As I mentioned at the end of my last post, we crossed the ‘new’ bridge over Loch Alsh to the Isle of Skye…while wishing that it was still a ferry crossing…
We were greeted by the stark beauty of the island…
Skye is the largest and most northern of the major islands that comprise the Inner Hebrides. The mountainous center of the island is dominated by the Cullins…with the highest peak being ‘Sgurr Alasdair’ at 3,255 feet.
More heather in bloom…and with sunshine too!
Covering 639 square miles, Skye is a large island. The population reached a high of over 23,000 back in 1841 but it had declined to only 7,183 residents in 1971. The loss of population can be traced back to the “Clearances”, military losses in World War I and a poor local economy.
As I previously mentioned, the “Clearances” were the removal of crofters (tenant farmers) from the land owned by hereditary aristocratic landowners so they could raise sheep on the land. It was a brutal time. In one instance, the settlement of Lorgill on the west coast of Skye was ‘cleared’ on August 4, 1830. Every crofter under the age of 70 was removed and placed on board the ship Midlothian under the threat of imprisonment…with those over 70 being sent to the poorhouse.
If you look up the Midlothian on the Internet, you will find many sites all about researching family members who ‘emigrated’ from Skye and other locations in Scotland. To learn more about the “Clearances” go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Clearances.
We drove north on Skye along A87 toward Uig which is located out on the Trotternish peninsula. I can’t pinpoint where I stopped and took this photo of the waterfall…but small streams, waterfalls and small lochs dot the landscape here.
Moisture rules along the west coast of Scotland and its many islands. Rainfall typically measures from 59 to 79 inches per year and in mountains like the Cullin, the totals are even higher. By comparison, our average rainfall here in East Tennessee hovers around 49 inches…
It was September 19th…and the Isle of Skye was much greener than East Tennessee normally is at this time of the year. Western Scotland’s mild oceanic climate means moisture and moderate temperatures. I noted that the all-time record low was 20 F and a record high of 80 F for one town on Skye…
This is the view from the hotel that I’d reserved for us in the village of Uig at the far north of Skye. That castle-like tower isn’t related to a castle. It is called Fraser’s Folly.
Major William Fraser became the owner of the Kilmuir Estate ca. 1855 and the tower was constructed around 1860 as a place where the local tenants had to go to pay their rents to Fraser’s Factor (aka Agent). Fraser is notorious for his involvement in the Highland Clearances. His ‘folly’ is still associated with the Clearances by the locals.
This is a postcard view of the Uig Hotel from somewhere across Uig Bay. Lovely isn’t it!
Speaking of a ‘folly’! Remember the “Lose Some, Win Some” portion of the title for this posting? This is the “Lose Some” portion of the story. It turned out that I…master trip planner that I am…totally messed up this reservation. I’d entered the wrong day when I reserved our stay (and Bill and Bonnie’s too) at the Uig Hotel. That meant that we arrived the day after we were scheduled and the reservation was pre-paid. At roughly $180.00 per room, one of our most expensive reservations, this was a $360.00 mistake. I spent the next couple of days buying meals and drinks for Bonnie and Bill to pay them back for my mistake…
They were completely booked but the good news was that the staff at Uig Hotel scrambled to find accommodations for us for the evening. They called several places to find us somewhere to stay. We were lucky that they were successful as most bed and breakfast and inns were completely booked!
To learn more about the Uig Hotel’s accommodations and the promising upscale menu for its restaurant, go to https://www.uig-hotel-skye.com/.
What the heck! Well, we now knew that we had a place to stay on Skye for the night…not in Uig though…so we decided to look around while I licked my wounds. This is a view of Uig Harbor from the hill near where the Uig Hotel is situated. As you can see, the village of Uig is small. It has a population of about 300… What a scenic setting!
This is a relatively new point of interest in Uig. It’s the Isle of Sky Brewery. Back in 1992, there were only 6 small independent breweries in all of Scotland. Beginning with a bunch of friends in a pub complaining about a lack of good beer on Skye, this operation offered its first ale, Skye Red, in 1995. Today the brewery offers 11 different varieties of beer…and it’s a popular tourist destination as well.
To learn more about the Isle of Skye Brewery, go to https://skyeale.com/.
Scottish brewing reached a peak of 280 breweries in 1840. After mergers and acquisitions, the number of breweries had dropped to just 11! With the rise of craft breweries, the CAMRA Good Beer Guide listed 80 breweries in operation in Scotland...
These photos show part of the harbor at Uig with the hills in the background. From this sheltered harbor, travelers can take Caledonian MacBrayne’s ferryboat, the MV Hebrides, across the “Little Minch” (strait) to the Outer Hebrides. The ferry serves Tarbert on the Isle of Harris and Lochmaddy on North Uist. We would of loved to of had the time to travel to both of these islands!
To learn more about Uig and its local attractions, you can go to https://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/uig-p244011.
As I mentioned, thanks to the Uig Hotel’s staff, they found both Laurie and me as well as Bonnie and Bill places to stay for the night. Note that I said places. There were so few vacancies on Skye that we ended up staying in separate locations. We took the second choice because we felt guilty…and we got lucky!
This is the Tor View Bed and Breakfast and it’s located just a bit outside of Portree, the largest town on the Isle of Skye.
As you can see, the basic facilities at the Tor View Bed and Breakfast were up to snuff…clean and orderly with a calming décor in the bedroom.
This was the only bed and breakfast where our breakfast was actually delivered to our room. We started our day with a nice continental breakfast of toast, bagels, orange juice, ham, cheese, muffins and fresh fruit.
This was the one quirky item we noted in our room… Note that I was standing upright when I took this photo…and the bathroom mirror is at ‘belly level’. I’m glad that I didn’t have to shave in the morning and of course, since all of Laurie’s electric beauty aids have to be used in the bedroom due to both electrical code and the power outlets, it wasn’t a problem for us. But, it was a source of amusement in an otherwise very nice and pleasant bed and breakfast…
Location, location, location! The views from our room and from the Tor View Bed and Breakfast were stunning!
We were surrounded by cows from a local farm and they seemed much bigger to us than the cows in East Tennessee! Maybe it’s all that lush green grass and the mild oceanic climate resulting from the Gulf Stream that makes them so big and healthy looking…
I love the classic photo of a highland cow… Laurie took this picture from Tor View’s driveway.
…just another look at the view from our bed and breakfast!
Given the rugged terrain and Skye’s northerly position on the globe, (roughly the same latitude as Sitka Alaska or Gothenburg Sweden), we asked the owner of Tor View about the winter weather. He told us that snow will stay in the mountains for months sometimes but that it rarely lasts in the valleys. I remarked on the winds and he told us they can reach 80 mph in the winter, but that the homes are generally built to handle it without any problems.
In the morning, Laurie captured these photos of two highland cows. It’s a particularly sweet picture as on the previous day, they had been separated from their calves and it appeared that they were commiserating with each other over their misfortune.
The cost of our room with that nice continental breakfast was 80 pounds sterling or about $104.00 US. To learn more about the Tor View Bed and Breakfast, you can go to http://www.tor-view.com/.
Laurie’s sister Bonnie and her husband Bill got the first accommodation that the clerk at the Uig Hotel could find. The Isles Hotel with its restaurant and bar, is located right on the main square in the scenic town of Portree. The bad news for them was that they had to carry their luggage through the bar and up to the 3rd floor and their room was a tad smallish. The positive was that they reported that their breakfast was excellent and the bill for room and board was significantly less than ours! All’s well that ends well…
To learn more about The Isles Inn with its pub and restaurant, you can go to http://www.accommodationskye.co.uk/index.html.
That’s all for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.
Thanks for stopping by to check out our Scottish adventures!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave