Scotland – Gairloch to Isle of Skye

Friday 20th July 2018

We had a lovely breakfast supplied by Marion and organised to leave. Unfortunately it was raining, which was only our second day of rain so far, so we can’t complain. We headed off towards the Isle of Skye, going along the scenic route. Our first stop was Shieldag. The weather wasn’t fabulous, but it was still picturesque.

Shieldaig seemed like a quaint little village that seemed lovely, even in this weather. The amazing boat moored in the area looked very similar to the billionaire’s boat we saw at Portovenere, but we couldn’t get close enough to confirm or dispute that opinion.

We headed off again as we have to be at Uig Harbour for our Puffins and Whale tour. We had been advised to go up Applecross, however time was a problem and the weather was dismal. We will have to put it on the list to do next time. We headed towards Plockton as we had been advised that this was also a beautiful place to see.

One of the positive notes of the wet weather was that the creeks were flowing well and we were able to see many waterfalls on the way. Plockton was another very pretty town on the waterfront, that is clearly a holiday maker’s paradise. Although it was raining / drizzly and misty through here, it is still a naturally beautiful place to visit.

Shortly after this stop we crossed the Skye bridge onto the Isle of Skye. This scenery was so stunning even with all of the mist. We headed straight up the road to Uig Harbour. We found Uig Harbour fairly easily and had time to have a quick bite to eat. We went into a restaurant on the pier that seemed to be fairly busy, which is usually a good sign. Maybe the fish was better, but we ordered just baguettes as we were in a hurry. Mum ordered a ham baguette and I ordered Phil and I a ham and cheese baguette. The cheese was totally weird. It looked like it had been squeezed through a grater or something. It was not great, but I was hungry. The waiter had misheard me and only gave us one ham and cheese baguette, so I had half and Phil had half. I didn’t want any more than that. Once again, a lunch fail.

We finished and headed out onto the pier to find the meeting point for the Puffins and Whales cruise. There were a few other people on the cruise with us – a family of four from England, a couple from France and another lady from Europe travelling on her own. We headed out from Uig Harbour and our first animal we were looking for was seals. They look so different from our seals.

We also saw some birds nesting near the seals and a massive waterfall plummeting down from the top of the cliff also near the seals. This is one advantage to the wet / rainy / misty weather.

 

We went out to where the sea bed drops to the Continental Shelf, which creates many currents and it is where the Minke whales like to feed. On our way we were able to see some sea eagles flying around hunting.

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Sea eagles. These adult males have a wing span of about 2.5 metres

Sadly, although we searched for quite some time, we didn’t get to see any of these creatures. We headed back towards the puffin nesting grounds. We were quite excited. These birds are much smaller than we had anticipated. They were about the size of a small cockatoo with a weird big beak. Andi (the driver and wildlife guide) said that the puffins beaks are only this colour when they are breeding. The outer layer of the beak falls off after the breeding season leaving a dull coloured beak. They have short wings that have adapted to swim and fly. The puffins swim with a flying technique under water. In the air, they can beat their wings rapidly, up to 400 times per minute, often flying low over the ocean’s surface, which we were privileged to see.

We headed back towards the Harbour after seeing the puffins and decided to have dinner out before heading to our accommodation. Tim recommended the Uig Hotel and this food was amazing! Phil had a beef burger whilst Mum and I had a chicken meal with had delicious mashed potato.

We headed up to our accomodation – Grasmhor B and B where Tim showed us around. We worked out our plans for the next day as Tim was a local photographer and we had booked Tim to take us out to his favourite places to photograph on Skye. We had an early night – which was well needed.

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