I never knew I would have a moment in my life to make me feel so unanimous with this quote until I knew Isle of Skye . What’s the best thing 3 guys can do on a long weekend when they are thousands of miles away from their lovable families, hit on the road, and that becomes more obvious when they live in a land that’s the analogy of serenity, the Scotland. Yes, we planned to visit the heaven beneath the sky, the isle of Skye.
The Planning was done perfect, rental car booked, a country house blocked and ensured the weather forecast says it’s going to be sunny [Unfortunately, I still trust the Scotland weather forecast]
It was a fresh and vibrant Saturday morning as we packed up the tucks and headed to the Car renter. And the Car Renter was generous enough to offer us a brand new hatch back, happy-go-lucky, we 3 boarded and as I put my hands in the steering, I felt the nervousness, we are from a land where juggling, hide ‘n seek, salsa and sledging is all a part and parcel of driving, and this auto-bot mode of driving is absolutely unfamiliar to me, and I have to get used to it.
If you call him the Savior who’ll direct you when you have no clue of where you are, for us, HERE maps app was the Savior for the trip we worshiped. One of the 2 was the navigator for me, or better called the messenger who communicated me what the Savior directed. We were given options with 2 routes, a motor way and a country side drive, and all 3 of us concurred in choosing the country side route, for we are not here to save time, but to save memories!
As I started driving along the beautiful roads, My initial misconception dissolved, it not an Auto-bot driving, rather it’s more of a meditation, with the landscapes that’s in similitude with the MS Windows wallpapers, and a road that reminded me of the NFS2 track with beautiful pine trees lined up on either side of the road, how better driving could get... After driving for 2 hours, the Savior as always, wanted to test us, it shows battery drained and car charger wasn’t fast enough to feed its hunger with GPS turned on, we were left out with no option but to use the road signs and the instincts.
The landscape turned more beautiful and that made us stop by and click some memories, soon after we realized if we are going to stop for the beautiful landscapes we would go no further for every single sight was eye-popping.
3 hours of drive took us to a place called Fort William, where we found a Roundabout but had no clear signs saying which exit will take us to the Skye!
Robert Frost lines came up in front of me “Two Roads diverge in an yellow wood” OMG, two roads was much better than a roundabout with 6 exits, I spoke within.
And a voice from our car , one of our mate, with total assertiveness commanded us in to a particular exit, and more often we rely anything that’s commanded with assertiveness, we did take that exit.
Driving few miles, we happened to see a spot that was so beautiful, with a beautiful Oak Garden table on plush green meadow on the bank of a loch(lake) whose name we didn’t know and the lock rimmed with a valley, it looked absolutely romantic, unfortunately we were 3 guys travelling together. And that seemed to be a perfect place to have the lunch as we were already hungry driving for hours. Parked the car and opened up the box of Spicy Aromatic Biryani made by our in-house Chef, and that was done and dusted in a jiffy. Again clicked some memories and resumed the drive. Another 30 miles and landscape started changing dramatically and looked more like we’re in middle of Grand Canyons. Is that Common sense or instincts, that we stopped by to check in a fuel station to ask how far is the Skye. He asked, where are you heading from, and as we said Edinburgh and via Fort William, we could see him control his laughter, and uttering “You should have taken exactly the opposite exit from Fort William roundabout, you need to drive back 30 odd miles to get en-route. As we said thanks and walked backed to the car, the 3 faced was exhausted and tired.
We picked ourselves up and started driving towards the Skye and now took the right exit in the roundabout, the route got better and much better, and that indeed bought smiles back in the faces. Another few miles of driving gave us the sight of the majestic Skye bridge and there we got all excited. The Skye bridge was a phenomenal peace of architecture and as we drove in to the bridge, the arc shape of it gave a feel as we drive in to the sky, as if we get dissolved with the beauty of the blue skies; it was just more than fascinating.
After a bit over dose of wandering, to our wonder, the first thing we saw as we crossed the bridge was the sign board of the country house we had booked, and that took us in to a 100 plus year old Scottish bungalow converted in to a B & B, we parked, picked up the baggage and as we walked in admiring the elegance of the Grande house which had the plush of modest luxury with the heritage retained in place, it was everything more than what we anticipated it to be.
As a rule of life, happiness and disappointments hit us back to back, we heard that the Kitchen is closed for dinner. We checked in the room, refreshed and started hunting for a restaurant, as the place having a very few of them, and we were lucky enough to find one by the bed of the loch, that had an amazing window view of the Skye Bridge and indeed serving us with a perfect Scottish food, not forgetting the haggis! As we reached back to the room, after a day with hours of driving, a sumptuous dinner, a cozy bed, we went in to sleep like an infant in the hands of his mother’s arm only to wake up fresh and vibrant in the morning.
The morning greeted us with a perfect English breakfast on a room that had that beautiful view of the window side vibrant shades of flowers and a scenic valley behind. With the Whisky patriot on board, the first destination in Skye was Talisker Distillery and as we reached the place, it was hilarious to see his reaction seeing the board “we are closed for the day” for Sunday. Next on list, the Neist point light house which is in the other end of the Skye, we drove dozens miles as instructed by our Savior, who’s all loaded today. Few hours later, we were directed in to a road, which had the road Sign Neist Point with Right Arrow;. The road should be 7 foot wide and it’s a two way road! It was thrilling , but exhausting too to drive a manual transmission car, to give way for every vehicle that come in the opposite. We kept driving and after driving for more than a 20 miles, we realized the fuel bar stood at the last point, we were skeptic, (or in panic?) we neither saw a fuel station, nor a petit shop in the last 20 miles. We halted the car in side turf and debated whether to risk and go forward or to drive back, and the vote was up for drive back as we were in middle of no man’s land. We drove back, and this time a bit lucky to find a short path that took us to a fuel station in 12 miles. As we refilled the fuel, one of our mate was all excited, and latter we understood it is because the restaurant adjoining has the Indian Spicy Chicken curry with Rice in its menu stuck in the door. Nothing could stop us getting in to the restaurant and we did. An hour later, Car & us were both fueled enough to run further, we decided not to give up and we drove back to the Neist Point. The same short route and crossed the place where we parked to debate, and as we reached, we found we were just 2 miles away from Neist point from where we debated and returned back the previous time, and that sparked a philosophy in my crazy mind:
“We’d never give up if we only knew how close we were to Success (destination?)”
And finally we reached the Neist point, bright green turf, Clear blue Sky, Mammoth Black rock that looks like the fossil remains of Volcanic eruptions , the view was Worth the hours we spent behind it.
Retired back to the room, after a worthwhile day and tired enough to sleep in graveyard mode. Next morning, the final day of trip, the only item pending, The Talisker Distillery and we drove towards it, this time, lucky enough to find it opened. A one hour walk through on the Whisky making process reminded me of the 7th grade chemistry classes with the huge furnaces around, hearing about fermentation, distillation so on and so forth. And the icing on the cake, Whisky tasting at its own house, the first time I tasted, a 10 ml shot, and that too from where its made, and a Talisker badge they gave us to carry along made it one of a kind experience. Not forgetting to mention, our mate ensured to buy a 20 year old special edition bottle packed in a shiny velvet box, and yes, he treated that as a prized possession.
And there came the end of the episode, as we drove back home, Edinburgh was waiting for us with the roaring traffic at the city gates. Time to get back to reality from the dream world. We were tired enough to hit the bed much earlier than our schedules, and that night we knew we’ve earned a heap of memories that we’ll bestow for the rest of our lives, we felt a sense of accomplishment, and a wave of gratitude towards the Savior, now the real Savior, who was gracious enough to create a little heaven of tranquility for us under the Sky called the Isle of Skye!!