The Isle of Skye is shaped like a lobster, C says, and it is, really. I have no idea what to expect when I get here; I haven’t even seen it on a map. It’s nice to come to things like that, sometimes, with no prior knowledge and no clear understanding of what you’re getting yourself into. You think island you think something small and delicate. But there’s nothing delicate about an oversized lobster stuck up against the northwest part of Scotland. No, this island is long and wide and impressive. It takes hours to drive across it. C navigates the car down single track roads. Every so often there’s a little dip in the concrete, a passing place, and this is where you pull over to let the person driving straight at you, head on, pass. Routinely you have to stop to let sheep and cows cross the road. They take their time, ambling in front of your car like they know you have to wait for them. They’re not in any rush.
The weather is unseasonably (almost unheard of-ly) beautiful. For three days there’s not a touch of rain and the skies are the sort of blue and cloudless you’d expect of somewhere tropical, somewhere warm. We climb up to the Old Man of Storr and by the top we’ve disrobed: tied our jackets around our waists and I’ve shoved my scarf into my camera bag.
It’s windy up there, the kind of wind that forces you to breathe with your mouth open, that whistles through your teeth and chills your gums and tongue. I eat an apple and a pear on a flat piece of earth. The grass up here is spongy and dry and something you might envision covering a hobbit’s hole.
By the time we get back to the bottom my legs are shaking with the exertion of it all. My cheeks are red from the sun or the wind. We have lots left to do today: castles and coral beaches and a picnic back at Faerie Glen. We eat brie and jam sandwiches to a chorus of cows and sheep and crows. Once the sun goes down, it gets instantly colder. We run back to the car and finish out the day in front of the fireplace. I’m supposed to be writing a horror story but so far nothing has come to me. It’s hard to find horror in a place like this.