Today we mortgaged our house to rent a car and drove to Skye, specifically to Portree in the north western portion of Scotland. Look, it was a pretty drive from what I saw, but today was mostly an exercise in patience and focus. L was beside herself the entire way, and the 5 hour trip on the A82 and the A830 was a bit white-knuckley. This isn’t usually like me, but I suppose I’m used to 6 lane divided highways and driving on the right hand side of the road.
We started the drive well enough with a stop at Loch Lomond park where the kids got to run around for a while, but basically neither Erin or I really got to enjoy the drive because we were either trying to avoid playing bumper cars with a logging truck or we were satiating a child; plus, we were in a little bit of a rush to catch the ferry in Mallaig. We have 0 pictures to show for it and we did not snap a photo between 1132AM and 3:16PM.
//HACK: Download a photo, insert it here, and pass it off as ours?
Let’s see, focus on the positive here…our car is cool…it has CarPlay, which is a thing. Um, there were public toilets in Corpach, those were clutch. Ah, we got to drive the car onto the ferry which R thought was unbelievable. That was decent. Oh and we caught a glimpse of the Glenfinnan Viaduct (look it up you’ve seen it before).
Okay, I don’t feel like I’m doing this well…perhaps I will try to paint a picture (dramatic pause) …with words! …ahem.
It’s hard not to compare the Highlands to Ireland since we were there just a few years back, and also geographically speaking we are close, but its really not the same at all. Ireland was much more manicured and lush, there were more stone walls, and the land had of been bent to Man’s will through years of being worked. When we climbed the first slope into the Highlands, and they spread out in front of us (there was a sign that said we had arrived so I feel this paragraph is defensible) you could immediately tell this was something else entirely; kind of like what your stomach tells you after eating Taco Bell, but in a better way. For miles around the terrain undulates with scraggy brush, proper boulders that seem slung by giants, surprise lakes and streams peek out from behind the landscape, and for vast stretches there are almost no trees to speak of, except those that grow out of the most odd places (like those boulders…though maybe this is due to those logging trucks). Where stone and water didn’t speckle the view, a hundred thousand lesser rocks met your eye, each one daring you to not sprain your ankle in traversal. In short the terrain just looked beautifully brutal.
//TODO: Man it sure would be nice to put a photo here...
There then there were the summits. Majestic sweeping slopes, cracked by fluvial funnels, sprout from the ground and soar with exponential intent. From afar, they fool you into thinking you could run straight up them. Up close, they make you feel powerless and humble. As we snaked down the road through the glens formed by the parabolic gaps between craigs, you just can’t help but feel…HOLY CRAP THAT TOUR BUS IS ON OUR SIDE OF THE ROAD!!!!
…yeah…so anyway, we got to Portree safe and sound at around 5PM and we checked into our chill little cottage. This place has everything. 2 bedrooms, a bathroom (that isn’t a make-shift closet), a living room, a mudroom, a big kitchen, a backyard, and a garden. Needless to say it will be nice to have some space for the 5 days we are here.
We almost didn’t make it out tonight because I couldn’t get the back door to lock. After walking around the building twice trying to debug the storming (anyone?) thing, I finally just left the key in the lock from the inside. If you know anything about me, you know this drove me crazy…10 minutes on this stupid door…nothing that should be so easy should be so infuriating (hrm…writing that down).
We eventually defeated our sloth and the back door and went out to a little restaurant that we saw on the way in called The Granary. L fell asleep (finally! geez…) in the stroller, and R has the good sense to order a hot chocolate that he almost completely consumed with a spoon. Erin and I sampled some tasty beers, which we felt were much deserved.
We then zipped off to the local “chippie” and stopped into the grocery store for some supplies (which I screwed up…looks like we are using toilet paper for paper towels!) and then went back up the hill (ugh…okay, I know I haven’t blogged about our time in Italy last year…just know that there were a lot of hills and I pushed this little red stroller up every single one of them…no i’m serious, a lot of hills…no, more than that…) to our place to eat dinner, wind down, and turn in. Tomorrow is likely going to be a chill out day.
Erin also wanted me to mention that we’ve gone to bed every night before the sun goes down, because, you know…Axial Tilt! It’s 1030PM right now and its still light out up here so take that circadian rhythms. She’s also just come in and informed me that she has no idea how to turn the light on in the bathroom, but there are two strings hanging from the ceiling. We are afraid to pull them, but maybe thats how you lock the back door…and scene.