If it were up to me, the weather when we were traveling would always be sunny with a scattering of puffy clouds here and there, a temperature of at least 75° F, and maybe a light breeze if it started creeping up much higher than that. In over 100 days of travel during the past three years, we have been blessed with that level of perfection less times than I can count on both hands. Those aren’t great odds, but it’s what we have learned to expect while traveling through Europe and the UK, two regions of the world well-known for inclement and unpredictable weather. I’d be lying if I told you I had learned to embrace this sort of weather with open-armed enthusiasm, but I have reached a general level of (grudging) acceptance that these are the terms for traveling in Europe – sometimes you get lucky, but more often than not you get rain.
Such was the case when we visited the Quiraing in Scotland, one of the most highly recommended areas on the Isle of Skye for those looking to do a little bit of hiking, which we were. We sat in the car while rain beat down on the windows, trying not to let the weather get us down. (An itinerary based entirely outdoors did not allow room for all-day rainstorms!) Luckily, just like heavy rainstorms in London, this one passed quickly, leaving a cold drizzle and a light fog in its wake. Or so we thought.
By the time we got out of the car, consulted the map, and began walking up the path from the car park, the Quiraing that I’d been admiring on Instagram and online for months in preparation for our trip had become almost completely concealed by fog. And the longer we deliberated on whether to continue with our hike, the denser it got. In the end, we decided to give it a try, despite the fact that we wouldn’t actually see the scenery that brought us out here in the first place. We had our fingers crossed the fog would pass as quickly as the storm had, though.
Except it didn’t. We made it less than a mile into the 3-mile route that would have taken us around the Quiraing before not only could we not clearly see the scenery around us, but in some places it was even difficult to see the path we were supposed to be on. Unwilling to risk a fall, we decided to turn around and head back to the starting point. I was disappointed we didn’t get to complete the hike as planned, but as someone who enjoys taking pictures regardless of weather conditions, there was a silver lining. The fog allowed me to capture Scotland as I’ve always seen it in my head – kind of dark, broody, and mysterious. Also, did you know in Scotland they call this kind of fog, haar? That’s fun to say.
That last photo there is one of my favorites from the trip. I mean, how much more Scottish can you get? Dramatic landscape, check. Misty fog, check. Man in kilt, check. I kind of love the juxtaposition of his Adidas backpack and hoodie with the traditional Scottish kilt. He’s all average, everyday hiker on top, proud Scotsman on the bottom. I dig it.
And because I wanted his picture, but there was no possible way I could get it without him noticing the strange female laying on the ground behind him, I awkwardly asked him if I could take his photo (I am so weird about that) and afterwards we got to talking. Turns out, this man was born on the Isle of Skye and lived his entire life here. You guys, Skye is tiny – I just can’t even imagine. There is so much beauty here, and a true nature-lover would certainly feel at home among the hills and mountains and lochs, but still. I haven’t been anywhere yet that I’d be comfortable to settle down in for more than a couple years, much less put down roots and never leave. That sort of love and commitment blows my mind.
Anyway, in case you’re interested in the hike we tried to take, that info is here. Note that bypassing the summit of the Quiraing will make the route a little quicker and easier without sacrificing too much of the scenery. We, unfortunately, didn’t get the chance to return to the Quiraing and try this hike again before it was time to head back to London, but we did get to go on some of the other popular hikes on the Isle of Skye and had much better luck with the weather for those!
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