A failed trip to Fairy Glen and a lucky rescue.
As you know by now, my approach to travel posts and the order in which I write them in is erratic at best, because it mostly depends on which memory happens to jump into my head at the time. Well, it’s raining outside right now and my chosen memory for today is another rain drenched adventure from Scotland.
Way back in 2018, I went on a winter trip to the Isle of Skye, a Scottish island in the Hebrides, which was one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen. I do not say that lightly and the photos I have from my old phone definitely don’t do it justice, so look it up online to get a better idea. Even though I was there during winter and the landscape was at its most dormant, it was unbelievably beautiful; wild, rugged and magical. I cannot even imagine how beautiful it must be in the summer and it is one of my goals to come back then, although that is also the height of tourist season and I doubt it is possible to have the same experience and meet as many locals as I was able to in winter.
Anyhow, one of the places on my list was the Fairy Glen in Uig, a small valley with a unique landscape and a hill that looks like a ruin, nicknamed Castle Ewan. There are actually no local legends associated with faeries, but the place is unusual enough that it was named so. Since parking is limited and I didn’t have a car anyway, I decided to take the 30 minute walk down the road from Uig. It should have been a piece of cake, but as you know, it always rains in the UK and even more so during winter. The weather was ridiculous the week I was there and that day the wind was bad enough that the ferries didn’t run and walking around felt like struggling against an unseen canvas, so my eyes were streaming tears all the time. However, it wasn’t raining, yet.
So I set off down the road and even right from the start, the landscape was magical. I don’t think I made 5 minutes before it started raining, but it was a soft drizzle and I wasn’t particularly bothered. Of course I was the only idiot there as all the other rare tourists were huddling inside the ferry office or the cafe in Uig, waiting for the weather to turn. As I was walking along, a car came up behind me and the guy rolled down his window, asking if I wanted a lift to Fairy Glen. I figured the rain wasn’t too bad and politely declined, so he drove off.
Impressions along the way
As if that were the exact invitation the clouds needed, it began pouring down in great sheets of water. It wasn’t raining cats and dogs, it was raining freaking elephants and rhinos, and I was caught in this torrential downpour in the middle of an open road almost to the Fairy Glen. My hair was plastered to my face and my pants got mostly soaked through within minutes and just as I was trying to decide if I should press on or turn back, the guy came driving back down the road, laughing at me: “Do ye want a lift now?”.
I gladly got in the front, nearly sitting on a bag of mail, which was when I realised that he was a postman. We chatted for a bit on the way back to Uig and he said he had some deliveries left to make before heading home, which turned out to be on the way to Portree where I was staying. The rain was still falling hard and showed no signs of letting up, so I ended up saving half the bus fare back, delivering mail along the way. Since I was already drenched, there was no point for him to get out in the rain and it was me running around up the driveways and stuffing post into mailboxes. I even had the quintessential postman experience when a large black dog started chasing after me and we quickly drove off before it could catch me.
When I eventually made it back to my hotel, the owner, who was a super friendly woman in her mid-30s, took one look at me and fixed me up a bowl of soup with some of her homemade bread. We had a good laugh about my failure to get to Fairy Glen in the rain, which didn’t let up until the next afternoon. In fact, the wind got bad enough for red alert status and the hotel building was shaking so badly I thought we’d get blown right off the island, so I wasn’t even all that sad about not making it to Fairy Glen, just grateful that I’d gotten back before the worst of it. I spent the next morning in my room watching TV and when I finally emerged out to take a bus to my next destination, the bus driver already knew all about me going to Uig the previous day and delivering mail. Turns out the postman was his cousin and word travels fast in small towns, so it became a recurring joke amongst the locals to see where the red-headed crazy tourist would go next, because not many others bothered to go anywhere in the horrible weather we had.
In fact, locals picking me up at random places around the island became the main theme of my short stay on the Isle of Skye, because I usually walk everywhere and they just couldn’t understand that or why I was even there by myself during winter in the first place. It fascinated them to no end and the next morning the bus driver in Portree always already knew all about it. As you can imagine, I loved every second of it.