My family are Scottish, my roots firmly in the rough and glorious landscapes of the North. Returning is an infrequent pleasure, one that brings me a sense of excitement akin to a child awaiting Christmas morning. In April, we took to the road, navigating the way through the endless miles of motorways, meandering into the open expanse of The Lakes, to Loch Lomond and beyond.
Skye is a place to explore outdoors, whatever the weather. It can be punishing, but the rewards are worth the perseverance.
The journey to the isle of Skye is unforgettable once you arrive at the Trossachs and enter into a world of towering mountains and sweeping vistas. On the cusp of spring, early April snow coated the hilltops, whipped into powder by the wind, catching evening light from Fort William to the Cuillins.
The single-track roads of Skye curve and wind through the rural scenery, never dull, often distracting. The Scottish weather is notoriously unpredictable, whatever the season, but this only adds a sense of mystery to the adventure. They call Skye the Misty Isle, a moniker that she will willingly live up to. Mist is fascinating to me, swirling, obtuse, revealing and hiding glimpses of the landscape. It’s the kind of weather that makes me want to go exploring even more than usual, and Skye was often steeped in such a veil.
Visiting the Old Man of Storr, the iconic formations were shrouded and obscured, but the weather often moves quick, and soon the monolithic structures appeared, as if they’d just been born into the hillside. The climb up is tough, winding through desolation of deforestation, well worn by tourists, walkers and locals.
The Trotternish Peninsular has many delights, especially in the quiet morning hours, my favourite time to explore. The Quiraing, iconic in it’s grandeur, catches the first light of the day, and on the morning I visited, the cloud parted enough for the sun to illuminate the sparse, dramatic ragged edges of rock and weathered soil, lochs below swallowing the sky. These are the moments that shape me, perching on precarious vantage points, marveling at nature’s ability to overwhelm my heart, capturing the moment, never to be repeated over the millennia to come.
Skye has highs and lows, from waterfalls to lochs, mountains to beaches. The Fairy Pools entice you into icy waters with their turquoise colour, the last remnants of a glacier, nature’s legacy. Loch Sligachan, in heart of the isle, turns with the tide, a sea loch at heart, home to Otters who feed in the first moments of the morning, silhouetted against the sunrise. Here, the fog clung to the horizon, glowing with orange hues, reflected in the slowly moving tide, and I almost caught by the change in the flow, hopping from rock to rock, making my escape to shore.
Skye is a place to explore outdoors, whatever the weather. It can be punishing, but the rewards are worth the perseverance. Part of my heart remains on the Misty Isle, patiently waiting for my return, boots laced, jacket zipped to the top, camera in hand and adventure on my mind.
About Verity Milligan
Bio – Verity is a professional photographer and educator working out of the city of Birmingham, UK. Often found outdoors exploring and capturing the landscape, she is quintessentially a morning person who is particularly fond of afternoon naps.