Loch Ness

Inverness to Skye: a road of monsters and castles

My dad’s alarm clock sounds like a military trumpet, and it’s rather remarkable how someone can maintain a good mood after being scared out of bed by such horror. However we had a full Scottish breakfast, an early start and plenty of good things waiting, as we drove West to Isle of Skye.

Inverness Castle Road
The sun was still out when we arrived in Inverness.

Our first stop en route was Inverness, where we briefly walked along the river and popped inside the small but cosy cathedral. We also spotted our first kilt clad Scotsman! Indeed, the day would offer a lot of clichés: rain, sheep, castles and monsters.

A man in a kilt
Sneaking a picture of this man and his kilt. My dad refused to try one on though…

Loch Ness welcomed us with rather grim weather, which was perfect for spotting Nessie. From our brief encounter I can say she is a gentle but shy lady who rather not poses for close up portraits. The lake itself isn’t particularly pretty, but then it’s conveniently en route to the West, so it would be a shame to not stop and snap some pictures.

Loch Ness
Me and my new friend Nessy

Urquhart castle is a great place for a short stroll, and there are some nice turn-offs between Inverness and the castle where you can get out of the car and on to the beach. After that, the scenery got less impressive until we turned of onto the glorious A87.

For those with lot’s of time, there are dozens of amazing hikes to be done from various turn-offs along this road. Most of them head into the valleys between the daunting hills that surround you as you drive along.

Views from the A87

Since the weather wasn’t at all kind to us, and we still had some driving to do, we opted for an easy walk that started in Morvich and went back and forth a flat path through a green valley. It would have been a lovely pick-nick break, if it hadn’t started to rain pretty hard as soon as we got out of the car. It’s also quite a pity that the track isn’t a loop, as the return journey was a little boring. It’s a 13km hike in total but the landscape doesn’t really change much throughout this distance so in general, unless your with tiny children and/or a stroller I’d suggest a different walk. This is the one I’d have tried in better weather. Glen Lichd did provide us with some stunning views, though:

There were so many sheep in this valley! The ground was often covered in feces and the air constantly full of bleating sounds. Since it was spring, many of the sheep had given birth and the lambs hopped happily through the radiantly green fields. It was a joyful sight to see!

Also: guess when it finally stopped raining. Exactly! Right after we got back at the parking lot… soaked.

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle in the rain

Our last stop before Skye Bridge was the Eilean Donan Castle, but we didn’t stay long. In need of a warm meal, we left the mainland behind and drove through ever thickening mist towards Skye’s main town: Portree. I wasn’t at all impressed with this place, as it was extremely crowded, everything seemed overpriced and the wind felt so cold it made my teeth clap.

Glad to have arrived after a long day, we had an okay burger in one of the very touristy restaurants. Most of them had queues of people waiting to be seated: reservations wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Finally we drove to Uig, where we managed to find our B&B only thanks to our GPSes. The mist had thickened significantly when we climbed from the port town up towards Kilmuir and though we knew there had to be views of the sea to our left, the only thing surrounding us were thick, saturated clouds. It made me wonder why all the buildings on Skye are painted white, when it obviously makes them much harder to find in dreary weather!

Skye waterfall
Made it to Skye and found a waterfall. However the wind was freezing! My dad – who has been an Eskimo in a previous life – wasn’t too bothered by it but I was shivering cold!

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