Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Skye Walking

What a busy and wonderful time I have been having this April!
First lets go back to Glenfarg Folk Feast which was only a week and a bit ago but already feels like ages.
The Rainbow Cottage picture was won by Susie Kelly and The Home Brew Crew for an inspired song about the Rainbow Colours of Susie's Home Brew. Hysterically funny and truly a last minute entry with the last lines of the song being written as they came in the door. It was a worthy winner. Susie and the gang were great company over the weekend with many stories, songs, tunes and laughs shared.
This is what the picture looked like as the front cover of the programme.
We had beautiful weather for the weekend and we all enjoyed singing in the sun out in the gardens in Glenfarg. To find out about other folk music festivals happening in Scotland this summer click here .

After Glenfarg we headed straight up to the Isle of Skye. Well actually we headed straight for ASDA in Perth to buy sunglasses and Optrex for my poor eyes. Three extremely late nights in a row had me looking like a banshee.
This was our third trip to Skye and we usually stay at the Dun Flodigarry hostel on the Trotternish peninsula. This year however we went to the Minginish area of Skye and stayed at THE BEST HOSTEL I HAVE EVER BEEN IN!

 Skyewalkers Hostel in Portnalong is run by musician couple Brian and Lisa Hill. They moved to Skye five years ago to own and run this hostel and are making an absolutely fantastic job of it.

 This is the back of the hostel which used to be a school many years ago. 
My favourite feature is the Solardome. Lots of benches and deck chairs make this the perfect place to relax. It gets really warm inside with just the slightest amount of sunlight and we loved to eat breakfast out there and do some drawing and painting. The children especially loved being in there as it was like being outside but not being blown about by the Skye winds.

Brian and Lisa are incredibly friendly and make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. They have a great sense of humour which can be seen around the place in quirky wall art and full size Starwars figures around some corners. There is a nice Scottish feel to the place but it's not at all tacky or kitch.
The accommodation is comfortable and very clean with private twin bunk rooms available as well as dorms and there are even two luxury en suite twin rooms available for those that don't fancy a bunk bed for the night. A brand new well equipped kitchen made cooking up meals a pleasure and there was plenty of room to eat and relax. 
Unlike many hostels we have been too, Brian and Lisa are not interested in cramming as many people as possible in per night. They choose not to take campers at the moment to avoid over crowding in the kitchen, toilets and showers. They do want to make a living but they are not greedy. Your experience while staying there genuinely matters to them.

Brian and Lisa

We were lucky enough to land in on a night when there was a music session in full swing. Having come straight from a folk festival this suited us fine! Not all hostelers are interested in listening to people play music and it takes great skill to draw a crowd in but they managed it and soon had a young crowd of Belgian students singing to us in French and joining in other well known songs. Great fun was had by all and I would highly recommend this hostel to anyone looking for somewhere great to stay on Skye. Musicians are especially welcome and are actively encouraged to play and sing the days and nights away. Hosteling is not just for youths either. Well, we certainly aren't youths! We met older couples, families and hikers as well as back packers from around the world.
For more information, photos and music videos check out the website here
Another great reason to choose this hostel to stay at is location!
It's only 3 miles from the Talisker distillery and a few miles from the famous black Cuillin mountains. We don't go to Skye for hill walking achievement but we do try and do at least one hike with the children every year. This year we chose to visit Glen Brittle and hiked up to the Fairy Pools. It was an easy walk and quite exciting to be making our way towards the majestic and mysterious Cuillin. The day was a bit over cast which made it even more atmospheric. As we approached the pools the children were starting to gurn a bit but as soon as they saw the first waterfall, all gripes were forgotten and the pools cast their spell on us all.

 It is impossible to capture the depth and beauty of each pool in a photograph. We all wanted to jump right in! Of course it would have been freezing even on a hot day but if the sun had been out I think I would have gone for it.

 The contrast of the turquoise water and russet browns of the vegetation and stone really appealed to me.

 I was also really taken with the patterns created on the floor of the pools by stones, slabs of rock and pebbles.

I knew I would create something in textile inspired by these pools and I got to work yesterday on a series of wall hangings. Rather than making this piece representational, it's more of a celebration of the colours and textures, reflections and patterns seen in the water as it flows down from the Cuillin. 

The drift wood branch was found on Glen Brittle beach.
 So that was probably a lot to cram into one blog post, but with the Open Studio event looming and me totally behind with my work, I can't see me getting many updates written over the next couple of weeks.
Did I mention that I sold nearly ALL my jewellery at Glenfarg? hee hee. I really need to be getting some work done.
Hope everyone is having a lovely Spring so far. We have our grass cut and the patio chairs out ready to enjoy any sunshine that comes our way : )
All contributed content © Aileen Clarke