When my next train drew into the station it really attracted a crowd - the Jacobite steam train, famous in its own right but made more so by the Harry Potter films. The Jacobite runs on the West Highland Line, often touted as 1 of the most scenic rail routes in the world.
This is the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Shorty after we passed this little church, I looked up on a high, rocky bluff on the inland side of the train; I saw a large cross and a small, lovely wedding ceremony, burned into my retinas and then behind us in the blink of an eye.
This island, Eilean na Moire, at the end of Loch Eilt, was used as Dumbledore's restiing place in the Harry Potter film series.
We arrived in Mallaig where I had time to stock up on food for my time on Skye at the local Co-op grocery store.
Then I took the Calmac ferry to Armadale where I caught the last #52 bus heading to Portree; I got off at Sligachan, a wide spot in the road with a hotel and a bunkhouse. I checked into the bunkhouse and prepared dinner in the nice share kitchen.
By then it was after 8pm but it stays light until 11 that far north, so I headed out for a few hours of peaceful hiking, through gorse and heather, over tiny burns, the whole scene framed by the Cuillin mountains - a stunning end to a satisfying day.
I had a long hike planned for my 1 full day on Skye but awakened to a stiff wind and horizontal rain. I decided instead to take the Route 60x bus loops of the island that stop and allow time for sightseeing and cliff walking. It turned out to be a great way to see the island; I especially enjoyed the talkative, informative bus driver and 2 Norwegian girls who shared the day.
1st stop was the Dun Beag Broch; a broch is an Iron Age drystone, hollow-walled, cylindrical fort style found only in Scotland.
Next we stopped at Dunvegan Castle, home of the MacLeod clan for more than 800 years. I enjoyed a quick walk through the castle but the best part was strolling through the beautiful gardens; that garden hour was the only dry spot in the day, a blessing.
Lots of giant portraits - this was my favorite.
We had an hour in Portree and then did another, more northerly loop.
Gaelic is taught in the schools on Skye and the signs are bilingual.
This fellow bus waiter was enjoying another traveler's 'Hebridian Underground' joke.
Here is peat - used for mulch and fuel - that has been cut and stacked for drying - not a productive day for that! It's the peat that makes the streams run brown on the island.
These houses form the Museum of Island Life; we didn't stop there so it's another excuse to return to Skye.
I don't mind exploring in the rain and I think the mist and heavy clouds made the scenery more dramatic - a fabulous way to experience Skye.
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls (60 meters - in high winds the water scatters before it reaches the surf).
I slept well and awakened to sun and scattered clouds so I headed out before dawn (4:15am at this latitude) for 3 or 4 more hours of hiking. The further afield I found myself, the darker the clouds; eventually I headed back to the lodge (in in the last photo) and packed up to catch a Citylink bus to Kyle of Lochalsh and the next stage of my journey.