In these times of pandemonium and chaos, it is sometimes difficult to find a bit of calm, respite from the uncertainty. It is time to reminiscence, and indulge in enjoyable events of the past, bask in their glory. I am thinking of our wonderful time at Isle of Skye in September last year.
I was looking for a time away from my daily monotony, a time away from my work from home desk, a time out in to the nature, perhaps a sensory challenge. Nature and woods with its multitude of sights and sounds changing with the season, has a way of drawing me out of the slumber. We do go out in the nature , trails and walks, it is our way of getting fresh air, a bit of outdoors, but it is not for long. It was that mellow time of the year, before the onset of winter and darker evenings, when the leaves and trees are a range of colors, there is an all round glow of yellow and oranges, the leaves breaking away gently from the trees, carried away by autumn breeze and finally findings its way to the earth, the gentle swishing the boots make over the russets and pinks on the ground, now and then there is a thud of a conker landing on to the ground, and there is a hint of tranquility hanging about in the air. Its hard not to yearn for the outside. We have had our days out in nature earlier in the Summer by way of picnics in the woodlands. Perhaps the heart desired a bit of more.
We ventured out a bit farther in the autumn, with a road trip to Isle of Skye. The drive from London to Skye is a very long one , so we decided to break the journey somewhere outside New Castle and drive over two days. First part of the journey was in the evening, starting right after finishing our work. There was a bit of excitement after logging off from work, packing a little bit of picnic (Tamarind rice and some spicy idlis and a pot of yoghurt) for the road, filling up the water bottle, and of course loading our luggage in to car. I was all excited and apprehensive equally, for the trip ahead. Looking at the packed luggage I felt like I was Tristan from the book Stardust, going beyond the wall, in to the magical forest, in search of the fallen star. The drive was quiet fun, listening to songs on the radio, watching the autumnal Sun disappearing in to the horizon leaving the evening sky orange, stopping over at welcome break for a coffee, stepping indoors with a face mask and sanitizing the hands was all part of the adventure.
The next morning after a warm breakfast, we started the next leg of journey it was a crisp sunny September morning. The skies were azure blue with a bit of light fluffy clouds when we drove past the blue Scottish flags fluttering and welcoming us. The weather started to change as we drove along, grey clouds started covering the sky and it started to rain. It rained all the way to Isle of Skye and it was raining most of the time when we were in Scotland. I have always loved rains, the wonderful pitter-patter of raindrops, the rhythmic gush of the rain falling on the the ground, and the smell of rain is a joy, as it awakens the senses, washing away all the burdens and worries with it. Have you ever walked in the pouring rain, without a care in the world ? I have been told off many a times as a child for getting outdoors in pouring, but I love being drenched in the rains. And during this trip, I got soaked up in the rain to my heart s content. Scotland drenched in rain and mist looks elemental and moody. The rugged mountains covered with autumn Heather looked ravishingly beautiful and equally broody. The gushing waterfalls in the mountains, plunging down with a thunderous roar were adding to its phenomenal charm. We reached Portree early in the evening, drenched in rain from head to toe, having stopped on several locations to take in the beauty and just stand in the rain, listening to the pitter patter of rain and the whirling mountain breeze. It rejuvenated us completely, nature with its compelling power has an ability to revive a tired body and soul very gently.
Portree , is the Capital of Isle of Skye and is a quaint town with colorful buildings, beautiful bay , surrounded by high cliffs. It is the perfect place to be, venture out to access the other islands. Due to the weather conditions we did not venture out in to the sea to see other islands, may be some other day . We were very happy to be just stay put in the cottage, venture out in the rains for walks, wandering around in the neighboring area, having a meal at the local pub and taking the nature.
Neist Point Lighthouse
Neist Point Lighthouse is a spectacular spot, with a backdrop of scenic high cliffs and is one of the well known lighthouse of Scotland. The Lighthouse was built in early 1900s as a manned Light house, now it is unmanned and is owned by the Northern Lighthouse Board. From the carpark a walk up a concrete road to the light house, which takes approximately 40 minutes. On the way back from Neist point, we stopped at Red Roof Cafe, which is a small vegan restaurant, with a few tables which serves tasty vegan food. The owner who cooks and serves herself, is a very kind and soft spoken lady. We had a Dal and Spinach soup, masala chai and a pistachio cake . The food was absolutely delicious.
Claigan Coral Beach
Another beautiful spot is the Claigan coral beach in Dunvegan. We drove in to Dunvegan around mid morning, after a lovely lunch at a cafe , before heading towards the beach. The beach is a around 25 to 30 minutes walk from the car break. The dazzling white ‘sand’ of Claigan Coral Beach, is visible as you cross the green pastures towards the beach. The white sand is not sand but deposit of small pieces of ‘coralline’ hard seaweed called maerl that is crushed by wave action, dried and sun bleached on the shore. The beach was very quiet, and it was wonderful to listen to the waves gently lapping on to the shores.
The 21 arches of viaduct made famous by the Harry Potter Movies, is part of the Great British Railway Journeys. It is often referred as the Harry Potter bridge, which is a spectacular bridge and an engineering marvel, even if you do not know the movie. A Jacobite train runs every day from Fort William to Malliag and back to Fort William , is considered greatest journeys. We took the train from Fort William, with lovely views of Ben Nevis, the train goes over the viaduct across the Loch Shiel, crossing Glenfinnan village, Arisaig village and to Malliag. Malliag is a fishing town, with ferry terminals with services to Isle of Sky and other small isles. You have hour and a half to explore, before the return to Fort William. We walked around and went up to a small view point on the cliff giving unhindered view of the bay and the town. We stopped over at a restaurant to grab something to eat before heading back to Fort William.
On our drive back to London, we stopped over at Edinburgh. We paid a visit to the famous Armchair Bookstore, it is a second hand bookshop. It is very popular with instagrammers and deals in rare and vintage books which are pre owned, a few of the books which are from 18th Century. Its a lovely bookstore, with an even more wonderful collection of books. It was a perfect ending to our few days of Travel getaway.
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca