PHOTOS AND WORDS BY REBECCA FORMAN
In October, while I was studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh, my mother and I met up and drove, ferried, and hiked for 600 miles through the Scottish Highlands to the Isle of Skye and its Cuillin Mountains in the Inner Hebrides. When we arrived at our first hotel overlooking the harbor of the fishing town of Portree, we were greeted with glasses of locally-distilled sherry and whiskey and ate a variety of fresh seafood such as prawns and mussels, accompanied by Scottish beer and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Skye was a hill-walkers’ paradise: there were vast waterways, tremendous moss-covered mountains, clan castles, and—when I visited in autumn—beautiful foliage. From the Trossach Mountains approach over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, across the ferry from Mallaig, and to the Faerie Pools, Skye has a magical vibe, which is why it has set the background for adventures and sci-fi film series such as Harry Potter and Stay Wars. Climbing up to the fantastic geological formations at the Old Man of Storr, we hiked in silence broken only by the bleats of sheep who scrambled more easily on the mountainside. Skye is where water meets more water and shafts of light, clouds and color through every sunrise and sunset. The stars shine bright on clear nights, and the Isle is famous for its views of amazing auroras and eclipses. Episodic showers formed four rainbows on the last day of our adventure, and were more soothing and mystifying than the rain I had become accustomed to walking through to my classes in Edinburgh.