This has not been a wonderful Summer as far as the weather is concerned, but we have managed to get most of the outside of the house painted and should get the rest done before we leave at the end of next week.  Grey skies have now given way to blue and we’ve been out and about, revelling in the fact that our little jeep can go places other cars cannot manage and that even the busiest of roads are not a problem when you are driving something half the width of most of the other traffic!

We visited Duirinish and the most westerly part of Skye, expecting to be blown away at Neist Point, but managed to do so on the stillest day imaginable, which unfortunately meant the midges were out in force.  Fantastic views though from the spectacular old 

lighthouse buildings.  The landscape on the way there is full of reminders of how populous Skye once was with the remains of many ruined croft houses sad testimony to lives chased off the land many years ago in favour of the now ubiquitous sheep. On a more cheerful note it was lovely to see peat being dug in the traditional way that I remember seeing on the Antrim Plateau when I was young.

We also made it out to Waternish, passing the very photogenic Fairy Bridge en route, having a picnic at Stein and coffee at “the oldest inn on Skye”, as well taking a drive out

past the ruined church at Trumpan, one of nine Dark Skies locations on the island (see for more details) and visiting Skyeskyns where, with great difficulty I resisted buying the most beautiful sheepskin hat…and a stunning rug made of different sheep skins…and a hot water bottle cover…and….

We have sampled coffee and cake in several locations – among our favourites are the Blue Shed Café at Torrin where a wonderful selection of cakes is served agaist a backdrop of the most stunning view of the Cuillins; the Shop at Elgol which also provides great cakes, and if you can get parked down at the jetty you feel you’ve actually earned the cake by the time you puff back up the hill to the shop; Café Arriba in Portree is another firm favourite -again with cakes to die for, great breakfasts, and a refreshingly welcoming attitude to dogs; finally Café Sia in Broadford continues to produce the best coffee on the island (slowly) and has lovely scones, though I would recommend it more for breakfast or an evening meal or just coffee, not cake.

The garden is doing OK despite (or because of?) the deluges of rain we have had and one

day of sunshine has brought out the Livingstone Daisies and other flowers once again.  So with the improved weather we have had a barbecue at the bottom of the garden, braving the midges until we could get the fire going in the firepit sufficiently smokily to ward off the little blighters!  Teenagers made it to sometime after 2.30 a.m. – I retired at about 11.00 p.m.  Not much noise from the youngsters this morning!  Girls are now off to Ashaig beach with a picnic, boys are getting ready to take the jeep to the Applecross peninsula, whose mountains we can see from the room with the best view (the upstairs bedroom). Tomorrow promises a Wildife Tour and a trip to Portree, while Friday will see the younger generation aiming for the Fairy Pools (with a recommendation from me to hike in from Sligachan, as the parking on the Glen Brittle side is pretty crowded and I don’t see them getting up early enough to beat the rush.  (I’ll probably be painting something – such is the lot of the old)

What a Difference a Day Makes