UK and Ireland 2014: Reach for the Skye

Day 5

Sausage, bacon, and a smiley-face potato thing this morning at Tangusdale B&B were the perfect way to start our journey from Fort William to the Isle of Skye. We were fortunate enough to get a few minutes with the proprietor, Miss J.C. MacPhee, who was an incredibly gracious and delightful host. Something about her tells me she was once a traveler, and I regret not getting to find out if this were so. There’s a different air about those who’ve seen more of the world than most people: they’re more inquisitive, more knowledgeable, and for whatever reason, make excellent cooks. Is it because they’ve tried everything out there, or are bent on doing so? I wonder.

Situated near Fort William and the village of Corpach, Tangusdale is a great gateway to the “Road to the Isles” (namely, Skye) and Ben Nevis. I tastefully regret not allotting enough time to climb Ben Nevis, which happens to be the highest peak in Britain. It was, however, still stunning to look at from afar. Fort William itself is second only to Inverness in terms of size of Highland cities, but it’s still extremely small and activity is centered along High Street, which vaguely reminds me of a Seaside, Oregon more catered to outdoorsy types (no clue why). Fort William, after all, is the outdoor capital of the UK.

Now, in order to make it from Fort William to Skye, June and I had the understanding that we would need to rent a car. This would not only allow us to get there more easily, but would allow us flexibility when exploring the island. While I would normally not think twice about this, we knew when we started we were dealing with a different animal. I mean we’re talking about the wrong side of the (manual transmission) car on the wrong side of the road with no GPS in a foreign county. Rather than expound upon any worry or fear we initially started with, I think I need to take a moment to praise June for her patience and tactful skill in handling the vehicle. We made it all the way from Ft. William to Auchtertyre (70 miles away) and to and from dinner in Plockton (10 miles each way) flawlessly. As I am incapable of driving a stick, she had no choice but to drive us and I couldn’t be more thankful. June, this is your paragraph; you ROCK!

Other adventures we had included our lovely lunch at Invergarry Hotel, an originally-avoided-but-accidentally-awesome trip to Loch Ness that involved a private tour by a resort owner and hitting my head on a Hobbit (so many questions you must have…), hitting up Eilean Donan on an Australian man’s recommendation, finally making it to our incredibly cozy B&B in Auchtertyre, and enjoying a multi-course, award-winning meal at The Plockton Hotel with incredibly addicting cheesecake. (*Note: I’ve not yet written reviews for these places, so if you are interested in going to Scotland and are planning a trip, check back in a few days for them.) My words are of no use to you right now; iPhonegraphy, take it away!:

June in front of the Invergarry Hotel, about half-way to our Skye B&B. They whip up a meeeeeeeean tomato basil soup.
My gingery self in front of Loch Ness. Originally avoided due to over-tourism concerns, we figured we HAD to stop here being so close to it and after visiting, will happily accept the badge of “Mega-Tourist” with pride.
“Hobbit” campers on Loch Ness. These infrastructure-only campers pretty much made my day, especially when I hit my head in the entryway. I guess I’m not a true Hobbit afterall.
June and I with the scenery in front of Eilean Donan castle.
Instagrammed to the nines, this picture of Eilean Donan isn’t actually that far off.
Rolling, fairytale hills on the way to dinner in Plockton.
Plockton Harbor a little before dusk. We will likely try a boat tour here tomorrow.

That said, let me take a moment to talk about this cheesecake. It warrants its own paragraph, and I don’t just give any old food that. There are times that dessert is simply an amalgamation of sugar and temporary pleasure; I know this. I especially know this having given up 99.9% of any dessert-type matter for my way of eating. Tonight, however, I chose an alternative decision. I chose to actually order dessert, real dessert, non-paleo dessert, and I chose to do it big. I agreed to split a White Chocolate Cheesecake with June as a token of celebration for our amazing and accomplished day. What came over my senses upon taking my first bite was unearthly. How can a cheesecake begin with a taste so sweet, fluffy, and creamy at once, followed by a buttery, textured crust that practically melts in your mouth? Paired with a toasty espresso ice cream that perfectly continued on the trend of refreshment started by the cake, we felt we were tasting the dessert of the angels. Needless to say, another was promptly ordered before the first was even finished. “Was it a bad idea to order just one?, ” June innocently inquired.

My mouth is melting.

“Terrible”, I responded. Let’s clink our spoons to that, ragazze. Until tomorrow!

– H

Thought of the day: You’re stronger than you think.

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