Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bucket List: Visiting the Isle of Skye

When we found out we were moving to Aberdeen, I started doing some major Pinterest stalking to see what all in Scotland we wanted to see. When I saw this lovely, yet obnoxiously photo-shopped picture of the ‘Fairy Pools’, I knew I had to see them for myself.
Admittedly, April is not much of a hiker, which ruled out several things I originally put on her itinerary. But since we both agreed that we wanted to see the Isle of Skye, I let her know upfront that a hike to the Fairy Pools was required.
Early the morning of, I tried looking for clear directions to the fabled pools, and well, it was slim pickings. Many blogs warned that the hike was not well marked and sometimes heavy rains wiped out the ‘stepping stones’ needed to cross the stream along the way. Not to mention that the best directions to the car park I could find was Car park on right hand side of small road to Glen Brittle. Sign on right as road descends.” For someone so navigationally challenged, this was not too comforting. How exactly do you put ‘small road to Glen Brittle’ into a finicky Sat Nav? You don’t.
I knew that a 'glen' was a valley, usually with a body of water, so we used my spotty 3 G service and google maps to get us pointed in the right direction. I had a hunch that the trail was near the Talisker distillery and we were headed that way when we saw a sign pointing to Glen Brittle. Unfortunately the sign pointed down the smallest, most winding-est, road I have ever laid eyes on. I was instantly uncomfortable driving, especially since we didn’t know if we were even headed the right way. We drove for what felt like hours, pulling off to the side of the road if we saw any oncoming traffic headed our way. Because y’all, this road didn’t even pretend to have room for two cars.
Every time the road descended, we preened our eyes to the right sight of the road looking for any evidence of a car park, but never saw it. Just when I got to the point of thinking (aloud), ‘We could run out of gas out here, and no one would find us for days. April, we could die!’ (ps. I’m not one to stay calm in a crisis) we finally saw the glorious 'Fairy Pools' sign waiting around the bend. We hooped and hollered as if LSU had just beaten BAMA in the National Championship, and of course, I made April pose by the sign.
Our elation was short lived since after getting to the car park, there was little indication of what to do next. Luckily, I had taken good notes from the Walk Highlands website and knew to cross the road and take the path to Sligiche, on the right. Only problem was the trail to Sligiche lead to the left. Since the right sided trail followed the stream, we opted for that choice.
When we came across some hikers on their way back, we asked for confirmation that we were headed the right way. The assured us that we were, but looked skeptically at our footware. I knew we had some stepping stones to cross up the trail, but figured my sneakers could get me across. April had some fashionable suede boots on, but they said Northface, so we’ll call them hiking boots. By the way, April is the most stylish hiker in the world. It was like hiking with a Victoria Secret model.
Well when we came to the stepping stones, it was easy to see how a good rainstorm could cover them completely. We were really lucky weather-wise on Skye, and so it was ‘passable’, though a bit nerve-racking with a 20 ton camera around my neck. April glided over it with extreme grace and ease. It was like hiking with a Victoria Secret model.
While I, the one with so-called ‘hiking experience’, had to be coached across stepping stone by stepping stone.
Once we were across the water, we could tell we were getting close as signified by the group of very serious-looking hikers huddled around a waterfall. This was it. The moment I had been waiting for. 
Initially, I was disappointed that the fairy pools didn’t quite live up to the photo-shopped hype, but really, they were stunning. The water was as turquoise as any beach in the Bahamas, though capturing the scene in a picture was especially difficult. That didn’t stop us from trying. Here are my best photo-shopping efforts (aka Instagram).
On our drive back to Portree, we came across 2 German motorcyclists who flagged us down to ask for directions to the Fairy Pools. I explained that they were going the right way, but needed to continue driving until they started to panic that they might run out of gas and die out there, and just when they get to the point of considering food and water rations, they would see a small “Fairy Pools” sign on the right.
I am pretty sure most of that was lost in translation and all they gleamed was ‘on the right’. Oh well, the road to the Fairy Pools is paved with good intentions…and bad directions.

Well friends, I am off to Krakow to scratch off another Bucket List item: visiting Auschwitz. Have a great weekend and I'll see you next week!


  1. I'm so glad you got there, and took pictures! We went to Skye a few weeks ago but the weather was horrible. Blowing a gale and pouring buckets, so we decided not to go looking for the fairy pools. (They're on my Pinterest Bucket List too, lol) At least now I can see your photos so I know what I missed.

    Congratulations on getting there, and not dying!

  2. I think your 1st book should be a travel guide for Scotlant newcomers complete with your lovely photos, colorful directions, and Lainesque narratives. You could have chapters with all your cute furry friends,castles,hiking trails--I could go on and on, but I'll try to control myself for now. I see real potential here. What do.the rest of you loyal readers think?

    1. I agree! So was it worth the effort to see the pools? :)