With Covid lockdown lifted (at least for now) but international travel still looking like a Very Bad Idea for the rest of the year, the Boon Companion and I are back to travelling around Scotland. Our most recent trip was to Kylerhea, at the eastern end of the Isle of Skye.
It’s not a particularly easy place to get to. From the rest of Skye, it’s reached by a scenic, tortuous, single-track road, the last section of which you can see in the image above.
From the mainland, in summer, it can be reached from the palindromic village of Glenelg, via the little six-car ferry that plies back and forth across the Kyle Rhea narrows. The tide rips through this narrow strait at a rate of knots, such that the ferry occasionally has to travel almost sideways between its two piers.
But Glenelg is connected to the rest of Scotland by another scenic, tortuous, single-track road.
So it’s an interesting place to get to. But once there, we were comfortably installed in a self-catering “cottage” with a fine view over the narrows to the mainland.
The weather was … well … Skye in May. So a bit of mixed bag, but we had a period of sunshine every day, as you’ll glean from the photographs.
We did our usual thing of driving somewhere and then spending a few hours walking through the scenery, but we did also need to keep pulling over to admire the views along the way, too.
From the little village of Plockton we walked along the coast through an honest-to-god rhododendron forest, to the baronial pile of Duncraig Castle, which, like Dunrobin Castle, has its own little railway station, complete with an octagonal wooden waiting room (first-class only, I imagine).
On another day we wended our way past the Talisker Distillery to reach the lovely little Talisker Bay.
The sand at Talisker is a slightly surreal mix of volcanic black and cockleshell white, which sorts itself continuously into new patterns as the tide ebbs and flows.
And we drove past the striking war memorial at Glenelg to reach the brochs of Gleannbeag.
I’ve written about Scottish brochs before, when I made my Three Brochs Tour during lockdown, but now I can give you an impression of what the original structures must have looked like. The view of Dun Troddan, above, shows the complex structure of the walls, which contained internal stairs and what seems to have been a passive ventilation system so that rainwater which penetrated the outer drystone wall did not make the interior space damp.
On the wildlife front, we had a few distant deer, a white-tailed eagle above the Talisker road, and this little fellow, who clonked off the picture window one evening:
It might be a Willow Warbler, it might be a Chiffchaff. Their song is reportedly the best way to tell them apart, but it was understandably not in the mood for singing. But after a while it had a little experimental hop around (straightening those alarmingly bent toes), gave me a reproachful look, and flew off.
So. Our first trip of 2021, after a lockdown cancellation earlier in the year. There are more planned—we’ll see how that turns out.