August 29, 2016

Skye




After a week in London, I take a train all the way north, to Inverness. Soon the sun is replaced by heavy clouds and the coast is hidden in the fog. Inverness is cold and gloomy, but I'm not stopping long anyway. Another gorgeous trainride takes me to the Kyle of Lochalsh, gateway to the Isle of Skye. On the train, I sort out pictures, and edit my evergrowing list of places to see and things to do. « Islands », I write in capital letters. A bearded scotsman takes me to the other side of the Skye bridge, to a village called Kyleakin, where I've planned to stay.

I've wanted to go back to Scotland even since I first visited Edinburgh, almost went this winter and got frightened by the harsh weather and the short days. Now that it's may, the coast of Skye is sunny and almost warm, and the days seem to never end.

I drop my bag in a tiny house that sees a few backpackers visiting each day. Here I am welcomed into a family from every country, a family I remember from my travels in Asia. There is the gorgeous spanish girl, the funny kiwi guy, the americans seeking adventure, and so on. We all share a tiny dorm room and help run the hostel in the morning. In the afternoon, we explore the island. On my first day, we pile up into a van and drive to the Fairy Pools, a series of cascades and basins under a glacier. I follow the boys to the translucent water, remove my clothes and jump in with a scream – it's absolutely freezing, but the sun warms us fast. « Now you can say you went swimming in Scotland », M laughs.

Kyleakin is so tiny all the houses fit on a single street (but they still have three pubs). Everybody knows everybody here. There is a couple of sailing boats in the harbour, but mostly fishing boats that leave at dawn and return for lunch, hauling crates of shells and lobsters. In the afternoon, the wind gushes into the bay and sings along the stony shore, but the weather remains beautiful – so incredibly beautiful, actually, that it's hard to believe the rest of Europe is being flooded while we're in northern Scotland enjoying two weeks of uninterrupted sunshine.

In the evening, we gather on the beach to watch the sun set behind the Cuillin mountains, but there is light well in to the night, until 11pm at least. Sometimes, at the last light disappears, you can catch a tiny flicker of green above the Skye bridge, northern lights being playful.

A lot of travelers pass through our place but never stay for long, usually a couple days on the island itself. I feel really happy that I get to live such a beautiful, unique place for a while and call it home. It certainly feels like it.


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