Thursday, June 28, 2012

Scotland Day 3 - Isle of Skye

So while I don't have a picture of it, let's start with a description of the ridiculously large breakfast that is served at Fernlea B&B. Make sure you try the Scottish porridge and the homemade marmalade. I had a full breakfast - venison sausages, mushrooms, eggs, bacon, toast, Scottish pancake - while A and my dad chose kippers. The portion of kippers was astonishingly generous (I'm used to the little kippers you can get at Sainsbury's - these were at least twice the size, and there were four or five fillets per plate). You'll notice that aside from our first day in Glasgow, the rest of the trip really only consists of one meal a day since breakfast was always so large that no one was hungry enough for another meal until dinner. 

Cute boats in a cute harbor
So, with full bellies we rumbled off for our tour of the Isle of Skye. We started by driving to Portree, a cute harbour town pictured above. Then, of course, I realised that we should make a clockwise loop of the island instead of counterclockwise, since the two things we wanted to do on the west coast had opening hours (and after the fiasco with the Glasgow School of Art I wasn't leaving it to chance again!) So we changed direction and drove to Talisker so A and his mom could go on a tour. 
Great, if you like whisky
Oh. My. God.
Meanwhile, me and my parents went on a hike up the hill above the distillery, which resulted in my favorite surprise moment of the trip - meeting Paul McGlynn of Isle of Skye Oysters (Up Hill Past Talisker Distillery Carbost, Isle of Skye IV47 8SE), and eating some of the largest, freshest, most incredible oysters I've ever had. Honestly, if you like oysters and you're in the area, you have got to try his, I am drooling right now thinking about them. (The views from up there are pretty decent too, see below for an example).

Look at this while eating oysters
Next up was Dunvegan Castle, which is not exactly attractive, but has gorgeous views from its windows, and some scenic gardens. (Not to worry, there were better castles on this trip!) We drove past Uig, which apparently has a cute pub/restaurant right on the harbour front, but since no one was hungry yet, we just admired the scenery briefly.

Imagine falling off this!
We headed off to the Quiraings for a spot of hiking - this was probably the most stunning scenery of the day, with the craggy cliffs and narrow, steep paths and tiny lochs dotted everywhere. Not for the weak-hearted though - we gave it a try for a bit but then got to a part of the path that seemed to involve walking along a very rocky bit with a steep drop to the right, and decided to turn back before we accidentally turned the trip into a nightmare. 
Kilt Rock (do you think it looks like the pleats of a kilt?)
Kilt Rock was another quick stop (a huge coachload of amateur photography enthusiasts joined us there) and then my parents and I went partway up the path towards the Old Man of Storr, though we realised it would be quite a significant hike and there was no way we'd have enough time. 

By this point, we were actually ready for a meal, and we had booked a table at what is purportedly one of the best seafood restaurants on the Isle of Skye, Creelers (Broadford, Isle of Skye IV49 9AQ).

Cajun haddock
This was the most mixed meal of our trip - while A's gumbo was pretty phenomenal with complex flavors that really showed off some cooking skill, and A's mom was very pleased with her scallops, my parents and I fared a little worse, with my mom getting an atrociously overcooked and bland halibut dish. My Cajun haddock above was a little too blackened for my tastes, though the fish did taste fresh, and my dad's mussels were fine, but no better than the mussels at the Claymore the night before, even though they cost 50% more and came in a smaller portion. Dessert was excellent though - while the cheesecake looked like more biscuit base than cheese, it was actually very well balanced once we dug in - and the chocolate mousse made A's mom deliriously happy. But while it was a cozy atmosphere with great music, I'm not sure whether I'd recommend it as I don't think it delivered enough to justify the higher prices.

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