After our trek through history in the castle and a walk on the beach it was time for lunch. Skye, as I mentioned isn’t very commercialized. There aren’t pubs and restaurants on every corner. We drove for quite a while before we saw a small sandwich board at the end of a long lane saying ‘lunch specials’. So we headed down the lane. There were no other cars and no signs of life. It didn’t look promising.
Like so many uncertain moments in travelling, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope for the best. The tiny little building we found beside the residential house was nothing short of a haven. It was small but the white walls and sky lights in the ceiling and classical music playing made you feel like you’d stepped into another world. Step out the door…music stops and silence prevails. Step inside and there’s a created world of music and art and thoughtful food. This is exceptional in the land of pubs and bakeries.
Everything about the Old Byre Café said ‘labour of love.’ From the photographs hanging on the wall (and for sale) that were taken by the owner, to the décor and the menu, there was a loving attention to detail. This is the project of artists who left busy stressful jobs in London to escape and pursue their passions.
The bread was all made from scratch, there were gluten free options, smoked meat and local cheeses. I had orange polenta cake (yes, that was my lunch…I’m on holidays, keep your judgments to yourself) and Dave had a plate with smoked duck, smoked venison, cheese and a bean salad. Everything was delicious. (I really need to keep a food journal…no, not the joy sucking calorie counting drivel, but the inspirational kind. That bean salad was like nothing I’ve ever had before and now I forget why! Hmmm…a food journal for inspiration. I’m going to get on that).
Bolstered by our lovely lunch we headed off to the famous Neist Point. Many of the roads on Skye are winding single lane adventures with little side patches occasionally that allow you to pull over and let oncoming traffic go by. It feels very old world. The ancient hills all around, the marks running through them that show where water has travelled and worn down the rock in a never ending, century after century cycle of rain and evaporation. And just when you have yourself dreaming of historical events, the car gets stopped by a herd of cows and their ATV riding herder. And presto, you’re back in the present.
Huge cliffs, churning ocean, sheep grazing and spectacular. It’s the stuff of post cards and it does not disappoint when you finally see it in real life.
Dave walked all the way to the top. See him up there?
Waaaay up there!
I got further than I expected, but definitely not to the top. The sheep and I did some quality bonding part way up.
I was fascinated by how close they got to the edge of the cliff to eat. Could it have tasted better over there? Where is their mother? Are they passive aggressive teenagers flirting with danger? (I digress).
So close to the edge! Why?
Back in the car to face the narrow winding roads again, it’s time to find a very special place to our daughter Annie.
The September past our daughter, then living in Winnipeg, decided to make some bold moves of her own. She found a couple of places in Europe where she could go and do what she loves to do, in exchange for room and board. (HelpX for any who might be interested).
Her first stop was Skye. She worked on a unique horse trekking farm. Aside from all the usual work of being on a horse farm, the shovelling and grooming and riding (in this regard work=play to Annie) they were experimenting with meditation with the horses. That is, meditating while on the horse.
We had vague instructions of where to find this place. Instructions like ‘it’s within walking distance of the pub in Edinbane, down the highway a little further and turn up a road…blah blah blah.’ We thought that in a small place like this these instructions would be fine. Silly us, we thought there would be signs as well. What were we thinking?
It was disappointing to have gotten that close but not to have found it. So we headed for the pub. That’s what you do when you’re tired and hungry and disappointed right?
The Pub was just what we needed. Part of traveling is adventure eating right? And at some point while in Scotland you need to try the things that excite the locals. Gulp…so here we go. When in Scotland…
Smoked haddock/potato soup (YUM!) and black pudding garnished with fried pork belly, apples and greens. We did it. Of course it was better than expected but that doesn’t mean I feel the need to ever eat it again. Oh the soup, yes!
Then we shared an order of fish and chips. As you do. It was all good.
Part way through the meal I asked the server if she knew were the Skye Trekking Centre was…she sure did! She was the owner. It’s not a huge island. It was lovely to at least meet her.
Driving our 50 minute drive home that night we were treated to a long slow fading sunset. Colours shifting and changing every few minutes like slow moving painting. All was well. We were tired from the long day but this was perfect.
Until we realized that if we were heading into the sunset we were heading the wrong direction.
Extra long drive home that night Mama. We really should have booked early and been closer. Oh when will we learn?