I just watched the most recent episode of Game of Thrones, and even though it may not be shot there, I’m pretty sure we are all thinking that north of the wall is modeled after Scotland.
Lucky for me and my travel companion, our trip north of the wall was lush, green and full of sunshine… and 30C temps.
So we just left Loch Lochy behind and followed the A82 as it turned west, heading for the Isle of Skye.
Why the Isle of Skye, do you ask? I dare you to google it and not be wowed by the photographs, to be taken in by its beauty. It’s the largest of the Inner Hebrides islands, and it has everything you could want for your summer Scotland vacation: stunning scenery to tramp through, dramatic mountains to climb, castles to visit, beautiful beaches, wildlife to spot, whiskey to try, and pubs with views for days. Even just driving through it gives you something new to look at everywhere you turn.
And this passenger couldn’t wait to get there. I was pretty excited when we reached the Skye Bridge connecting the mainland to the island over Loch Alsh. My iPhone, however, took some shameful photographs.
And as we put our hotel info into google for directions on the last leg of our journey, we realized that there was still another hour plus of driving. After six hours plus all the stops for the food and photo ops, I was definitely starting to feel the strain. So imagine how my legal driving license carrying partner felt.
We were heading to the Ullinish Country Lodge on the western part of the island. I’d found the place when researching, and it looked idyllic. Rustic location, close to walks and not far from some of the sights we were hoping to see: Dunvegan Castle, the coral beaches and, of course, Talisker. It even has one of the highest rated restaurants on the island.
Oh, and the island. Just as beautiful as expected.
You can always expect a place with daily rainfall to be this lush and green.
There were little waterfalls everywhere. Some of them frequented by tour buses, of which we did not want to fight for the view.
As we crossed the interior of the island, the sun still shining strong well after 7pm, we were late for our check in at the lodge. But when we arrived, I almost didn’t even want to get out of the car.
We quickly checked in and were shown our room, the Harpoort. It was upstairs overlooking the car part, but beyond that… totally Instagram-worthy.
It had views over Loch Harpoort to the Cuillin Mountains beyond. This was, by far, the best thing about the room: it’s views. The inn itself could use an update, as some of the furnishings seemed a bit tired and may not have been to my taste, but in this writer’s opinion the tariff fit the decor. Other than that, the room was comfortable save for the mattress which I found way to bouncy. I think I even woke myself up when I moved!
Having unpacked and freshened up, we dressed for dinner. This is something I was really looking forward too and is the real highlight of the Ullinish Country Lodge. Dinner and Breakfast are included, and they are delicious.
Your dinner will start with canapés and drinks in the lounge. I didn’t take photographs of any of this, because my priority was to relax and enjoy the pampering. But I did find this one from its website:
It’s a cute, warm spot with a fireplace and leather sofas. I think my grandparents would have liked the decor a bit more than I, however it was a lovely room for a glass of sparkling wine before dinner. And we were treated like royalty. We chose to take our drinks outside to the patio so as to continue enjoying the view. Shortly thereafter we shuffled in to the dining room for our five course dinner.
I do wish I was into taking photos of my food then (I can’t stop myself now) because everything was so beautifully presented. I felt that my dressing up for dinner was worth it because dinner sure dressed up for me.
After dinner, the guests retired to the lounge for after dinner drinks and conversation. And, to bring this post back to its start, we met a delightful couple, parents to an actor who played a secondary character on Game of Thrones. I was impressed by their son’s chops. They were impressed I wore heels to dinner.
And with that, the sun started its descent, sinking behind the Cuillin’s peaks and softening the sky with its pastel glow.
One last photograph before I say goodnight.