Isle of Skye, March 2016 – Day 3: Fairy Pools

Fairy Pools, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

After our hike up Storr on day 2, I was relieved that the other place I’d hoped to visit, the fairy pools, was a much easier walk!

Fairy Pools, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

Fairy Pools, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

The Fairy Pools are a succession of small pools and waterfalls, created by a stream coming down off the Cuillin mountains. The water is bright blue and beautifully clear, and it’s easy to see where the name comes from as the place feels very magical.

Fairy Pools, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

Fairy Pools, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

Although the walk is a lot less steep than the one at Old Man of Storr, you still have to be nimble enough to navigate the stepping stones above. We saw a lovely little Westie carefully hopping his way across, with lots of encouragement from his owners 🙂

Fairy Pools, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

When we arrived back at the car, we discovered that it had made a friend…

Emma's Picture Postcards

We spotted this gorgeous little chaffinch from about 10 metres away and inched slowly closer, but he was completely relaxed and only flew away when he was finished admiring his reflection 🙂

Emma's Picture Postcards

On the way back to Kyleakin we stopped in at Cafe Sia in Broadford. They take pride in using local ingredients, hand-roast their own coffee beans and grind them to order, and have a traditional wood-fired pizza oven. I tried out the Traditional Italian pizza (mozzarella, basil oil and tomato) and a flat white, and both were delicious. With his pizza, James tried another tasty local ale (from Plockton Brewery), which was served in a frozen glass! Yum. Despite grinding the coffee beans to order meaning it took a while to prepare each one, the cafe was doing a roaring trade in take-away orders as well as people having a relaxed sit-down lunch, so I think that speaks for the quality!

Cafe Sia, Broadford, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

Full up on our pizzas, we relaxed at the hotel for a while, before realising it was 7.30pm, on a Sunday, in the Highlands, in the winter season. Good luck finding somewhere open for dinner! Google informed us that the fish and chip shop in Kyle of Lochalsh was open until 8pm, so we jumped in the car and zoomed across, realising when we reached the village that we’d forgotten to take a note of where exactly the chippy was. We ended up driving past the Kyle Chinese Takeaway (on Main Street) and decided that would do nicely! Our meals were decent but apparently forgettable – I think we had chilli chicken – but the highlight was the ribs, which were fantastic.

Fairy Pools, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

And that was our weekend complete! We had such a lovely stay – Skye is a very peaceful and refreshing place. I’d recommend everywhere we visited, but most especially our accommodation, walks and lunch spots. Here are the links to Day 1 and Day 2 in case you missed them 🙂

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Isle of Skye, March 2016 – Day 2: Old Man of Storr

Isle of Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

After a tasty breakfast of poached egg, bacon and – er – vegetarian sausage, because that’s how I roll, we set off up the island to tackle the walk up to the Old Man of Storr.

Storr, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

The Storr hill is part of the Trotternish ridge, and includes a rocky cliff-face looking out across the water to nearby islands Rona and Raasay, as well as a tall rock formation that stands slightly apart and is visible from afar, known as the Old Man.

Old Man of Storr, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

The route is well-marked, with a gravel track winding its way up the hill, giving way to a smaller dirt path near the top, with some large rocks acting as steps in places. A word of warning though, it’s very steep! Even with a few stops to drink some water, I got pretty out of breath, and I’m fitter than James, who managed to puff “I lead a sedentary life!” before returning his concentration to putting one foot in front of the other 😀 The tides turned on the way back down though and he got to be the patient one, as I took tiny steps and clung on to him to avoid sliding on the gravel. It was all worth it though, as the sea breeze certainly blew away the cobwebs, and we had a clear day granting us a stunning view.

Storr, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

Storr, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

Storr, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

Storr, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

After tumbling our way back to the car park, we drove into Portree for a well-deserved late lunch at Cafe Arriba. This lovely, cheerful little place changes its menu regularly, with specials from around the world. It was American Diner day when we were there, so James had a burger while I went for the mac ‘n’ cheese, both with bacon on top! The portions were generous and everything was delicious. James also sampled another Isle of Skye Brewing Co. ale – he made his way through their range during our stay (all in the name of research, of course) and declared them all worthy of praise 😉

Cafe Arriba, Portree, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

Cafe Arriba, Portree, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

Cafe Arriba, Portree, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

After a wee wander around Portree, we headed back to the hotel to rest our weary legs, then went for dinner at Taste of India. Because the standard is so high at our regular Indian restaurant (Jewel in the Crown in Aberdeen), we keep our expectations low when eating elsewhere, especially in the countryside where there might be less competition, but we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food at Taste of India. The main criticism on Tripadvisor seems to be that the service isn’t the best, and I can understand that complaint although we weren’t hugely fazed ourselves. There were only two staff members in the customer area of the restaurant, covering the tables, bar and take-away orders, with occasional help serving from a member of the kitchen team. They were very efficient and the waitress was pleasant, but the waiter seemed to be one of those people who needs to be in a mood to get stuff done. He stomped about and was quite abrupt, and spent a few minutes scowling in our direction while correcting our bill, which was a little uncomfortable! (We had ordered a naan, which never arrived, but we didn’t chase it up because we had plenty to eat with just our curries and rice, especially after our earlier feast at Cafe Arriba, so when we asked for our bill we just asked for it to be taken off, and assured them it wasn’t a problem.) I understand that it was busy and that they were presumably understaffed, but I have enough customer service experience to know that taking it out on the customers doesn’t help anyone!

Portree, Skye - Emma's Picture Postcards

Hope you have a great start to the week! I’ll be back on Friday with part 3 (and part 1 is here if you missed it).

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