Autumn is a fantastic time to visit Scotland, especially Skye.
The countryside blazes with colour, and the shorter, darker days lend themselves well to the warm cosiness of a pub fireside. And, hopefully, the weather is not yet bad enough to disrupt your travel plans or your exploring of the many delights of this wild and beautiful country.
I was fortunate enough to spend 4 years there as an undergraduate, and always love returning to visit. My Kiwi husband has ancestral roots there and loves it as much as I do.
A couple of years ago we took a trip to the enchanting isle of Skye. My account of its captivating beauty won me first prize in a travel writing competition, which I owe as much to the island’s evocative landscape as to my own abilities. My entry wrote itself! Here it is:
“Skye was dark, broody and mysterious when we arrived there from the mainland. Thick grey cloud smudged the outline of the mountain tops. Drizzle stroked our cheeks as we sought sanctuary in the Eilean Iarmain Hotel, where we were to spend the next few nights.
Inside, lamps glowed and log fires crackled. Smokehouse fare tantalised our nostrils. We settled in at the bar and chatted to the other refugees, a friendly mix of locals, wedding guests and international visitors. A tasting session of the local whiskies proved to be the perfect way to spend a damp Saturday afternoon.
Later, we ventured out to walk the scenic mile or so to the village of Camus Cross. Rowan berries and rose hips, red as ripe tomatoes, lined our path. Water dripped from moss-draped trees. Mountain streams tinkled and splashed their way downhill. Crows cackled. The air was thick with the aroma of damp peat and vegetation.
Down on the beach, kelp squelched and bladder wrack popped beneath our feet. Occasionally, the sun pushed through the mist like a torch-light, spectacularly illuminating a hillside. Multiple shades of green, mottled with vibrant heather and flecked here and there with gold and brown, were mirrored in the bay.
By the time we returned to the hotel, mist was beginning to rise from the nearby fields, and a piper was serenading the bride and groom. Our day ended with a delicious fish and chip supper.
Next morning a layer of low cloud still hung protectively over the glassy bay as we headed north to Dunvegan. The mist and heavy rain cleared just as we arrived at the dramatic castle. Its dazzling gardens were still abundant, in September, with colourful plants and floral displays. Perfect lawns glittered with dewdrop crystals, broken only by an occasional footprint.
Returning later to Eilean Iarmain, blazing sunshine revealed to us a very different Skye – pristine and perfect – through the steamy windows of the bus, as giggling schoolgirls taught us all about Skye dancing.”
Marion Todd’s gripping crime thrillers are set in the atmospheric Scottish town of St Andrews. Available in hard copy and Kindle edition. You can find out more about author Marion Todd on her web site and get a taste of her writing too!
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