On Friday I got up bright and early to tick more things off my bucket list. I had booked in for a day tour of Isle of Skye with Timberbush Tours. Heading up to and touring some of this part of Scotland has been on my to do list for oh so long. As I wasn’t hiring a car or anything on this trip, I found a full day tour that I figured would be a good way to see some of the sights, get some history, and help with planning a return visit in the future.

It was an 8am meet time for the tour. There were 2 buses of people ready and waiting. One of the drivers called my name, I boarded the bus, and took a window seat for myself. Obviously there were quite a few couples on board the bus. I think there turned out to be about 3 of us solo travellers on board. As we had all boarded and were nearing time to go, one final couple rocked up. Now obviously the seats that were vacant on the bus were not together, (this is important for later). So the wife of the couple sat next to me, and her husband sat up the back. They weren’t the only couple not sitting together, one woman took the offer of the front seat next to our guide up quickly, and her husband sat next to the solo traveller in front of me. No big deal.

We set off and the first stop was not far out of Inverness at a property for people to go see a hariy coo and take some photos. Now as there was a bus of people trying to take photos of the cows, I stayed on board. Mostly as before I left Australia I had visited Mary-Claire and taken great photos of Hamish and Hughie, the hairy coos at her place. If I had never seen one before I might of gotten off. Now this staying on the bus business, meant I had front row seats to the late couple reentering the bus before anybody else. Where the wife convinced her husband to sit in some seats together. HE was a bit hesitant and I heard her saying to him, “it isn’t assigned seating.”. Of course, this caused a problem when the couple who were sitting there boarded and looked annoyed, so sat in some other seats. Every body on that bus went back to sitting in the seats they had sat in when they boarded. The last couple who were split up, were annoyed and again I had one annoyed partner sitting next to me confused. I kind of mentioned what was going on and chatted with. Found out her and her partner were from Greece.

It was a nice drive past the Loch Ness and looking out at the countryside. The tour guide was fantastic sharing stories, history, language, and other information whilst driving us towards our next destination. Eilean Donan Castle. It’s highly likely that if you haven’t been here, you have seen photos of it. There have been many versions of the castle over the years as it has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous time. The current standing castle reopened in 1932 after 20 years of restoration. It had lay partially destroyed for almost 200 years after it was a casualty in the Jacobite uprising in 1719.

We had about 1.5 hours here to do what we wanted to do. I paid to cross the bridge and view the castle grounds. I didn’t go into the castle though as I felt that I would of wanted more time and would be rushing to see everything. I will happily come back with a car and explore on my own time more. Instead I walked around having a lot of fun taking photos and filming, just enjoying the scenery. I had a quick look through the gift shop, didn’t buy anything and I went and boarded the bus after eating my apple.

Everyone else came back, got on board the bus, and the couple that were split up confronted the people sitting where they originally sat and 3 other couples dominoed from there into moving back into where they had been. Now the seat stealer couple were back on board and the woman in the couple then must of spotted the other solo traveller, that I hadn’t noticed and asked him if he would move into the other spare seat. He asked ‘Oh, is it a window?’, she was obvs trying to convince him to move to the back middle, or next to me or where ever, this was all just behind me. So obviously he said no, just as I wouldn’t give up my window. At this point, I looked at her, sighed, and said “Oh, just sit back here”, motioning to the seat next me. She said her seats aren’t assigned line and asked why then did they have to move, and I replied. “No they aren’t assigned seats, but everyone else on board was here on time when their names were called. They then got on board, and sat down where they wanted to, with who they wanted to. You were late. When you were called, you weren’t here. So now you don’t get to choose, and others don’t have to make allowances for you. So, sit down.”. Her husband quietly just went and sat down, cos I don’t think he cared as much. Anyway, she sat next to me, I looked out the window and I listened to the tour guide.

I had noticed areas where logging had taken place and it was interesting to find out about the land management in the area. In the sections that had been logged you could see left over tree bits and felled wood. So this is left behind for 5 years to break down and help put some nutrients into the soil that isn’t apparently that great. Trees are then planted and left for 20 years. So these areas have a 25 year life cycle and you can see that there are new trees planted close to the site and there are much older trees around too. You could potentially in your working career see one full rotation of this procedure I guess.

We made a quick stop at the River Sligachan. The waters here have been enchanted by the fairies and rumour has it if you put your face in the water under Old Sligachan Bridge for several seconds and let it dry naturally you will be granted eternal beauty. Sadly, I had done my makeup that day so I am not looking any better than I did that day. This time when everyone got back on the bus there was no issues. I had let the woman sitting next to me settle and I struck up a conversation with her. I let her sit in it long enough, I didn’t want her to be uncomfortable or anything, especially as we we still had quite a few shared bus hours together.

Next up was Portree, this was our 2 hour or so stop for lunch and exploring. I just went for a bit of a walk around the town, taking it in and seeing what views I could find. Portree is the largest town on the Isle of Skye, so it was nice to wander around and imagine what life here would be like. After our lunch site seeing break it was time to get back on the bus.

We headed off towards Lealt Falls and to see if the we could see the Old Man of Storr. There was too much cloud cover on this day for us to see the old man, but we got out for a walk around the top viewing platform for Lealt Falls. There was a lot of this bit that I would like to take more time doing and seeing. Even going for a bit more of walk days.

It was time to head back to Inverness and we had a brief stop in Broadford to stretch legs, before we said good bye to the Isle of Sky. The bus tour was a good toe dipping into finding out a bit more about the Scottish Highlands, its history, and stoking the fire of return. There are a few other things I have highlighted on my would like to see list but I think having my own vehicle to explore with would make things a lot easier. Our tour guide was fantastic and if you are somewhat limited with time or transport I would suggest a tour like this. This was the first time I had ever been on a bus tour like this one it definitely provided me with what I expected and wanted this time round. There was a good balance of time at locations provided to look around and take pictures. The fact the guiding and words/info is provided while driving does help speed up the looking around process. By the time you get there you have the details so now you can just experience.

We got back to Inverness around 8pm. I just went back to my hotel to sort out my things and get ready for checking out the next day.