Sigur Ros’s newest album, Kveikur, was the soundtrack to our time on the Isle of Skye. It suited the Isle. The music, the wet air, the mountains — it all melded perfectly into one complete experience: gutteral, ancient, mystical.
Each piece of the island was stunning. We drove past every new vista with mouths agape. The word “beautiful” got heavier with each use, so that eventually we could only whisper it. The earth rose up from the sea in steep green mounds and rested in low grey clouds. To me, those mounds were giants from long ago. Not clumsy, stupid giants, but great warriors with young strength and wise hearts. Some sadness in the world had broken their hearts, and in an ancient age they stumbled to this high region of the world where they bent over, tears streaming through their fingers and down their hair and shoulders. There they stayed, until grass grew over their backs and their weeping carved tear-grooves down their sides. Skye became a world always green, watered with sorrow, lonely and desolate and always ancient.
When we entered Skye we escaped western civilization and rose above it into some otherly world. We drove down a single lane road, on the edge of picturesque views, to a self-catered cottage so far down the road no one ever drove past it. We lived there for three nights, eating our simple dinners after we put Bugaloo to bed in his travel cot and then going to sleep ourselves. It was quiet, and our view looked over towards some green giants and the sea.
From this outpost (near Carbost) we ventured forth. Every morning we’d pack lunches and snacks and diapers and then sit in the car and look at our map.
Faerie Glen was our very first stop. The name is all that is needed to describe what it was like.
Ambrose handled the whole trip better than could possibly be expected! He took his naps in the carseat during treks to the next site, but if he woke he amused himself in perfect silence or conversed quietly with the ceiling. He loved being in the baby carrier that Tyler wore, immediate excitement always ensued upon being lifted up that high. He was a wonder baby (this week.)
Skye felt untouched. A handful of houses spread across a hill constituted a town. And those houses were usually B&Bs, not residential homes. (I liked them because they were all white, like flocks tucked up in the hills to roost.) There was one two-lane road that circled the isle, other than that there were a couple of long, single-lane roads that accessed the remote corners. If people lived there, they didn’t belong; they could only pretend to live on Skye.
The second day we spent most of our day at Dunvegan Castle, which you can read about here. Then we went walking towards the coral beaches.
I asked God for a sunset our last night in Skye. The sky in the evenings had just always been grey and then dark. He gave me one. It lasted for a couple hours, finally sinking through the clouds at 10:45pm. (Aside: The owners of the cottage stay in an adjacent one, you can see their garden in the picture below, it had everything in it from lettuce to blueberries to corn!).
Our last day began with Ambrose sitting on the floor being really cute while watching Baby Einstein (so we could pack). Then we traveled to the Culluin mountains down south before saying goodbye to the isle. Ambrose was cute there, too.
Then we left. The Isle of Skye is unchanged for our brief trip — I feel like nothing will ever change it. Skye is ancient and green, and so it will ever be, for as long as there is sorrow in the world the giants will stay, weeping.