MacLeod for over eight centuries.
Priceless works of art, wood carvings, silver candlesticks, furniture, and other treasures all about the castle carry unimaginable worth.
The dungeon, built next to the kitchen, adds a torturous smell of cooked meals for the unfortunate one dying a long, slow death of exposure in the hole below.
Time to hit the road onward to the “Quiraing.” Once again, the Scottish Highland scenery excites us during a walk along the most exhilarating hiking trail thus far.
Winds over 30mph flap our rain jackets like kites. “This is the only time I’m glad that I gained extra weight!” Marilynn shouts, as the wind tries to blow her away. Ah, but the vibrant views blow our mind and we be on a natural high.
I wander off onto a side trail, thinking that it loops around and connects with the main. Marilynn does not follow along as there was nothing for her to grab on the trail for anchoring down. Too far out to turn back, a sudden updraft flips my left eyelid inside out for a moment. Then the path ends at a farmer’s fence, where I spot a couple of rams at the top of the hill.
The rams give me hope, and climbing up this steep grade fries my thighs. I reunite with Marilynn on the main trail at the needle landmark, where the wind blows so strong that the mist of rain feels like needles puncturing your face. Marilynn cannot stand up in such wind, as she did not gain quite enough weight yet, so she maneuvers on all fours for traction.
Afterwards, sunshine and blue skies surround our drive as we leave the Isle of Skye for a one night stay in the small village of Plockton.
While celebrating in the pub beneath our hotel room with friendly locals, one fellow says, “You can experience all four seasons in a few minutes here in the Highlands.” True words.
The dogs are friendly here too, and more interested in pull toys than photo worthy scallops.
Time to head inland, through the mind-blowing views of Glen Coe, a glen of volcanic activity.
Come with us to the city of Perth, home of the Sottish Black Watch Museum. I hope to track whatever information available about my grandfather, who served in this elite unit long ago. Thus far, the only tracking success I have had comes from the wall of a pub, and depicts the royal ancestry of our late dog, Jack, known in close circles as “Jackaroo.”
Thank you, Abundant Universe!