Escape to the north

The foxy Loch Maree
The foxy Loch Maree

Last week Gareth and I went on a four-day jaunt around Skye and north-west Scotland. We lucked out with 75% blue skies. Between this trip and Islay last July, I feel like I’ve used up my Good Scotland Weather allowance for life!

I don’t know what possessed us to plan 850 miles of driving in such a small time frame. Some of those miles were due to a ferry cancellation, but every time we stopped in yet another stunning, chilled out locale we’d say, “Why the hell didn’t we just stay here for three nights?”. I think it’s a hangover from my backpacking days when I felt like I had to cram in as many places as possible before I got deported.

I want to slap a general disclaimer on this whole post and say my iPhone snaps don’t do this stunning landscape justice. The clarity of the water and the scale of these mountains was overwhelming. It was falling in love with Scotland all over again. Also, many times there was so much glare from the sunlight (gasp) that I couldn’t see what I was shooting.

Our first stop was Mallaig and this beach where the film Local Hero was partially filmed. The sand was dazzling white.

The beach fae Local Hero
The beach fae Local Hero

Then off to Skye…

The Cuillins on Skye
The Cuillins on Skye. Ahh I wish you could see how huge and menacing and awesome they are.

Middle aged holiday highlight: two of out the three B&Bs we stayed at provided face cloths/flannels. I always pack my own as I haaate when they only give you soap to wash with. I don’t feel clean unless I can get a good scrub happening. Is anyone else with me on this!?

Kilt Rock in the background
This is a big ass cliff, with Kilt Rock in the background. At 10pm! Love the Scottish summer nights.
Talisker Distillery
Talisker Distillery

If you’re ever in Skye and visit Talisker Distillery, be sure to go to Talisker Beach as well. It is stunning. The sand is a moody silvery grey and the bay is utterly peaceful. Look at other people’s pictures to get a better idea!

Shit photo of beautiful Talisker Bay
Shit photo of beautiful Talisker Bay
Walking back from Talisker Bay
Walking back from Talisker Bay with new pals

After Skye we headed for Kinlochewe which is at the end of Loch Maree, one of my favourite lochs in Scotland.

(By the way, Loch Ness is one of the most batshit boring lochs in Scotland, IMHO. That’s why they had to make up the Monster; to get you to go there.)

On the way to Kinlochewe the evening was so clear and bright that we couldn’t resist a detour over Bealach na Bà, the notorious pass over to Applecross. It’s full of crazyass hairpins and dramatic views. The haggard clutch of our car was begging for mercy (it’s done 230,000 miles!).

This is steep as hell!
This be steep as hell, too.
Clear skies looking back to Skye
View from the top of the pass with G for scale – clear skies across to the mountains of Skye
Mountains near Kinlochewe
Mountains near Kinlochewe
Closed, dagnabbit!
Closed, dagnabbit!

Stay tuned for the last two days, including more cows on a beach and a visit to mainland Scotland’s Most Northerly Public Toilet! Yep, we know how to party.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for December 2022.

20 thoughts on “Escape to the north

  1. Oh lovely. I’ve driven over that road at Applecross and it still makes me a bit sick thinking about it. I was with my mother who was saying Hail Marys throughout the whole journey. (I’m thinking of walking the Great Glen way which finishes in Inverness in September. If I do can we have HIgh Tea together in Inverness.)

  2. Beautiful. I love Local Hero. When I left Scotland to go to grad school in Ohio, I watched that movie 4 times bawling with homesickness. I never did live in Scotland again:(

  3. I’m so coming up that way in a few weeks,
    any must do’s/sees on Skye???

    Pictures look gorgeous, can’t wait, hope I get just some of that Scottish sunshine!

  4. your photos are fantastic – I want to be there – in fact it makes me think I should visit Scotland in summer for those long summer nights and to see the beautiful landscapes – we once went to Sky in January and I remember it being very foggy and our tour guide pointing at some fog and then pointing at a postcard to show us what we would see behind the fog!

  5. Beautiful.. the Tipsy Laird is my kinda place *with smiley/frown face.. I’m reading the first Outlander book which is in Scotland (a couple of centuries past). and now I have the visuals to go with the book.

  6. LOVE your holibobs in Skye – I’ve been there over Christmas and the sun never quite rose – it was either pink dusk or pitch black. So beautiful.

  7. Hello sunshine – loved this post made me quite homesick – but I’ll be there in about 5 weeks – for about 2 weeks – would be lovely to catch up again – also trying to hook up with the lovely Lainey too. I’m totally with you on the facecloth/flannel thing – though have now found a sort of a exfoliating flannel and take that.
    And so much hoping we can have sunny skies too – it’s always pretty – but in sunshine it’s truly beautiful. Love Anni (Zanna)

  8. I love your captions! “This is a big ass cliff.”

    Truly, those are gorgeous photos. All of them. I’m glad you saw so much sunlight.

  9. Ahhh, so gorgeous!! I can’t wait to visit the British Isles. Sounds/looks like a right lovely holiday. You two deserve it! xo

  10. This post brings back great memories of Skye – nice to see it in sunshine, it fairly hosed down for the couple of days we were there. We went to the Talisker distillery too. We were there in the morning, then we ducked into a farmhouse not far away which was advertising oysters for sale, which we ate in the farmer’s kitchen, because of the rain. The oysters were AMAZING. Oysters and whisky for morning tea, that’s the life!

  11. You’ve pretty much captured my childhood holidays here Shauna. Thanks! Can’t wait for the next instalment.

  12. Looks lovely. Love your captions too.
    Totally with you in flannels. I pack one for every day of my holiday just in case. On one trip I forgot to pack them and has to go out and buy more. I can’t understand how to get properly clean without one.

  13. I SO want to go to Skye! (almost wrote Skype there..) so many people have raved about it and it sounds like one of the most untouched and beautiful places. And then I saw your pic of Talisker distillery…it’s a done deal.

    I always travel with muslins to wash my face with – I’ve got quite a collection now. I stopped using baby wipes a few years ago (they were a godsend in my party girl days!) and now wash my face properly every night! Ah, I sound positively middle aged 😉 ha ha. But you’re right, your face just doesn’t feel clean otherwise! xx

  14. I am so effing jealous! It kills me that we didn’t get to Skye…but at least we did see some magnificent Scottish scenery. We’ll have to come back and “do” Skye another time.

    You need to get yourself that compact, super-zoom, wifi enabled camera, stat! Remember: Samsung, excellent. And yes, face flannels FTW. Only one hotel and one B&B have provided them so far, and since I’m travelling light(ish), I’m relying on those little oval pad things instead. Not the same, no way.

    I’m writing up a summary of our Scottish visit right now. May get it finished tonight….or may not. I’ve been such a slacker.

  15. Omg just rereading Dietgirl & thought I’d catch up with the blog only to discover we were on Skye at around the Same Time! I lived on Skye during my working holiday stint in Scotland 2002-2005 & this was my first time back. Have missed it every day. I’ve followed your blogs since stumbling upon you during a drunken bout of ‘I miss Scotland’ sobbing in about 2006. I googled ‘Aussie living in Scotland’ in a desperate attempt to find a way to return. I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but your Scottish escapades & stories of growing up in the Aussie bush have made me laugh, and helped me realise a few home truths. There was a time when I think reading your blog was all that kept me sane. Thankyou, and I hope all is well in your world

    1. I meant on Skye this past June even though my single digit typing makes it sound like something else. We did the loop over the top too – but from Inverness – Wick – Durness – Ullapool. The east coast is ok, but it has nothing on the West. Words, photos – nothing can do that landscape justice!

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