Adventures on the Isle of Skye

Our first day on the Isle of Skye was met with a terrific view from our little bunkhouse. We were unable to get a good view of the town of Uig the night before since we arrived so late. But everyone was in bright spirits when they saw the beautiful scenery out the window while eating breakfast. We were fortunate enough to have the college kids from last night play a couple tunes for us after we ate. Even at ten in the morning they still sounded just as good and their music still made you want to tap your feet. They gave us some very good insight into what it’s like going to school to play traditional folk music in Scotland and how much fun it can be. The singer, Mabel, explained how it’s too difficult to go to all the different campuses in Scotland in order to listen to lectures, so she has video conferences and watches the lectures online. After the group finished their last song, we were all a little saddened to see them go. We had grown so close to them in the span of one evening and we all wanted to get to know them even more. But we were grateful for the awesome music that we had heard and the great night that we had spent together.

Our next adventure was a hike that took us through Erisco, the piece of land between Duntulm Castle (the word “dun” in Gaelic means castle, so the previous title would actually mean Castle Tulm Castle) and ended at Rudha Hunish, the most northerly tip of Skye. We had a pretty nice day for it, not too cold and not raining at first, which is odd for Scotland. We started off along the path, some in their water-proof hiking boots and some with just tennis shoes, to our destination. Those of us wearing the latter quickly regretted it as the path soon became wet and muddy. But we pressed on until we found the remains of stone walls and houses that dated back to a few hundred years ago. These were part of villages that once stood there before the people were driven from their homes to make room for grazing land for sheep. We continued to hike and enjoy the amazing topography of Erisco until we reached Rudha Hunish. The view was breathtaking and we could see for miles on end. Snowcapped mountains flanked us on both sides while the sea stretched out to the horizon before us. It was an absolutely magical experience and no amount of words or pictures could do it justice. After we had seen our fill of this stunning sight, we headed back down the marshy path and drove back to Uig.

After our hike, we were all pretty tired and needed a while to collect ourselves and reflect on what we had just experienced. We got settled down and afterwards had an Irish whistle workshop with two Scottish musicians, Angus and Murdo. After playing a lively tune for us on the guitar and the bagpipes, they gave us all our own Irish whistles to play on. At first the cacophony of whistles being played for the first time was deafening, but as soon as Murdo began teaching us a song, our playing improved and after the workshop was over everyone continued to practice the tunes with varying success. Finally, we finished the day with another trip down to the pub at the Ferry Inn and heard more wonderful folk music. All in all, this day was full of adventure and excitement and also had moments of serenity and bliss which left us all looking forward to what will happen tomorrow on the beautiful Isle of Skye.

The group along with the college students of Benbecula and their leaders.
The group at the northern tip of Skye after a day hike.