Quote for the day, "The one thing about traveling when it's cold is, the more clothes we wear in layers, the less our backpacks weigh...;)"
With a 0900 bus to catch we were up moving early Monday morning. We've had a very relaxing time in Inverness staying in an entire flat, by ourselves, it belongs to our AirBnB hosts, Jennifer & Keith. It was a wonderful stay in a quiet neighborhood close to City Center. We had a huge bedroom, living room with electric fireplace, and kitchen with conduction range.
Also, Jennifer, is the Marketing Director at Tomatin Distillery,
http://www.tomatin.com/home/ and she left us a, Wee Dram, of the 14 year old Single Malt they make. We don't normally drink Scotch, but "when in Rome....."!
As a winter mix started falling and we boarded our bus our driver kindly announces, "Please fasten your seat belts". Thinking, what kind of trip was this going to be, we were off on Bus Route 917, the first leg of our trip to Dunvegan, Isle of Skye.
Halfway through this leg of our trip as we climbed into glacial mountains, the mix turned to snow, and this stuff was sticking. Thankfully as we descend back towards sea level, it cleared and we were treated with a bright blue sky. Like both Florida & North Carolina weather, give it 30 minutes and it will change. Just, in this place, the white stuff is NOT sand!
Our driver took us along the northern bank of Loch Ness, and the Caledonian Canal. We pass a small marina with both sail & power boat rentals. It would be really nice to spend a day or two on these crystal clear waters, but maybe in August!
Up and down the mountains, and through the narrow, curved roads we go. At one point we go over a single lane bridge so narrow it looked like we were going to scrape the sides of the bus. We were glad someone else was driving.
We take a 10 minute break in Kyle. This area is known as, "Kyle of Lochalsh, a land of castles, hills and lochs, it is the gateway to the Isle of Skye". A picturesque town with hotels, shops, and a small dinner advertising fresh seafood, sits right at the docks. We don't have time for a bite, but as we look around Kyle quickly gets added to the list of places to see on our "next" visit.
At the town Docks were two research sailboats associated with the Whale & Dolphin Trust. They were training volunteers for a 6 day voyage to serve as crew. The group is currently studying Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins and evidently, this is one of the dolphins northern-most habitats. More can be found at
On the road again and as the wind gusts to 40 mph, we cross the Skye Bridge. The bridge, opened in 1989, crosses Loch Alsh, which opens into a sea rarely heard of, The Minch.
In mythology, this place is known as home to The Little Blue Men of the Minch. They inhabit this stretch of water looking for sailors to drown and boats to sink. They were believed to look human, aside from their Blue Color (not to be confused with the musical Blue Men Group).
Evidently, the chief of the Blue Men, upon seeing a ship would shout two lines of poetry to the captain, who must complete the verse or loose the ship to being capsized. From the top of the Skye Bridge we look at a small fishing boat making it's way back to safe harbor, poetry is probably the last thing on her captains mind!
Geographically, The Minch, opens up to the North Atlantic and is believed to have been formed, 1.2 Billion years ago, by the largest meteor to strike the U.K. This body of water is a great resource and supports both a bountiful seafood industry and maritime commerce, totaling 2.5 million tons of shipping each month.
At 1230, we arrive in Portree, it's been a long time on a bus without a bathroom! Portree is Capital of the Island of Skye but with a population of almost 2500, it's a quant village. After 10 minutes here, it's a place you could feel at home. We switch to the second leg of the trip, Bus Route 57, and head to our destination, Dunvegan.
The weather remains clear, for now, as we head toward our home for the next three days, Minnie's Rooms, https://minniesrooms We are staying with our host Mayanne, and several other guests. At Mayanne's recommendation we ask the bus driver to drop us off at her door, and at 1330, he does with a smile.
The view from our window is stunning! But soon after settling into our room and a bowl of Smoked Haddock Chowder, the rain/snow mix starts again. Such is life at 57 degrees North Latitude.
Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy