It doesn’t always look like this. I was constantly being told that on my trip to the Isle of Skye. My travels through the island was accompanied by sunshine and a cooling breeze wherever I went. We were also able to come out in April before the crazy summer rush of tourists invaded this idyllic setting. I couldn’t have asked for better conditions to check out this part of the world that I wanted to get to for a long time, and it exceeded all of my expectations.
The Isle of Skye is an idyllic island a short ferry right in the northwestern part of Scotland. It only has a couple of towns, and the rest of it is pastureland, old whiskey distilleries, even older ruins, and a few one lane roads to take you to these places. During the summer months, it becomes overrun with tourists, and not enough places to support the people who would come out to go on long hikes, take pictures, and enjoy a night out on the town.
One of the bigger towns that attract people is Portree. It is the perfect jumping off point to see a lot of the sights, and get to the long hikes that take people to stunning scenery. I am told that in August it reaches the height of the tourist season as people flock out here to watch the Highland Games. I was also told that it doesn’t always look like this. In April, the people are just starting to come in, and there are still sidewalks that are navigable, restaurant tables available, and pictures still looking like I was the only one there.
I guess that is the joy of being able to come to a place like this during the offseason. Yes, I did run into tourists at the sights, but for the most part, I had them to myself to explore. I went to the old fort one morning, and the parking lot to the sight was basically empty. A couple of people were wandering down the grassy slope back to their car, and a couple of people were up exploring the fort. But if I took my time, and waited a minute, I would be able to get that picture that I wanted where it looked as if nobody has been there for ages.
The tourists were still out there. We were turned away from a restaurant once because they were fully booked and we did not have a reservation. I had to step off a path every once in awhile to allow a person to pass on through. And they were at the distilleries, but that just added to the experience when we went on a tour of the Talisker distillery and tasting room. The funny thing that we heard from our tour guide though was “It doesn’t always look like this.”
I did not need them to tell me this though. When I came to Scotland, I had a certain image in my, and when I got there, I was not treated to what I thought I would see. I was expecting gloomy skies with clouds hugging the tip of mountains, foggy hikes where I could barely see in front of me, and rain, lots and lots of rain. What we got instead were cool days without any stormy weather. We were extremely lucky to have this experience of Scotland that I don’t think many other people get to have.
So I do not know if I am the person that you should talk to if you are considering visiting Scotland. I will tell you that the hikes were fun, the people were friendly, the sights were amazing with their historical perspective, and, out of the norm, the skies were always blue.
Scotland is an amazing place with a new treat waiting around the corner, and the Isle of Skye was my favorite place that I visited on this trip. The scenery was beautiful, the people were friendly, and the experience is not one that will fade from my memory soon, or ever.
But remember it is not usually like this. My experience might not be the typical Isle of Skye experience. Not everybody who travels out to this small Northern island gets to enjoy the weather that I enjoyed. I don’t think that if it was the typical weather it would be any less dramatic. It might be something I would enjoy even more giving the land a completely different character. Still, I will just have to live with the experience I have and think of the Isle of Skye as this sunny and amazing place to visit. I hope if you choose to go there that you have a similar experience, whatever the weather may be like while you are out there.
Thanks for reading, and until next time, get out there and enjoy those opportunities when they are given to you.