The Magical Beauty of Scotland's Isle of Skye
Sometimes it’s the unexpected things that make travel so wonderfully adventurous.
This summer, my travels during the Voyage of the Vikings cruise were certainly full of surprises!
There were new sights, different sounds, fresh smells, flavorful tastes, a couple cranky days here and there, but mostly delightful experiences – from being invited into a friendly stranger’s home in Qaqortoq, to sailing through an ice belt off the coast of Greenland, to eating the national cake of Norway, and all the amazing friendships that were formed along the way.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected things occurred a day after we left Dublin, the last of the major European cities on our route. It was a day at sea, the weather wasn’t great, and I didn’t have a whole lot planned.
At some point over the course of the morning it was announced that our ship would be sailing past Scotland’s legendary Isle of Skye, a place known for beautiful scenery and folklore. A trip to Scotland has long been on my mind, so this was a nice little introduction that allowed me to observe this northerly part of the British Isles.
Of course, only sailing past a place isn’t necessarily the same as visiting it, but oh my, that first impression, even from a distance, blew me away!
As I watched the barren scenery pass by, I was overcome by the feeling of wanting to jump right into this magical landscape. From the moment I saw it, the Isle of Skye captivated me; the bold mountains, the jagged curvature of the cliffs, the little villages dotting the ocean, the mysterious clouds constantly changing shapes in the grey sky - like I said, magical.
Although this was my first time seeing any part of Scotland in person, a small part of me felt like I was returning to something familiar, like coming back home from a long journey.
Is it possible to know a place before ever setting foot there?
There was something about this place that I couldn't quite place my finger on. Like a half forgotten dream, like a memory quickly fading out of my grasp, like a past life of which I have hardly any recollection, Scotland was shrouded in the fog of my mind.
Can you gain an understanding of a place just by looking at it from a distance?
Scotland: A land of strong yet kind people, a land of turmoil and of peace, a land of startling natural beauty, and brash and unpredictable weather conditions.
After seeing the rugged coastline and imagining what the rest of the country looks like, I know that this is a destination I would love to explore in the future. I could totally see myself spending a few weeks here, going on a tour of Scotland, and definitely doing a few Isle of Skye hiking trips.
As our ship drifted along the coast I marveled at the spectacular but rough natural beauty. Here and there, a village popped up consisting of a few small houses, sometimes a church could be seen.
Occasionally there would be more signs of life, like a windmill farm that could be seen in the distance, or a ferry passing by.
The Isle of Skye appears to be a land of twisted rock and earth contrasted, although sparsely, by modern technology.
Lately I’ve been on the lookout for destinations that are quiet, with plenty of natural attractions to explore. The Isle of Skye, and Scotland in general, appears to have that wonderful quality to it, and I wish I could have gotten off the ship to explore a bit more.
For now, here are a few more of my favorite photos: