How to do the Scottish isles right
Only a short hop over from the mainland, two islands have held fast to their Gaelic culture.
The ever-changing skies that roll over Skye and Raasay mirror the historical layers of settlement and culture that have infused the islands with a special blend of timeless history. This is a land of legends where nothing is quite as it seems – the mountains come and go before your eyes as the clouds rise and fall so fast that seeing is disbelieving. Forget four seasons in a day, the Gulf Stream blowing in from the Atlantic can deliver them all before you’ve finished your morning porridge.
The Isle of Skye is now connected to the mainland by a bridge, but it is still very much an island, and the short crossing over to Raasay – from the Norse meaning “Island of Deer”– whisks you a world away. History, myth, and legend swirl into one another in a land where storytelling is regarded as an art form on par with traditional music. The Gaelic culture still thrives with one-third of the population identifying as native Gaelic speakers and a lively traditional folk music scene that is supplemented by students attending the local Gaelic university.
Text Don McCracken
Photos Hernan Patiño