The scent of Scotland changes as the damp rains roll in; throughout the small city of Portree the earthy smell of grass and the fresh scent of wet flowers begin to dominate the air and override the ostensibly more powerful scent of deep-frying fish and chips; instead the collage of smells mingle together in the misty rains.
That’s what I encountered most of my days in Scotland, a misty damp rain that alternates with huge, fat, plops slowly drifting downward. Is it a bit redundant to continue mentioning the rain in Scotland? Many Scotland natives are quite blasé about the rain, but as a traveler, well, it’s good to know that it’s not an exaggeration…and that the rain actually adds dimensions to the Scotland experience.
It is certainly a mind over matter feat to decide to enjoy Scotland through the wet and cold –I wasn’t happy and pleased with it every day, but I did explore and hike around the Isle of Skye and find that everything took on a unique beauty in rains versus the sunshine.
In addition to hiking The Old Man of Storr and busing around the Trotternish peninsula there is a short hour walk that is doable from Portree itself. My hostel owner literally drew me out a map (you know, so I don’t get lost…) and then kicked me out of the warm and cozy common room to slosh around in the mud and explore the island.
The walk parallels Portree Harbor for a while and then loops around the coast where the small ships chug around the corner to take refuge in the harbor. The paths branch off into varying length walks and since I am useless as a navigator (I knew I should have stayed in girl scouts!) I took the longest walk possible which ended in a steep uphill climb with a few last sweeping views of the ocean before cutting across cow pastures and taking in the Highland cows – how cool!!
These long-haired cows are an ancient breed of cattle that only developed in the Highlands and islands of Scotland. These hairy cows tickled my fancy though it was raining too hard to risk snapping my own photo.
There is still so much hiking and exploring that I missed so don’t feel like these are the only activities; I stuck to the Trotternish peninsula this time around and there is definitely more to see!