Thursday, August 29, 2013

Aleria's Jaunt to Scotland: 23 July 2013, Loch Harport, Skye,Scotland

View of  spectacular Skye from  Loch Harport

Touching Skye in Scotland

Mid-morning we headed over with the tide to mountainous Skye, which looked like the fabled Highlands to me.  This whole area was once connected to Greenland and North America at the equator.  But its peaks were formed by volcanos in more recent times. There are collapsed calderas noticeable everywhere.  Skye itself reaches up into the heavens and catches the clouds on its lofty peaks. It is spectacular, when you can see it. 

Alex watching the 'cumulobimbos'
The sky darkened as we approached Skye and thunder started booming overhead.  There were small lightning discharges but nothing like what happens along the east coast of the US.  A heavy downpour washed off the boat and Alex, while Onyx and I suffered down below. We were concerned about bursts of wind but it really wasn't like that. We'd never seen such interesting and heavy cloud formations at every level above us. Cumulobimbos Alex always calls them.  There were rain showers all around us.  The scenery kept appearing and disappearing with the rain and height of cloud cover.  


We made our way up the picturesque Loch Harport where Talisker is made.  We dropped anchor in 30 feet of water. The moorings installed by the distillery were all occupied, and it looked like there were quite a few more than the guidebook suggests.   Several other boats were at anchor and more came in behind us.
 
That one really got us.
Rain clutter all around. 
We hurried ashore and made it before the distillery closed for the day. All their tours were booked for that day but they had a few spots left for the next day.  They are on a bus tour route and entire busloads of people arrive regularly. The place was hopping. We didn't want a tour but asked to do a tasting, to which they agreed without question.  We tasted Talisker 10-year old which we’d had before, Talisker Storm a new offering in 2013, and Talisker 57° North which is a cask strength bottling with no age specification. We did not like the 57° North which was harsh – higher alcohol content.  We loved the Storm and so bought two bottles to bring home. 

We walked the village which really wasn't very big. It had a shop that was closed next to the petrol station, where they also sold propane gas. We strolled into  the Old Inn for a pint and decided to stay for dinner – burger and fish & chips. This is the happening place in town, whose life is the distillery.  It was a beautiful day and all the tables outside overlooking the harbour were taken. The bar was jammed with locals, and we got a table just inside the open door with a view to the outside.  They had wifi and we were able to download email again and even managed to download a forecast. 


Skye in the clouds
The forecast was for Force 4, gusting to F5 tomorrow.  Our choices were to head out to the Outer Hebrides first, then sail home directly from there in an overnight passage.  Although we would have liked to have gone out there, we felt like we were rushing on a schedule. This wasn't like real cruising where if you like a place you stay for a month. This was more like an extended yacht club cruise during which you visit as many places as you can squeeze in.  You don't really become part of the scenery or the community on a schedule like this. And it does get tiring.  

We decided we wanted to see more of Ireland on the way home, so we chose instead to save the Outer Hebrides for another time and we made a plan to start heading South and home. 

Thunderstorm passing behind us. 

Lenticular clouds are rather rare. We get them in Ireland. 

Dense cloud layering was fascinating and moody. 

The cliff face on the approach to Skye behind Alex

Lighthouse on the point

The Talisker distillery

Mooring field installed by Talisker

The sun came out just as we anchored

Aleria snug at anchor

Talisker offerings

Nice tagline

This is a great bench 

The bar at the Old Inn

The view from the Inn over the anchorage

Would have loved this, but 1 minute drive
straight up would take forever walking


Nice dinghy dock

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