Sunday, April 10, 2011

Finally...Isle of Skye, part 2!

In the morning of the 19th of February, we woke up in the Isle of Skye and headed into the mountains.

Our first stop was Sligachan, where the river is said to be the tears of Scáthach. She was said to be a strong leader, who was challenged by the Irish warrior Cúchulainn. After days and days of fighting, they recognised that they couldn’t defeat each other. They ended up falling in love, but then Cúchulainn left to return to Ireland, causing Scáthach to cry. Her tears filled the river, and our guide gave us the moral of the story: Never trust an Irishman.

We were all advised to stick our faces in the water and we would have everlasting beauty and youth. I’m guessing the ice-cold water is just meant to freeze our faces into place forever and ever.

We continued into the cute town of Portree, where we stopped for pastries before moving on for our mountain hike.

I’m divided about my thoughts on this hike. On the one hand, I saw some of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, it was slightly terrifying. We were essentially scaling the mountain during some parts, with a path about a foot wide. Exhilarating, nonetheless.

Once we all finally reached the top, we stopped for photos and turned around to take the same path back. While going up was scary, walking down was much worse.

There were sections where we had to drop a little bit to get to the next part of the path. There were also portions that had two places that looked like the path, and we couldn’t remember which one was the right one. In the end, though, we all made it down. I was just thankful to have been wearing Wellington boots, and not high heels like some of the girls.

Next, we drove to the westernmost point on the island. From there, our guide said, if we were able to see far enough, the next bit of land would be Canada. A couple months before, my sister visited Newfoundland and stood on the easternmost point and waved at me in the UK, so I made sure to return the gesture from here.

We continued our drive, passing lots of cute wee houses sporadically situated around the island. This is what many think of as the idyllic Scotland, all surrounded by wilderness and away from the cities.

The weather was very erratic. One moment we would feel warmth and sunshine, and then randomly, it would be raining. Though irritating, it meant we saw tons of rainbows.

And of course, tons of sheep.

Our final stop of the day was Faerie Glen. Up until this point, we saw tons of big hills, mountains, and lochs. Here, however, we saw it all again, but in miniature form.

Some of the faerie beliefs involve them tripping hikers and making their possessions go missing. It is said the entry to the faerie world is here, so many people leave gifts to the faeries in hopes they will treat them kindly.

Some of the sacrifices were rather eerie, such as piles of animal bones.

Most of the gifts, however, were small coins, hair elastics and flowers.

It’s said that if anybody removes items from Faerie Glen, whether it is the gifts or the nature, bad things will happen to them. Our tour guide insisted that every once in a while, they have people mailing sticks or stones to the MacBackpackers office, asking for them to return it to Faerie Glen.

That's it for now. I will have the last part up sometime in the next couple of days—I swear I will!

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