Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Scotland #7 - The Isle of Skye

Skye is simply amazing. It defies comparison to anything I’ve ever seen anyplace else in the world. Sparsely populated, it is a land of rugged peaks and deep green valleys and innumerable lochs and inlets.

And narrow, narrow roads. We have spent more time driving on single lane roads here than we ever imagined possible. Every so often there is a small area to the left of us to pull over if a vehicle is coming the other way. The drivers are (mostly) very polite.

Typical Isle of Skye House
The houses, in contrast to the grey stone of Edinburgh, or the old rose brick color of Nairn and Inverness, are all white. They have the appearance of cement slathered over stone and then whitewashed. The typical cottage is no more than two stories high, with dormer windows, two windows below the dormers, and a door right in the middle. Very symmetrical, the Scotts.   Here and there we see the ruin of old stone houses, probably dating from the sixteenth or seventeenth century. They are equally symmetrical.

The beauty of the Isle of Skye
Like the countryside through which we’ve traveled, our accommodation has varied wildly from one place to another. We are back on the mainland, just outside Oban now (having left the Isle of Skye) and staying in palatial luxury in the Knipoch Hotel, (The “K” is silent), a manor house in which the Thane of Cawdor was assassinated in 1592. More about that later. I mention it only in contrast to our accommodation on the island of Skye which was
Skeabost View B&B, Isle of Skye
certainly the most modest of this trip. It was a B&B, a very small room in a very small house. My first reaction was “Oh, no!” But I shall probably remember it long after the memory of our current luxury accommodation dims, because of the warmth and generosity of the owner, Hamish McPherson and his wife Josephine. He is a big man, as so many Scottish men seem to be. Not just tall, but solid. One almost gets the feeling they are rooted to the ground. I asked him a few questions – just practical information I need for the setting of the book I’m working on. He was generous with his time and helpful with his answers. Then he pulled out a map and told us what we “had to do tomorrow” to see the real Skye.  The route he mapped out was a step back hundreds of years in time, as well as spectacular from a
The wonderful Hamish with me
scenic point of view. The road was one lane much of the way. Jeanette has become very adept at driving on the left, but remembering what to do one a one lane road when a car is coming towards you is another whole level of skill. Still, we survived.

When we arrived back at our B&B, too tired to even think of trying to find a restaurant for dinner, Hamish made us ham and cheese sandwiches. God bless him.

We were sorry to leave Skye. I think we could have spent far more time there.


Watch for Blair's newest thriller, Fatal Charm 
Coming in 2017

A perilous scheme to thwart ruthless adversaries hurtles successful jewelry designer Caitlin Abernathy from her comfortable California studio to the streets of Paris and the beaches of Brittany as she attempts to return a priceless stolen heirloom to the Louvre.

Colin Stryker, the devastatingly handsome history professor from Ireland who has appointed himself her protector, fights to rescue her before her captors add murder to their crimes, while at the same time unraveling the torturous train of events that led to the original theft.

With every moment fraught with danger, can the chemistry already between the two ignite into passion?

Praise for Fatal Charm:

"If you love well-crafted romantic suspense where the mystery is every bit as mysterious as the romance is romantic, check out Blair McDowell's work.  I found her through a book tour 5 years ago, and she is one of my happiest discoveries."
-  Marlene Harris, ReadingReality.net

"The elegance and beauty of Paris as the central backdrop for the intrigue, adds color and movement to the drama.... I particularly liked the attention to food as a gathering point and motif throughout. I was drawn back to my memories of Paris -- the sights, sounds and aromas. It's these small touches that inject an extra dimension, a 'je ne sais quoi' into the mix."
-  Heather B, Eyes2creviews.blogspot.ca

"Fatal Charm is well-written and engaging.  The book has a fast pace which makes it easy to read and enjoy.  Blair McDowell is an illustrative writer which allows readers to visualize the scenes in their head.  This brings the characters and story to life for  me.  I thought the mystery was complex and intriguing.  I enjoyed the many twists and turns."
-  Kristina Anderson, Doodlesinkspot.blogspot.ca

Click here to view and purchase all Blair's books.

 The books of Blair McDowell


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Blair McDowell