Monday, 20 August 2012

Being a tourist on Skye

Sue and I took one of our all-too-rare days off yesterday, abandoning the ironing, gardening, and host of other tasks which we decided could wait for another day. Sue packed a picnic lunch, and we set off to do a circuit of the Trotternish Peninsula, a part of Skye Sue has barely ever visited, in spite of it only being some 40 miles away from home!

We first paused at Bearreraig Bay - a place virtually no-one visits, even though it is only a mile or so from the very popular Old Man of Storr car park... (The pipes on the left and building at the bottom are part of Skye's Hydro-electric power station).

Then we went on to Staffin, and spent a while looking for the famous fossilised dinosaur footprints, but although I found them last time I was there, we weren't so lucky this time. This is one of the beaches in Staffin Bay.

Cupar and I had our usual lunchtime game with a tennis ball, but today with a backdrop of Staffin Bay. Here, Cupar has just caught the ball which I had tossed in the air.

We then drove up to the northern tip of the peninsula, this time not visiting the spectacular Quiraing (part of it in the background). There is just not time in one day to see all that Trotternish has to offer! (ps - I'm not quite that shape - I have my GPS location device hanging round my neck under my jumper...!!)

Here is another spot the majority of tourists drive past without seeing...

These wonderful sea cliffs are only a quarter of a mile from the road, but people don't look at maps, so don't stop to explore.... However, we stopped, and were rewarded not with just the views, but also by the sight of two dolphins leaping out of the sea in perfect formation just below us (but too quickly for a photo I'm afraid...!)

We did join the tourists taking a look at the ruins of Duntulm Castle though....

...and ended our Trotternish visiting by taking a walk around the amazing land formations of the Fairy Glen, on this occasion coinciding with a tour-bus-full of Japanese visitors. This place is often deserted too, as without a tour guide or local knowledge, finding the glen isn't easy, as it lies at the end of a rough single track road, and is not signposted at all.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Allotment news - Harvest!

I've sadly pulled up most of the dead and dying brassicas which succumbed to the cabbage root fly, and dug over the bed, so they were a total loss.

However, in spite of the dry weather (which still continues) the potatoes have done really well. Both the first and second earlies are good for scraping (rather than needing peeling) and cook beautifully, having a prefect texture. The carrots have so far escaped carrot fly, and are very flavoursome. The swede are great, and the onions are still OK, though there are not going to be any whoppers this year! Bean-wise, the runners are flowering well, and a few beans are set. We are actually having some light rain today, which will help them along. The broad beans look fine.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Camper vans.... can someone please explain???

Please don't get me wrong - we love every visitor who comes to the Isle of Skye  whether they arrive on foot, on a bike or in a Ferrari. We hope they will all go back home telling everyone they meet what a wonderful place they have been on holiday.

However, very many visitors to the island seem to choose to arrive in a camper van, and we welcome them too...but...

Will someone put me right me if I am completely incorrect, but my take on these vehicles is:
  • They cost an eye watering amount of money to buy
  • They are slow
  • They use huge quantities of fuel
  • They don't go round corners too well
  • They are too big for narrow single track roads
  • They are too big to park in normal car parks
And then, once you've got your camper van to your chosen camp site, you park alongside several dozen other camper vans, with BBQs smoking and children running about, and enjoy the view past the other vans while you swat at the midges and try to cook a meal on a tiny cooker in your cramped kitchen area.

Then you fancy popping down to the pub. Hmmm.... it's a bit too far to walk,  so first you have to pack away all your tables and chairs and get the washing up done and dried and stowed away securely. Once on your way, you soon have a convoy of cars trailing along behind you, because you are too big to overtake safely, then you arrive at the pub, and you have to take up three parking spaces. But don't worry - you're not really annoying anyone. When you eventually get back to the camp site, and drive through the other vans, waking up all the sleeping children, you find someone else has now parked in your spot and the only place left is next to the litter bins with the toilet block obscuring the view....

Clearly, from the large numbers of the things we have on our little roads here every summer, holidaying in a camper van is very popular, but please could someone explain - just what IS the appeal of this way of having a holiday??