At the bottom of the Old Man of Storr trail, without a car and infrequent busses, we started walking. And walking. Hoping to get a lift anywhere in the right direction, north.
After about half an hour, who drives by our trail friend Neil and his bus full of tourists. He slows to a halt. "Maybe he'll let us come on his tour of the island for free!" No such luck. He opened the door and threw out 2 MacBackpacker t-shirts!
We were finally picked up by two Scottish rock climbers. I couldn't understand the one's Glaswegian accent so just kept saying "Sorry?" They drove us about 10 miles. Soon after, we were picked up by a kind woman who gave us a talking tour of the island. She pointed out an island where a farmer leads his cows across the water each year, they stay there safe from predators all winter and then walk back across the water when the tides are low. She also explained the curious red and blue spray paint dotting all of the sheep. Each farmer marks his sheep with a spray paint dot on a specific part of the animal. All the grazing land is public, so the sheep are free to graze and frolick together, and can then be easily sorted out at the end of the season.
She dropped us at a tiny museum. The weather was rapidly turning terrible, terrible, terrible, and we waited for quite some time in a dodgy phone booth. Things were looking desperate. Cars were going by, but in the wrong direction. We had an hour to get to the next big town, Uig, where we could catch the last bus back to Portree.
We hear a car coming and look to the east. It's none other than the MacBackpacker bus! Maybe this time he'll take pity on us! Neil gave a wave, and mouthed an "Are you ok?" from the window, but again, no ride.
We saw a couple leaving the museum and approached them with our most desperate faces.
Me: "Hi There, you aren't by chance heading toward Uig?"
Wife: "Yes actually..."
Me: "Would you mind possibly giving us a lift?"
(Husband looks slightly irritated)
Wife: "Sure. Ha! We drove by you guys about 20 miles back and my husband didn't want to pick you up! I yelled at him."
Husband: " Well...ehm...I figured 2 lassies wouldn't have much trouble getting a ride. What on earth are you doing hitch hiking in this weather, anyway?"
The couple got us to Uig. We walked into one of the only bars in town, where the friendly barman immediately brought out chairs for us to hang our "waterproofs" on by the blazing fire. He us made what tasted like the best cup of coffee in the whole world, ever. Our hero.
We got the last bus back to Portree. Now that we were no longer hitching rides, the weather turned lovely and the night came slowly, being so far north. We strolled to the pier and had dinner at a Spanish-style restaurant, Cafe Arriba.
We ended the night at a small pub offering live music. Here we got chatting with two Scots and one of their Austrian girlfriends, who offered to tour us around the island the next day. They had a car! We had been planning to catch an early morning bus, but who could resist the offer? We went to bed tired and happy and eager for another day on Skye.
The morning came with a phone call from one of our new friends. What's the plan? We decided to venture to a place that Neil had told us about on the trail called Fairie Glen. It wasn't on most tourist maps but he had assured us it was the most beautiful place on the island. So away we drove, sun pouring in, Mumford & Sons blasting out of the open windows.
I can't really explain how lovely, how green, how quiet and peaceful, how rugged and romantic and "Scottish" Fairie Glen felt. Skye in general, for that matter. Visit the Isle of Skye on on a clear sunny April day, and you won't want to leave.