After months of planning, we piled into a car and drove the 12 hours north and onto the island, barely able to keep our eyes open we cooked our porridge in the rain, packed our bags and set off into the wild.
After three hours of trekking through the cold and rain we came across a beach surrounded by lochs, snow covered peaks (Camasunary) and a deserted building on it. Thinking that we could possibly camp in the shelter of it we investigated, but found a sign saying that it was a Bothy, which meant that it was free for any passing traveller to stay in.
Once we had found a stream to filter our drinking water and collected all the driftwood we could from the beach we started to cook our dinner, this is when another traveller turned up and we spent and evening with him, drinking whiskey in front of the fire and swapping stories.
Expecting to wake-up to more rain and wind, we were happily surprised to be greeted with intense sunshine leaving rainbows cascaded around the valley.
The traveller we had met the day before told us that this is perfect weather for climbing up the snow-capped peak behind us, so that's what we did.
We filtered our days water and headed up, thinking that the route would only take us four hours up and down. The route took three hours to get to the top, needing to traverse ridges half a metre wide with a precipice on one side and a 70° snow slope on the other. Once we finally got to the top we quickly realised that we'd have to go back the exact way we came with dwindling day light, so we decided the safest thing to do was to get down quick, so we took the snow slope. The slope was genuinely terrifying with each step near triggering a small avalanche onto my friends below.
It took us hours to get back to the Bothy and by now we had experienced wind, rain, hale and snow. Tired cold and hungry we saw a light flickering in the window of the bothy.
Waking up early, to waves of sunlight and rain, we decided to wash in the icy river before wolfing down our bowls of porridge. Once we had packed, we set out on a two hour trek back to the car, savouring the last view of our camp.
Arriving at the car, hungry and cold, we began the Tetris game of loading our car with far too much equipment, only to realise that one of the guys girlfriends had secretly stashed every door with bags of sweets, this made our entire morning to find these. No kinder words could have ever been spoken about someone when we did.
We drove to Portree for a solid meal, to dry our clothes and prepare for the next couple of days. Met a couple of the locals at the pub and explored the town historical ruins by torchlight.
Packed up and full from our homemade full english breakfast, we headed to the Fairy Pools.
If you ever want to be stood at the base of a peak, that looks like the Lonely Mountain from The Hobbit, then this is the place.
One of the guys decided that this would be a perfect place to take a plunge in the ice river water flowing from the surrounding mountains.
As we were setting off we realised that the next place we are planning on spending the night has absolutely no trees around it, so we pull up to Glen Brittle Forest and cut as much dry wood as we can carry in preparation for that nights fire.
En route to our next camp we pause at the Fairy Glen and cook our noodles against the shelter of the car tires.
Finally with the sun setting and a storm on the horizon we arrive at the most northern point of the Isle of Skye and start walking with our loaded packs topped off with bundles of wood to the Lookout Bothy, that we are hoping is there, is big enough to hold us all and is in decent repair. To our happy surprise it was big enough for us, but the built in fireplace had been had been bricked-up, so after that effort there was nowhere to burn our wood so we decided to leave it there incase anyone needed it for an emergency.
We prepared another amazing meal together, drank whiskey and played card games until we couldn’t hold our eyes open any longer. Crawling into our sleeping bags and huddling together for warmth we fell asleep.
Waking up groggy and late, surrounded by a thin cloud of our breath vapour caught in the air, we rolled out of our bags and boiled some water for porridge and hot chocolate. One of the guys turned 25 today, so we quickly hung bunting about the Bothy for him to wake too.
The plan for today was to climb Quiraing, but with everyone cold to their bones and tiredness from the past couple days catching up on us, we arrive late. We first needed to find some water as the only source around us was the Atlantic Ocean. So we drove until we found a pub and with some heavy charm, managed to fill every bottle we had on us, enough to last us a day or two.
As we arrived at the base of Quiraing we needed to cook our noodles for lunch, but with the wind and rain hammering at us it took over an hour for the camping kettle to boil as the temperature outside kept cooling the water we were left pining after some hot food. By now we could see another storm coming and with not many hours of daylight left and a two hour trek back to the Lookout Bothy we make the tough decision to miss this landmark and instead head back.
On our trek back with our backs loaded up again, one of the guys runs down to the coast that the bothy overlooks, we follow him down and he explains that there might be muscles on the boulders hanging out to see. We spend the sunset searching for the fresh, wild Scottish mussels and manage to find thirteen to add to our dinner (I had never had mussels before and was tentative to try them). Dinner tasted amazing and as a surprise treat for the birthday boy, I had been carrying in four empty baked bean tins, tiny homemade birthday cakes, which was met by happy surprise from the lads (we even had sprinkles).
With today being our last full day, I make sure we wake up early as to not waist a minute and the best way to do this is to get the kettle on at 6am, get some porridge in our stomachs and go.
With a tidy up and writing our thoughts from the time we had in this amazing Bothy, we headed out for Old Man of Storr.
Excited to see this spectacular natural stone monument and only needing our day packs, we bailed out of the car and started the long walk up to the Old Man of Storr, having snowball fights as we got closer to the top.
What we saw when we stood at the viewpoint could only be described as scene from a science fiction film, with these enormous stone spears weathered by time set on flat snowy grassy fields as if they were placed there. Taking as many photos as we could and taking in the wilderness of the Isle of Skye for the last time, we worked our way back to the car and then off to Portree.
The Fish and Chip shop we had been waiting to open from the first time we visited Portree was finally filled with fresh Scottish fish and were in anticipation for the famous battered cod to be sat in paper on our laps; it did not disappoint.
Stuffed from lunch, we set out for a cabin that we’d prearranged weeks before to finally wash and dry everything including ourselves. I’ve never appreciated or enjoyed running water, electricity and most importantly central heating in my entire life as I did that day; we turned everything on and sat in front of the electric heater warming our bones.
That night a storm passed over us, leaving us hoping that the one bridge off of the island would still be open, letting us start our long drive home.
After three hours of trekking through the cold and rain we came across a beach surrounded by lochs, snow covered peaks and a deserted building on it.