Following our stunning walk in the Quiraing we were hot and in need of a hearty lunch so we made our way down the hairpin bends to Portree. Portree is the biggest town on Skye and has a pretty harbour with pastel coloured pubs and buildings.
We spotted Cafe Arriba and climbed the wooden stairs. The place was packed and we were behind another lady forming a queue for the next available table. As often happens in these situations, we got talking and ended up joining Lisa at her table for lunch. Travelling offers these wonderful opportunities to meet and talk to people you wouldn’t normally have known. We spent a wonderful couple of hours chatting, eating and resting. It was just what we needed.
With four o’clock racing near we took our leave and made our way to the carpark for the Old Man of Storr. The intense heat of the day had passed but it was still very warm as we set off up the path to these striking rock formations. Yet again, we were reminded of Machu Picchu as the craggy rocks soared up towards the sky.
The path here was incredibly well maintained and was a series of flattish boulder like steps which were far easier to climb than they looked. As the path snaked through the formations it felt a little bit like being in an Indiana Jones film.
The path climbed onwards and upwards and as we got near to the final stretch the wind suddenly picked up. We went from no breeze at all to gusts in one turn of direction. The easy climb boulder steps finished here too and it was a walking pole and scramble job to the actual top. It was still surprisingly busy and as always happens in these places there is the wait to take your photo in the ‘Instagram spot’.
While we waited a group of German speaking lads arrived with heavy back packs. They scampered up the final bit and arrived at the top with not so much as a breath out of place. Well we can’t be 15 forever!
The view from the top was spectacular although the bright sun from earlier was just starting to disappear behind the Old Man and his friends.
We sat for a few minutes just taking it all in. Today had been really special. We’d enjoyed two spectacular walks in a truly amazing landscape. The Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr are in our top three best walks with Machu Picchu narrowly beating them to the top place. Although we could have sat for longer the sun was showing signs of getting lower and we wanted to get down in full light.
And now are next mission was to find our camping spot for the night. When we came here 12 years ago, we camped by a beautiful loch and we wanted to go back. Taking the single track road to Elgol we found our exact location but word of this wonderful place has obviously got out since our last visit as there were already people there. Undeterred we found another place a couple of hundred yards further back along the road and we got ourselves settled for the night.
The next day, just like on our last visit, we awoke to the most amazing view. Skye is a truly magical place and it’s a place we will definitely return to.
Our wonderful adventure was nearly at an end. All that awaited us now was the drive back down through Scotland. This has been one of the best holidays we’ve had. We’ve seen spectacular sights, climbed beautiful hills, paddled in turquoise seas and driven some amazing roads. And all with fabulous weather. We feel truly blessed.
If you are wondering whether the NC500 is for you, we can’t recommend it enough. Go! Explore, enjoy, experience all that it has to offer. We could have stopped at so many other places and seen even more. It’s a route we’ll definitely do again and in our trusty van Buttercup.
Thanks for reading my blogs. I hope they’ve inspired you to get out in nature and enjoy the wonderful things we have on offer in the UK. We’re very lucky.