And at long last it was time for the main event of our trip... The Isle of Skye. I had seen so many stunning pictures of this fairylike terrain, I could hardly wait to romp around all over it. Sadly, we woke up to essentially torrential downpours which barely stopped the whole day. It made a long journey in a bus even more tiring and mood swing inducing than normal, but we all sallied forth anyway. Hot Blonde Cousin and I arrived at the check point well before departure time but soon realized that everyone else must have shown up a good 30 minutes earlier, as we were banished to the final row of seating, right near the toilet. (This actually ended up being propitious in the extreme by day's end.) At least we were able to sit next to each other and had prime real estate near the phone charging wall socket. (First world problems!)
We made several stops throughout the day, all green and beautiful and bursting with natural vegetation. The Highlands are an incredibly lush area of the world that make even breathing a notable pleasure. Breathing yes, but sometime circa an hour into the voyage, I started getting supremely nauseous, something that did not pass until much later in the day. I wasn't sure if it was delayed food poisoning or delayed hangover, but something was certainly amiss.
Stomach troubles aside, the landscape was breathtaking. I would have to say that my two favorite spots along the tour were the brilliant waterfall along the side of a cliff called Creag an Fheilidh, or Kilt Rock, and the enchanting Faerie Glen. Throughout the day we were privileged with the delights of tiny waterfalls coming down from mountains left and right, a phenomenon that only occurs with the rain. But it wasn't until we made it to the Fairy Glen that I felt the trip had truly been worth it and that, yes, I had in fact found my homeland.
The entire area of the Faerie Glen is paved in a thick layer of bright green mossy textured grass. There are strange little hills, inclines, and patterns of terrain, all very reminiscent of the Shire and various other fantasyland havens. A rocky tour called Castle Ewen stands guard over the glittering glen, though the rain made things far too slippery and treacherous to make the attempt. Frozen and soaked, I frolicked around the magical hills with as much grace as I could manage. If there weren't any real local fairies in sight, I was at least doing my job of representing the international contingency.
Our final stop on the tour was Eilean Donan Castle, a place that I was fortunate enough to see under optimal weather circumstances during my first Highland excursion. It was still beautiful despite the rain, though I was happy to be ensconced back in the bus and en route back to Inverness. It had only been an our or so earlier when my lingering stomach bug had finally rebelled, and I vomited as elegantly as I could in the well-placed bathroom on board. When we finally got back into town, we were exhausted, drenched, and most importantly starving. Luckily, we had made dinner reservations at a local restaurant that was very highly recommended. We sipped a glass of wine over our hearty fair and let the sun set on Scotland.