July 7, 2017
At breakfast, the lady at the next table can’t stop staring at my belly. Clearly, she thinks the baby is coming tomorrow (eye roll). We exchange pleasantries and strike up a conversation. She casually mentions that we probably won’t be doing any of the hikes. We laugh and say we intend to try the easy trails.
The hike at Old Man of Storr is easy enough, but the path is steep. I find myself stopping for breath every few turns. I stopped at point the husband says was around quarter mark, but in retrospect I think it must have been closer to three quarters. He made it all the way to the top and came down around thirty (30) to forty-five 45) minutes after I did. I was slow, but I don’t think he could do it that fast. The way down is trickier than going up. The slope is steep, ground gravelly and my protruding belly works against me. I make my way down slowly and cautiously picking my steps. I nap in the car while I wait. When the husband returns, we drive on the viewpoint Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls. The weather is cooler now, and it is starting to rain. It is easy to see how Kilt Rock gets its name. The basalt columns resting on a sandstone base gives it an appearance strikingly similar to a pleated kilt. Against this eccentric backdrop, the Mealt waterfall plummets from the top of the sea cliffs straight into the ocean below, all of which gives it that extra “wow”.
A bizarre landscape of cone-shaped hills dotted with ponds and scattered waterfalls greets us at the Faerie Glen of Uig. There are no stories or fairy tales associated with the glen, but it is charming and otherworldly nonetheless. We drive up and down the bumpy path and settle on a delightful spot to make some memories. A small grassy clearing surrounded by a low stone wall, ideal for a coven, a little waterfall with its own emerald green pool to the side and a knoll to scramble behind. I want to try going up, but the rains have made the ground slippery and the husband is wearing the worst footwear possible for this. We glance at the clock and find its time to move on.
The Faerie Pools of Glen Brittle were on almost every must do list I found online, naturally they were on ours too. The hike to the lower pool is really an easy walk across grass and water. Conveniently arranged rocks allow you to hop across natural streams. The turquoise waters of the pool are so clear that we can see each moss covered stone at the bottom. We stop here, as a pregnant belly and poor choice of footwear make us ill-equipped to deal with the slippery path ahead. I had planned to go “wild swimming” but I luckily, I forgot to carry swimwear. The day is too cold and the place to crowded to swim. Had the pool been truly isolated, I might have even considered skinny dipping. What made the place magical for me was the distinct difference in the colour of the grass and the shrubbery on the sunward side and mountainside – neon bright on one side and a grimmer gruff grungy green on the other.
We knew we might be running late on our packed itinerary, so we had purposely held off on booking a stay for tonight. The husband quickly did a last-minute booking at a B&B at Loch Ness and we were on our way. Not wanting to repeat last night’s experience, we stop for supper at Portree and by the time we reach our B&B it’s close to nine in the night. The doors are shut and the lady there insists she only takes care of the dogs and knows nothing about our booking. She absolutely refuses to let us in, or put us in touch with the hosts, and even threatens to call the cops on us. We don’t have a choice. We make our way down the road and check into the only room available at Hotel Drumnadrochit. The hotel looks a little rundown from the outside, but it has the biggest room we’ve had so far, with an exception of the House on the Falls. The room is clean and comfortable too. It’s a twin room, so we have the luxury of individual beds. There is still light outside, but we happily sink into the inky blackness of sleep.