Photos and words by Harry Martin
The Isle of Skye is an increasingly popular tourist destination for holiday makers from all over the world. While those living on the island, such as myself, get to enjoy the splendours all year round most people’s experience of Skye is far more fleeting. There are many people who spend as little as 24 hours on the misty isle, obviously not enough time to take in everything. However, a recent 24 hour period proved to me that you can fill one day with some pretty special memories if you know how.
It started with an optimistic forecast and a customer of mine who wanted to see some of the island’s less visited locations at sunset. We headed up to the North of the island for our first stop, a beautiful and secluded waterfall. I could spend hours just sitting there (and have done on several occasions) but the sun was rapidly heading towards the horizon and our next location was calling. A 40 minute walk and quick scramble down saw us set up in front of a set of imposing cliffs, waiting for that perfect moment as the sun peeked out from the clouds to illuminate the rock face. We soaked in the last light of the day, perched in this quiet corner of Skye. Or at least what I thought would be the end of the day.
I had seen throughout the day reports and alerts that there could potentially be a good display of the aurora borealis that night. So after a quick dinner I headed back out to see what might happen. I’d barely stepped out my front door when I saw the lights already shimmering and waving across the night sky, vividly clear to the naked eye. After jumping in the car and rushing to an arranged viewpoint I enjoyed what had to be the best show of the northern lights I have ever seen. With greens, reds, pinks and purples all flashing and moving, with rays shooting upwards and explosions of colour, it still gives me goosebumps thinking about it. We’re lucky on the Isle of Skye to have very little light pollution, and being at a relatively northerly latitude means that on a clear winter’s night there’s every possibility that anyone might be lucky enough to enjoy nature’s greatest light show.
With the forecast looking promising for the next day, I intended to get out before sunrise to look for some of Skye’s wildlife. As the Sun appeared over the horizon I was sat snuggly on the coastline watching an otter feed in the water in front of me for a good 20 minutes before disappearing round the corner. Bathed in that early morning glow it was a brilliant way to start the day.
From there I headed straight up one of Skye’s many ridge-lines in search of eagles. Generally when you know where to look you can find them, after that it’s up to the eagles how close they decide to come and on this occasion it was pretty close, so much so that I couldn’t fit the whole bird in my frame! All of the above took place in less than 24 hours - it just goes to show what you can see and do with a bit of local knowledge. If you’d like to experience some of what this stunning island has to offer then please get in touch!