The Way We Were by Colin Ella - Part 73: Over the Bridge to Skye

The view from Trotternish Ridge, Isle of Skye. Picture: PA Photo/Kelly Macnamara.
The view from Trotternish Ridge, Isle of Skye. Picture: PA Photo/Kelly Macnamara.

THESE days it Is not so much ‘over the sea to Skye’ as over the bridge to Skye. This is the modern scene that links this lovely island with the mainland.

Skye is known as ‘The Isle of Mist’ and is about 50 miles long with a varying width of some seven to twenty-five miles. Yet its coastline is 350 miles long. The raising of sheep for wool is important but the islanders also rely on income from tourists. The latter tend to head for Portree, a one street kind of town.
This principal town has a beautifully appointed harbour, from which Bonnie Prince Charlie made his tender farewell to the bonny Flora MacDonald, a lady who is fondly remembered, even today.
Three main roads head away from Portree with its aromas of fresh bread and Scotch pies - one heading north to the spectacular Storr Mountains which soar to 3,000 feet above sea level. The peace of this area is enhanced by impressive beauty and the added attraction of Leathan and Fada lochs.

We are in crofting country and take in the Kilmartin River running through the village of Staffin. This waterway is renowned for its trout and pearl-bearing mussels. The route goes past Flora MacDonald’s cottage next to the Flodigarry Hotel and on to Duntulm, a place full of eerie tales.
I am writing about how we found Skye a while ago. The Museum of Highland Life was well worth our call after which a dangerous hairpin bend took us into Lug, with its delightful horseshoe bay from which ferries sail to the Outer Hebrides.

A right fork at the head of Loch Snizort took us westwards to Dunvegan and its notable castle, the family seat of the Macleods. Further to the south at Carbost is the home of Skye’s Talisker Malt Whisky. We greatly relished our survey of Skye and I hope my description is unchanged.