I’ve been here at my workaway on Skye, for just over a week and I have to say, I’ve felt at home straight away, no thanks to the super welcoming team I’m working with.
The team is made up of three full-time staff (from Skye, Italy and New Zealand), a part-time Scottish lady and another workaway, from North Carolina in the USA.
I’ve simply loved being back in Scotland, and although the cleaning is a bit rubbish, I pop my earphones in and listen to a few podcasts so my mind is still being nourished. And I know once it’s done, I can go out and explore, or chill by the log burner in the lounge overlooking the bay.
These are my highlights from my first days off last week.
Geocaching in Portree and discovering hidden gems
On my first day off, I got the bus down to Portree, the main town on Skye, which is about 30 minutes from Uig. After a cheeky bacon, cheese and leek flatbread from Cafe Arriba, I set off to find the three most local geocaches in Portree.
The first one led me just outside of town, down a steep, muddy path surrounded by pine trees, culminating in this beaut of a view.
Beyond this, I took the road towards the Scorrybreac circular path to the east of Portree. Just off the main path was the Falls of Chracaig. There was no signpost indicating it was here – which seems to be common with natural attractions of Skye. Good old geocaching, leading me to another place I would not have known about!
I continued on the circular path to Sgeir Mhor (Black Rock), a small tidal island on the edge of the bay but the famous Scottish rain began to roll in, so I made my way back to Portree to stock up on food for the week.
Roast dinner cooked by Australian guest Hannah
I love how easy it can to strike up connection and conversations in hostels, On only my second night, I got chatting to a lovely Australian girl who was in Europe for a 7 week sabbatical from work. In the afternoon, Hannah came back with the ingredients for a roast which I enjoyed after the first evening reception shift with a Hungarian girl and my fellow American workaway.
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at Caora Dhubh in Carbost
On my second day off, I hitchhiked with the Kiwi guy I work with down to Carbost in mid-Skye. We got lucky and managed to get a ride with a couple from Edinburgh heading down to the Fairy Pools, which are close to Carbost.
He promised me Caora Dhubh (Black Sheep in Scottish Gaelic) was one of the best places to get proper coffee on the island, but I opted for the tempting sounding hot chocolate, with a hint of Isle of Skye sea salt instead. Top choice.
As we sheltered from the rain, which had suddenly swept up Loch Harport, we chatted with the couple who run the coffee shop, who explained they had left careers in engineering and teaching to set up the shop in March and planned to go travelling during the winter months when they are shut.
Sampling Talisker whisky at the distillery
I developed a taste for whisky whilst working at a famous pub in Glencoe some 9 years ago, so a trip to the only whisky distillery on the island was a must. The tour was quite basic compared to other tours I’ve been on, but it included a wee dram of Talisker Storm, so I wasn’t complaining!
Top tip If you are planning on visiting the distillery, sign up to be a ‘Friend of the Classic Malts’ for free admission to over 12 distilleries in Scotland.
A seafood feast at the Oyster Shed, Carbost
After the distillery, we hiked up the hill for 10 minutes to The Oyster Shed, quite literally a large shed selling the freshest Scottish seafood with covered wooden benches overlooking Loch Harport to tuck into your lunch.
We opted for an oyster each, plus half a lobster and chips, followed by four pan-fried scallops (to share), just to top it off! The lobster was a little bland but the oysters and scallops were bang on.
Exploring the Fairy Glen at dusk
The Fairy Glen is a magical and enchanting little landscape, consisting of a series of conical hills complete with a tiny roadside lochan and ‘Castle Erwen’ which you can scramble up if you are feeling brave enough for spectacular views back over to Uig.
I had sadly just missed the ‘golden hour’ of light by the time I got there and dusk was in full flow, but it was special to see the glen without the busloads of tourists it attracts during the day.
As the glen is only a half an hour walk from the hostel, I’m hoping to go again either at sunset or on a blue sky day, (if one occurs!) to take get some stronger pictures.
The weather is looking a bit wet and wild again this week – but my waterproofs are packed and ready. I have slightly different days off this week, with an afternoon free before my full days off, so I’m researching to see if I can squeeze in a trip to the Outer Hebridian islands of Harris and Lewis – follow me on Instagram for daily updates on Instagram Stories 🙂
Have you been to the Isle of Skye? Where were your highlights?