Why vis­i­tors love to ex­plore Scot­land’sMisty Isle of Skye

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By MICHELLE LOCKE in Protree, Scot­land

Bon­nie Prince Char­lie saw Scot­land’s isle of Skye on the run. He was flee­ing gov­ern­ment troops af­ter his High­land re­bel­lion ended dis­as­trously at the 18th-cen­tury Bat­tle of Cul­lo­den.

My visit was hur­ried, too, al­though due to noth­ing more ex­cit­ing than a tight sched­ule — no red­coats onmy tail.

Luck­ily, even a short stay is long enough to glimpse why the Misty Isle of Skye is one of Scot­land’s most pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tions.

Here are a fewrea­sons.

Dream scenes

Rain or shine, most likely both in the same day, Skye is a stun­ner, from the stark grandeur of the Black Cuillin, the jagged moun­tain range loom­ing over the is­land, to the cheer­fully pas­tel houses of Portree har­bor. You can take in the views by driv­ing Skye’s wind­ing roads, get out for a shore­line am­ble or, if you’ve got the skills, go moun­taineer­ing. Guides can be hired for more chal­leng­ing itin­er­ar­ies; a good op­tion is http://www.skyeguides.co.uk.

Rec­om­mended spots in­clude the Trot­ternish ridge, known for rock for­ma­tions like the OldMan of Storr and the Quiraing pin­na­cles. Also a must-see, the Fairy Pools, a se­ries of crys­tal-clear and flow­ing pools on the River Brit­tle.

High­land his­tory

Are you a fan of the StarzTVseries Out­lander? You should al­ready be fa­mil­iar with the beauty of theHigh­lands, the set­ting for that time-trav­el­ing drama.

The se­ries hasn’t got­ten into Prince Charles’ flight yet; Sea­son 2 ended just as the Bat­tle of Cul­lo­den started. The show’s been re­newed for two more sea­sons, but we don’t know a lot of de­tails on what’s com­ing. In real life, the prince, Charles Ed­ward Stu­art, who was the grand­son of the de­posed James II and was try­ing to win back the Bri­tish throne for the Stu­arts, es­caped gov­ern­ment troops aided by sev­eral High­landers, in­clud­ing the brave Flo­raMacDon­ald, who got him to Skye dressed as her maid.

If you are headed into the High­lands by way of Inverness, you’re close to the Cul­lo­den Bat­tle­field and Vis­i­tor Cen­ter, which does a good job of ex­plain­ing the rise and fall of the doomed cam­paign.

You can’t go far in Scot­land with­out find­ing a cas­tle, and Skye’s Dun­ve­gan Cas­tle is billed as the old­est con­tin­u­ously in­hab­ited cas­tle in Scot­land, home to the chiefs of Clan Ma­cLeod for eight cen­turies. Open daily 10 am-5:30 pm, March 25-Oct 15, ad­mis­sion to cas­tle and gar­dens about $16.

For more is­land his­tory, visit the Skye Mu­seum of Is­land Life in Kil­muir, which fea­tures a re­cre­ation of a High­land vil­lage. Open daily Easter-late Septem­ber, 9:30 am-5 pm. Ad­mis­sion about $3.25.

Din­ing & drams

Think Scot­tish cui­sine be­gins and ends with broth and hag­gis? You’re in for a sur­prise (not that there’s any­thing wrong with broth and hag­gis).

Skye boasts a va­ri­ety of din­ing choices, in­clud­ing the Miche­lin­starred Kin­loch Lodge and The Three Chim­neys, which lost its Miche­lin star af­ter a change in chefs in 2015 but con­tin­ues to put out ex­cel­lent food. If you’re there for lunch, look for the Crispy Croft Egg starter, a per­fect mix of rich, dense egg and crisp crust.

On the drinks side, Skye has one whisky dis­tillery, Talisker in Car­bost. And it’s the home of an­other Scots li­ba­tion, Dram­buie, now­made in Glas­gow but first de­vel­oped and served at Skye’s Broad­ford Ho­tel in the 1870s. The liqueur, a blend of aged scotch, spices, heather honey and herbs, is said to be based on a recipe of the Bon­nie Prince him­self, who gave is­lan­ders the se­cret to his pri­vate elixir in grat­i­tude for their help.

AP

A woman walks past a cairn com­mem­o­rat­ing the High­landers who died at the Bat­tle of Cul­lo­den in 1746 on Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scot­land.

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