A Quiet Skye Summer…

This blog is a mashup of different stuff I’ve been up to so far this summer.

Solstice dawn looked like this…

solstice in the sound by quietskye.com
Solstice in the Sound of Sleat

We sailed off the mooring in Kyleakin before dawn and crept down through the narrows at Kylerhea on the southerly ebb, reaching Isle Ornsay by sun-up and this was what we saw, looking back over our shoulders. The wind got up strongly later and we had a robust day of sailing in the Sound, out towards the Small Isles, finally ending up in Isle Ornsay overnight.

With a view to more ‘microadventuring’, I also, finally, got my kit together for a walk and an overnight…

kit bag contents by quietskye.com
Kit for an adventure!

To which I would add a warm hat and a tick-device, just in case. I was out with the kit near Ashaig and found that a few extra tent pegs would be a bonus, so I’d add those as well. But using the hiking poles with slings or bungees to create the ‘basha’ works really well. With the fine dry weather continuing, it’s worth just mentioning the danger of wildfire, so do take lots of care if you’re using a stove or building a fire. Everything is tinder dry right now and the risk is high.

After six years on Skye there are still a few places I’ve never visited so I made the trip last week to Kyleakin to the Bright Water Centre, which celebrates the work of writer Gavin Maxwell – Ring of Bright Water – and was surprised to find a lovely wee space, full of interactive learning, creative area and well presented information. It would make an excellent visit for families because it has younger learners in mind with a lot of its content but it will suit everyone. It was good to see an emphasis on environmental concerns, raising awareness of the impact of sea litter…

impact of sea litter by quietskye.com
Impact of Sea Litter

The Bright Water Centre is down on the Old Pier at Kyleakin.

bright water centre by quietskye.com
The Bright Water Centre, Kyleakin

After this, I drove over to Kylerhea – I think this road is possibly my favourite on all Skye – to visit the otter hide. It is on Forestry Commission woodland, overlooking the Kylerhea narrows and it gives a wonderful view of all the wildlife that lives and depends upon this tidal phenomenon; seals, herons, otters, a whole range of seabirds, porpoise and dolphin. And of course, Sea Eagles.

otter hide at kylerhea by quietskye.com
Otter hide at Kylerhea
Otter on Eilean Ban

I think I saw an otter although it might have been a seal. I definitely saw lots of seals, some lying ashore and ‘singing’ to each other, others in the water making forays into the tidal eddies to hunt. The otter hide has a wealth of information about the enigmatic little beasts, how to tell an otter from a seal in their behaviour and appearance.

inside otter hide by quietskye.com
Inside the Kylerhea otter hide

With temperatures set to soar at the weekend,  I headed out around 0730 on Saturday into Glen Sligachan to use the cooler conditions to go up Marsco. When I got to the fork at the ford, I thought it would be fairly dry given it’s been so lovely lately but it was all bogged out. So I opted for a longer walk along the Glen and the day turned into a wildflower learning opportunity.

bog asphodel by quietskye.com
Bog Asphodel in Glen Sligachan

Every time I saw something different, I stopped and photographed it. I knew just one or two but my knowledge of wild flowers is pretty basic so I needed to do the research when I got home and found this lovely website.

Self Heal by quietskye.com
Self Heal in Glen Sligachan
Lousewort by quietskye.com
Lousewort in Glen Sligachan
Cross leaved heath heather by quietskye.com
Cross Leaved Heath Heather in Glen Sligachan
Buttercup by quietskye.com
Bulbous Buttercup in Glen Sligachan

I got as far as Sgurr Hain. The improvements to paths and drainage along this route is brilliant, all credit to those who have done all the  hard work, I really appreciated it so much.

From Sgurr Hain by quietskye.com
Panoramic view from Sgurr Hain in Glen Sligachan

Finally around mid afternoon I began to feel some effects of exposure to sun and needed to turn back and a few hours later I crawled into the shade of the bar at the Sligachan Inn to cool down. This place has made some changes over the last year and I really like what they’ve done. Decent food, good prices, good facilities, music and massive screen for sports and events.

Definitely recommend a visit to the Glen and Inn alike!