Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Sue's Birthday Weekend

My wonderful wife Sue celebrated a 'special' birthday last Sunday (one where the first number changes...) and to mark the event, we chose to make a long weekend visit to our beautiful capital city.

Cupar was dropped off in kennels, and I rented a cosy city centre apartment, which was in walking distance of all the attractions we wanted to see - so the car stayed put at the apartment block throughout our stay.

Although only in Edinburgh for three nights we packed-in more than we would normally do in three months! We ate out twice, went to the cinema twice, spent ages in the fascinating National Museum of Scotland, had a guided tour of the Scottish Parliament buildings, wandered for hours in the lovely Royal Botanic Gardens and Glasshouses, and had an amble around Leith. I couldn't pick a favourite visit - everything was great. I'll post just a few photos from the weekend below.

The films we saw were 'Bohemian Rhapsody', in which Remi Malek does an extraordinarily engaging and thought provoking job of playing Freddie Mercury; and the slightly less engaging latest version of 'A Star is Born' - not really my kind of film, but quite enjoyable nonetheless.

Next 'big' birthday will be me - in a couple of year's time. Now, where shall we go for that...???

Inside the beautiful National Museum,
which opened as a Museum of Science and Art in 1866
'Stand there while I take a picture...'
Our plan was to look at the exhibitions about Scotland and its People,
but we were sidetracked so often, we were over an hour getting to the start...
Here, it's David Coulthard's 2006 Red Bull F1 car that has caught my attention
Garden Lobby, Scottish Parliament Building
There seems to be a new MSP in the Debating Chamber...
Trying to get the hang of taking a 'selfie'...
maybe not quite right this time...
Nailed it! (in the Royal Botanic Gardens)
Sue wanted to take every plant home and put them in pots around the house...
The Waters of Leith

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Visiting Skye

The fact has been quite widely publicised in the media for the last couple of years - that Skye has become a very busy place in the summer season. It has been apparent to us that every year since we have known the island, visitor numbers have increased year-on-year, and the season has also grown longer. Now, we have come to expect that a trickle of visitors will begin to arrive as early as March, and the last of the hire cars and camper vans dwindle away around late October. The peak months are July and August, when just about every bed on the island is taken, some single-track roads become choked, and having to queue for a table at eating places is to be expected.

But don't be put off! When is the best time to visit Skye? For me, without a doubt, I would say 'come in winter'. You will find only a very thin scattering of visitors during the winter months, with the exception of Christmas/New Year. As a resident, I now deliberately avoid going anywhere near the most popular tourist spots in summer, and getting about by car can be tedious, as visiting drivers are often slow, nervous and dithery. For me - there is little pleasure in visiting a beautiful wild location alongside dozens (or even hundreds) of other people.

In winter - it is true that many of the paid-for attractions will be closed, and the same goes for some of the eating places and touristy shops. However - some remain open all year. I would recommend hunting-out the several excellent pubs which are open. They are likely to have blazing log fires, and serve good value food all year round.

The winter scenery will be in shades of gold and brown rather than summer green, and the sea is likely to be steely-grey rather than azure blue, but it all looks so much more dramatic with some mist swirling round it (though there can be stunning blue-sky days in winter, too)! To get close to the scenery, you will need good quality waterproofs and footwear (you are more than likely need them in summer as well, remember...) and you will soon glow with warmth as you tackle the slightly soggier moorland trails with a stiff breeze blowing. You will mostly be on your own on footpaths and in car parks - which are packed beyond full in summer.

And as a final bonus - accommodation prices are generally at their lowest in winter... I'll post a few winter pictures below (all taken by Sue). What are you waiting for?!!

Shower over Roskhill
Neist Point - just us... no-one else!!
Loch Harport and The Cuillin
Loch Harport
Sligachan