Getting to Skye at last: morning at Eilean Iarmain
I promised to show a little of our visit to the Isle of Skye last month, and I’ve been slow to get going on it. At the moment I am slow to get going with anything: continuing fallout from my head injury. The slow progress towards recovery seems to have taken a step backwards in the past month or two. That’s a dull and dreary subject, however, so I’d much rather share with you another brief look at magical Eilean Iarmain (it features in most of my posts about the island) on the south coast of Skye.
October is a beautiful time to drive through the Scottish hills and glens. By now the brighter colours have drained from the land, but a month ago they were reaching their peak. Our drive across the Highlands towards the west coast was characterised by the colour of the landscape, which was glowing, and the rain, which was unceasing. There were still streaks of snow on the hills from a fall earlier in the week, but warmer temperatures had brought rain to replace it and the hillsides were running with burns and waterfalls. Even in watercolour, though, I thought that the rich colours – ochre, umber, burnt siena – were just beautiful.
The morning after our arrival, I woke up to one of my favourite views in the world. This little piece of heaven can be found at Eilean Iarmain on the Sleat peninsula. From a harbour sheltered by smaller islands and skerries, you look out across the Sound of Sleat back towards the mainland and the mountains of Knoydart and Kintail.
I sat on the windowsill and watched the sun come up from behind the hills.
What a spot to live in!
The little stone pier and the natural harbour at Eilean Iarmain used to be an important landing place for the local fishing industry and, indeed, for visitors who found boats more convenient than rough roads, in the days before European Union money upgraded some of the routes through the Highlands and Islands. Lobster fishermen still land their catch here.
Today there is still plenty going on here, despite the collapse of the herring fleet. Thanks to the vision and determination of the late Sir Iain Noble, Eilean Iarmain boasts a warm-hearted, old-fashioned and entirely delightful hotel, a whisky company, a tweed shop, an art gallery and possibly the best pub in the island.
We are not heading for the pub just yet, however. Today we are going to explore a little of the north side of the Sleat peninsula, retracing the perilous drive I made alone in January. It is a lot more fun with family and without sheet ice. I’ll show you some of what we saw in my next ‘chapter’ about Skye.
You might also enjoy The Road to the Isles.