It's taken me a while to get started writing this post, because I've just been sat here at my computer gazing at the photos and sobbing internally at the fact that I can no longer look out of my bedroom window and see this gorgeous scenery whenever I want.
As you might have spotted on my Twitter and Instagram (it was a ridiculous instagrammable holiday), last week Sean and I spent a long weekend in Skye. It was a very generous Christmas present from Sean's Dad and Step-mum and we'd been looking forward to it for ages. I took a whole heap of photos, so I'm going to split it up into two posts for anyone who might be thinking about taking a trip themselves...or anyone who just likes living vicariously through other people's travels like I do.
This post will be a little summary of where we stayed and the food we ate...the most important part of any holiday, obvs.
We stayed at the Cottage Stein in Stein, up in the north-west of Skye - it's a bed and breakfast owned by John and Fiona who moved to the area a couple of years ago. Now when I say bed and breakfast, it's not just your average bed and breakfast. There are only two en-suite bedrooms available and both have stunning views over Loch Bay. We opted for the downstairs room, which had access to a deck area via bifold doors stretching across the entire outer wall. It also had a rainforest shower and the MOST comfortable bed I have ever slept in ever. Also I totally covet that bedspread, not gonna lie.
It's not the cheapest stay available to you on the island, but if we ever went back to Skye I would save up just so I could return - Cottage Stein has a 5 star rating for a reason. The rooms are stunning, the breakfasts are better than most restaurant breakfasts I've ever had and most importantly, John and Fiona are really just the nicest people ever. From the little touches like the cookie jar left in the room, to the offers of tea and cake when we got back from our day trips - to the fact that they went above and beyond whenever possible, washing muddy jeans, airing out wet shoes, lending suncream on sunny days and even printing out a link to the mattress we'd been complimenting! Basically, I don't think we'd have enjoyed ourselves half as much if we stayed anywhere else.
Skye is a fair drive away from Edinburgh, so even setting out at just past midday on the Saturday we didn't arrive until around 7pm in the evening. We were absolutely exhausted by that point and just wanted to chill out in our lovely room, so we'd stopped by the shops to pick up a few essentials for an armchair picnic on the first night. Alongside our baguette, blue cheese and Spanish meat platter I'd brought along a few treats that had arrived that day from Caprera, a new online marketplace for artisan food delivering throughout the UK (mainland only).
I love discovering new independent brands so this was a revelation - the Chocolate Tree Chilli Chocolate* was my favourite this time, but once we're in the new house I'll definitely be stocking up on a few other bits that have caught my eye...I've recently rediscovered a love for marmalade on good quality bread, so this is definitely going to have to get in my life!
On day two of our trip we headed for a tour of the north of the island, more on that in tomorrow's post - and we had our lunch stop marked out thanks to John and Fiona's recommendations that morning. Apparently some of you might recognise Single Track in Kilmaluag from being on Grand Designs one time, but we had no idea about that when we stopped there. It's a tiny little cafe in a tiny little village right at the top of the island and what they do - they do well. The small but carefully selected menu offers items like homemade soup and sandwiches, but the real draw is the hot drinks menu and the cakes (which we couldn't fit in but that looked unreal).
Sean had a macchiato and promptly declared it to be one of the best coffees he has ever had in his life, whereas I opted for a something a little more sugar filled - the raspberry and dark chocolate hot chocolate. Oh my god. Looking at it now, I can almost taste it again - it was sooooo good.
I have no photos of our dinner stops from any of the days unfortunately, but on the Sunday night we ate at the Stein Inn as it was right by where we were staying. It was fine - it hit the spot, but it was just your typical pub grub, so don't expect anything too amazing if you go there.
On the second full day of our trip we headed out west, again armed with a recommendation of somewhere to stop for lunch. Red Roof Cafe in Glendale is a bit off the beaten track but it was easy enough to spot once we got within viewing distance of it - mainly because it's a bright white building with an equally bright red roof.
The guys at Red Roof clearly put a lot of thought into what they do - everything is seasonal, fresh, fair trade and mostly organic and local - plus they clearly know a lot about their tea and coffee - my tea came out with a timer so that I didn't commit the fatal error of over brewing my Earl Grey. Sean had coffee again and also rated this one highly, although it did come over a little less hot than I would personally like my coffee, as apparently it's served at the optimum temperature rather than, you know, hot. My giant cheese scone with brie and beetroot chutney went down a treat though - the food is excellent.
That night we had dinner at the Old School in Dunvegan which I would highly recommend. Not cheap, but not ridiculously expensive either and the food is yum - my favourite was my seafood starter with the best Cullen Skink I've ever tried. The decor is lovely too - i'm a sucker for fairylights!
That's it for this post - I'm off to make myself some toast because I've suddenly made myself super hungry. Let me know if you're planning a trip to Skye and would like some more tips!