Read Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

It was almost impossible to sleep in the car with the constant beauty of rolling hills and sheeps, and waterfalls, heather, and sheeps.

After a few hours of easy travel the family caravan crossed the bridge onto Isla of Skye. The highlands of Scotland are very remote, and this island is off the beaten path with little options for gas station amenities. All we had to snack on was a package of oat cakes, which were bland at best, and our bellies growled.  We checked into our loch-side apartment, located across from Talisker Distillery, and skipped over to The Old Inn for some warm food and beer.

One thing that I loved about scotland, but didn’t think about much before, was that it’s an island. The Scots eat a lot of seafood, which makes my Sicilian-self happier than any living clam. When you order seafood from and island off an island, you know its amazing. The scallops were amazing. In fact, there’s no picture because I was so hungry and I ate them all too fast.

The rugged beauty of Sky was a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.

We did a lot of hiking on Isle of Sky, and it was always worth it. The views could not be captured by my phone, but it does leave an impression on the heart.

After our desserts at The Old Inn we set off to hike to the Fairy Pools. Surrounded by breathtaking views all around us we began our hike to the Pools.

They were a seemingly endless chain of fall after fall into azure pools of magic. We hopped from rock to to rock to get the best views and laughs. Once the magic and waterproof ability of our pants wore off, we quickly hiked back just as the sun was leaving the Skye.

The next day we had planned two hikes. The Old Man of Storr followed by The Quiraing. Being that the UK is generally a wet place we had been blessed the whole vacation with sunshine and fair weather. Lucky for us the weather was dry and we set off early in the morning. The path leading to Old Man was beautifully graveled and easy to walk… until the elevation began climbing. The closer to the top we got the path became an obstacle of mud, rocks, and exhausted hikers.

The wind started to whip, and because we were now cloud-height, we were soaked head to waterproof boot. Cloud mist pooled on my hat that I could use it to drink from every now and again. Phia used her eyelashes for her hydration vessel, and the boys used a water bottle.

 

After some more haggis and pints we drove across Skye the hike The Quiraing.

Old Man was impressive rock with a steep ascent, but the 360 views we saw on Quiraing made me wish I was a better photographer. I felt like I was in Pride and Prejudice, with the massive cliffs by the sea; green and blue as far as one could see.

This hike was very exposed and there were moments when Sophia and I clung to each other just so we would weigh more and not get blown away. Particularly in the place pictured below, we were sure we would get blown off the cliff, but as soon as we got around the rock behind Jamie the wind was cutoff and Sophia and I still arm-in-arm look and laugh at each other over the drastic change.

This hike was rather monumental as it was the only one that Debbie had completed in full. It was still full of difficult terrain and shady stream crossings, but she found that she had more in her than she thought. I also believe that after our bump-in with the senior citizen bus tour may have motivated her a little.

After a few good days in the remote highlands of Skye we trekked off to our next family vacation distillery and seafood town, Oban.

Oban is about the same size as our Morgantown, without the influx of college students. This particular airbnb had no wifi, service connection, or luxuries and the family stress level came to an ultimate high in Oban. The teens were going through withdraw and I was going though my patience. Luckily Jamie and I got some pub time alone and a chance to mingle with the locals.

We became acquainted with Jim and bbb and by the end of the night we were old pals. Joking about sex and tearing up about love and relationships. Jamie and I felt like we changed the town that night with our sparkling personalities.

Luckily for the kids we only stayed one night. We grabbed a quick coffee, a new cactus dress, and we were smooshed back into the car on our way back to Edinburgh.

The next two days in Edinburgh seemed to wiz by. The allure of vacation was wearing off and everyone was becoming homesick and high-strung.

In reflection of times like these… its funny. How we react to things said, or things happened. It always seems so intense in the moment, and eventually that moment wears away and then you have normal life again. I coped with this with plenty of good scotch, beer, and a desperate pack of rollies.

 

Things to take away from this trip:

  1. Visit in the summer
  2. Drink more scotch than you think you can. It’s super cheap
  3. Do drink Ion-Burn for a hangover
  4. Never miss out an opportunity for black pudding or haggis
  5. Plan on hiking, the scenery is extraordinary
  6. Even though they said no to me, always ask a kitted man what’s underneath.
  7. Always book a bnb with separate bedrooms for at least you and your hubby.

Other Places we Visited and loved:

  • Glenlivet Distillery
  • Talkisker Distillery
  • Burkart Castle
  • Loch Ness
  • Inverness