Day out in Skye: Shipwrecked

22 Apr

Not really shipwrecked.  Sorry, because that would have been a really cool story.  I’m thinking of those ‘shipwrecked’ casserole recipes, you know the ones?  Where you look in dismay at all the random cans in your cupboards and vegetables in your baskets and leftover meats in your fridge and think: “Right, this can be a meal.”  Like you’ve been castaway in your kitchen and just have to eat whatever is at hand.  Please don’t tell me I’m the only one.  I used to make a shipwreck dish a couple of times each winter back home, when we were snowed in and running low on groceries and the power went out and I could plug the crock pot in to the generator.  No?  Just me?  Fine, be that way.

Anyway, as I try to finish up my week of posting about Skye, I’m getting that shipwrecked feeling.  I have too many elements that don’t necessarily make sense together … but I’ve got to wrap this up somehow … so you’re getting a casserole post made up of all the bits left sitting around.  Just pretend it is snowing outside and we’re cozy next to the fire eating out of bowls we washed in the snow.  I’ll make some hot chocolate for later.

A quick tour through the Clan Donald centre on the Isle of Skye.  If you take the ferry over from Mallaig, you’ll land in walking distance of the centre, which is well worth a visit — and worth stopping right then, rather than driving all the way back down again later. (what we did.  blurg.).  The gardens are extensive — above is a sweet otter in the water garden — Armadale Castle is preserved as a picturesque ruin, with commanding views over the water

And the Museum of the Isles is a great introduction to local and clan history, with a slightly annoying but understandable dosing of Clan Donald pride and sense of superiority.

I took a photo inside before realizing photography is not allowed.  You’re welcome.  There’s also a pretty good restaurant at the centre, with the usual fish and chip selection but also local dishes like a venison casserole and a huge selection of whisky.

Speaking of whisky, I couldn’t come to Skye without visiting the Talisker Distillery in Carbost. Despite how early in the season we visited, the distillery was packed and in a shocking lack of foresight I had *not* pre-booked tours — so we didn’t get to go behind the scenes.  Children over 8 are allowed on the tour, youngers can view the exhibits on display or walk around outside.  I was slightly surprised to see so many bus loads of clearly drunken tourists.  Not my favorite scene, to be honest.  If we have the chance to go back, I’d book an early morning tour a few days ahead.

About half way up the coast of the Waternish peninsula is Stein, home to several boutique artisans and the oldest operating inn on Skye — the eponymic Stein Inn, where we had good food in a great atmosphere.  I recommend checking the specials on the board by the bar.  If the weather is nice, there are picnic tables outside with a view that cannot be beat of the harbor and loch.

You can walk down to the water — which is so clear, it seems like blue liquid air.

On the other side of Dunvegan loch, if you’re driving to the Glendal Toy Museum, you might miss this marker commemorating the land leaguers and the ‘three martyrs’ from Glendale who helped bring about land reforms and the end to the inhumane “clearances” on the island.  “Clearances” makes it sound like cleaning out old deadwood or brush, right?  No, these were people being ‘cleared’ from the land by clan chiefs turned into rapacious large landholders who were more interested in raising sheep than respecting traditional social bonds or basic tenets of morality or human kindness.  Read a book about it.  It’s a horrifying history.

We were sad to find the Borrerraig Piping Centre closed during our visit.  Sadly, the owner/operators recently experienced a death in the family, and it wasn’t known when the Centre would re-open.  We got a sense of the precarious preservation of some of these cultural sites — visit them quick, before the more elderly preservationists pass away with no-one to take up their work.

Finally, one of my absolute favorite things about our stay on Skye was simply taking our time.  Staying in one place gave us a chance to experience sunrise

and sunset

and sunrise

and sunset

And even — more than once — a rainbow

I’m convinced now that putting time in the itinerary to simply rest and staying in holiday cottages is the way to travel with kids.

Well, hope you enjoyed your shipwrecked last post about Skye.  Time to say goodbye to our cozy cottage and look forward to whatever comes next.

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10 Responses to “Day out in Skye: Shipwrecked”

  1. satnavandcider April 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    I. Want. To. Go! And who doesn’t like a museum with a whisky menu? There’s nothing like precious artifacts and hard alcohol. I really enjoyed my serving of shipwrecked casserole. Are you sure there isn’t enough for seconds?

    • Monique April 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

      If I don’t stop now I’ll never get my head out of the Skye (ha ha) and back to earth. Glad you liked it!

  2. haitiruth April 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    I’ve very much enjoyed reading about your northern holiday. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Monique April 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      You’re welcome — I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Zazzy April 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    You made me chuckle with your shipwrecked meals. A friend of mine used to call me and say things like “I’ve got a can of tomato soup, pickles and velveeta. What can I make?” Plus, it’s been a while since I toured a distillery but as I recall, you can find drunk tourists there pretty much any time of day.

    Thank you for sharing your trip. The photos have been lovely – especially this post’s sunrises and sunsets – and the places look so interesting and fun to visit. I want to go too! How are they for handicapped access?

    • Monique April 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      OMG, tomato soup, pickles and velveeta? I think I made that once. j/k But I have come up with some strange combos. I find just about everything mixes well with bbq sauce … or red wine.

      There is some effort to be accessible but I remember seeing some signs that just seemed to just say ‘sorry, not accessible’ and that was it. Like up towers or funny stairs — or if you have to go through a gate and the only one is teeny tiny so the sheep don’t run out or whatever. But there are lifts in many places and I do see a good number of people getting around on motorized scooters-things that seem to be able to go off roading (down fairly level grass or gravel or packed dirt paths). It’s not like the US, though.

  4. 1heiress May 3, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    Beautiful!
    I do have to say about the shipwrecked meals… Really? You only get to that point once or twice a winter? .. I must end up shipwrecked at least twice a month! 🙂 … could be why no-one is very enthusiastic about dinner around here though . . .

    • Monique May 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      I like a good shipwreck, but the kids are picky about textures, so I can’t get away with it very often. But power outage down Mountain Rd in a blizzard and shipwreck here we come…

  5. greatscott3 May 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    well, i like that casserole, sister. gorgeous and gorgeous – and a little gore with the clearances bit – and more gorgeousness! must go there! love that you saw a rainbow – lucky!

    • Monique May 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

      It’s always about food, with me! With a side of blood & rainbows. If I start another blog, that’ll be the name. Ha!

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