Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: fairy glen

Swallows, fairies, and a misty summit in Snowdonia

When I first heard the name Snowdonia, I thought it sounded like a place in Narnia or Harry Potter or some magical fictional location. Well I might have been right because I now do wonder if Snowdonia is the portal to a magical realm. Of course, this national park in the north of Wales is too big to be properly explored in two days, which was all I had. So as a lover of waterfalls, I went to see the Swallow Falls, and who could resist a place with a name like Fairy Glen Gorge? Finally I went to the summit of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales at 1085 metres. No, I didn’t walk it. I took the train on the Snowdon Mountain Railway as I simply wouldn’t have had the time to walk it. Yes, I took the train and I’m shameless to say it, even though one particular walker gave us a thumbs-down near the summit – well BITE ME 😀

As someone who loves waterfalls, there was no way that I’d NOT go see Swallow Falls when I was in Snowdonia. I love how the sound of the roaring water gets louder and louder the closer I get to the falls. As I watch the water flow so freely downstream I couldn’t help but ask…where does it come from, and where is it going?

As I hopped off the bus at the entrance to the Fairy Glen path, the bus driver remarked, “Off to see the fairies, are you?” I responded, “Yes, I’d hope so!” A short walk led me to a secluded gorge that could only be reached by walking down some steep, rocky steps, and you really couldn’t see the gorge until you walked down the final step. It was such a serene place, and again I loved hearing the water flow. I might have caught a glimpse of a fairy dancing here and there too…I wonder if the fairies here are related to the ones at the Fairy Glen on Skye in Scotland – cousins, maybe? 😉

And Snowdon. Oh Snowdon. According to a survey, the best view in the UK is from the summit of Snowdon. I might have agreed…if I could have been able to see it! Moments ago the scene in front of me was completely covered by the white mist, but the monster wind was rather helpful with clearing the clouds, so I did get the periodic lucky breaks and saw parts of the view from time to time. Still, the mountains of Snowdonia looked like a realm of heaven from here.

Oh Wales, what other secrets do you hold?

Advertisements

The hills are alive…on the misty Isle of Skye! (continued)

I couldn’t resist posting another entry about Skye after the first one. This time I shall let the photos speak for themselves. There were so many unforgettable moments and so many precious photos that it was difficult choosing just a set of them to share, but the selected few will give you an idea of the highlights from my first trip (13 people in total) to Skye, the Misty Isle.

I want to thank again Stuart from Misty Isle Tours for making the Skye minibus day trip possible for our large group by tailoring our itinerary based on our preferences and limitations – and the day turned out to be super lovely! And of course, my companions were beyond fantastic! Honourable mentions go to Amy the selfie queen, Henry the undefeated chef, Zed the self-proclaimed Pirate King, and my rival paparazzi, XM. Thanks for the memories, guys!

The hills are alive…on the misty Isle of Skye!

The Isle of Skye is perhaps the most widely recognized destination in the Scottish highlands and a hotspot for tourism, and it’s easy to see why. Before I had even stepped foot on Scottish soil, my friend has already recommended it as the number one place that I have to visit in Scotland because it was just so beautiful. His claim was supported by multiple other friends, and I finally had a chance to make a trip up north to the Misty Isle (Skye means “mist” in Norse) in July this year – with 12 other people!

We hired a minibus from Misty Isle Tours and were very fortunate to have the adorable Stuart as our driver and guide for the day. I think Skye probably deserves way more than one simple post, but for this first introductory post I’ll show you some of the stunning landscape that we were able to see around the island, courtesy of Stuart. Maybe it would convince you that Skye is indeed the place that dreams are made of.

Skye is a photographer’s heaven and there is no shortage of good photo opportunities. The Fairy Pools are one of the most visited attractions of Skye, and while I’ll be completely honest and say I was a little underwhelmed by the actual pools themselves, the Black Cuillins that served as the backdrop were simply magnificent and awe-inspiring!

Speaking of fairy, you can’t miss the Fairy Glen, reachable via a nice scenic hike close to the guesthouse where we stayed in Uig (which was excellent, by the way). This is the kind of place where you’d expect elves to magically appear and fairies to dance in the lush green – a place worthy of its name!

The Sligachan Bridge is something you’d expect to see on a postcard. This shot was captured hastily as we passed by the bridge on the bus from Glasgow to Uig, but I was glad that Stuart took us back to Sligachan during our day tour of Skye to take a closer look at the bridge!

Another view of the Sligachan Bridge, this time from the other side with the Red Cuillin hills in the back. The perfect symmetry of Glamaig adds to the aesthetic feeling of the picture!

And here we come to the “bald” hills on the way to Elgol, a perfect backdrop against the clear, dark blue waters. After searching on Google Maps and checking the corresponding time that the photo was taken, I have reasons to believe that the hills seen here are known as Beinn na Caillich, the “red hills” of the Cuillin mountain ranges.

Elgol is the departure point of the ferry to Loch Coruisk. I’d heard of Elgol from a random stranger I met during a hike and was keen to visit, especially since it is where Stuart grew up! What a tranquil little village!

With a bus we had a lot of flexibility in terms of where we could go, and Stuart also brought us to Quiraing, a location with stunning landscape and rock formations. The BFG was also filmed here, apparently!

Passing by a lone house by the shore, surrounded by nothing but grassy fields, calm waters, roaming sheep, and sheer serenity. I wouldn’t mind moving here when I retire…

Of course, Skye had to show us why it was named the “Misty Isle”. We were lucky that most of the day was rain-free but there were short intervals where rain hit us hard, and you wondered if it would ever stop. Still Skye looked gorgeous in the rain and mist and before you know it, the sky opened up again and we forgot that rain was ever with us!

Back at Uig, the group stayed in glamping pods on top of a hill, where we were able to get a nice view of the main village across the bay. These pods were so cosy and comfortable that I wouldn’t hesitate going back here the next time I visit Skye! Oh, and this photo was taken at around 11:30pm in early July. I think the sky was still slightly blue well past midnight – definitely the ideal timing for our stay!

Finally, I present you with a greeting (or a goodbye) from the Skye Dragon…breathing fire! OK, just clouds, but aren’t they amazing! You could probably tell that my first Skye experience was absolutely mesmerizing and memorable, and I hope it won’t be the last!

%d bloggers like this: