After I finished the work for She Promised to Bring Her Books, Will and I were off for a badly needed rest. I think before you take off traveling it's important to know why you're traveling. I'm always looking for inspiration while Will likes adventure and trying the local beer. He's a great traveling companion and always a good sport.
For this trip we were off to the Isle of Skye and Mull via London. I lobbied for a trip to the Tate Modern then turned the rest of the weekend in London over to Will. After an excellent trip to the museum, Will unrolls his list of pre-Victorian era pubs and off we went to have a pint at each one. Whew. I believe records were set, but we sure enjoyed all of those historic places. We were staying in Blackfriars so I took advantage of the opportunity to go mudlarking, the official name for digging around in the mud on the banks of the Thames. Stand by for the "Mudlark" series of boxes.
Wow, that was fun.
We took the overnight Caledonian Sleeper train from London to Inverness, picked up our car and headed for The Isle of Skye. I trace my roots to Skye and Dunvegan on the Trotternish Peninsula (Mcleods). It definitely feels like the home of my heart. This was our second trip to Skye and this time we were prepared with rain and hiking gear.
For the next week we had a routine: Hike in the morning (despite the howling winds and rain), warm up at a local pub, visit an artist or maker I'd met on Instagram, then play chess at night while sampling whisky. The Isle of Skye is a haven for artists and makers. They aren't all gathered in a big co-op, so you have to make pilgrimages down dodgy single track roads and so forth to their little studios, but it's worth it. Our week was pure bliss and we met lots of new friends and artists. I think any time you can meet a stranger and get a big hug like you're old friends it adds meaning to life.
I also have an obsession with tartans. When I'm stuck for a color palette, I can always go to Scottish plaids for inspiration. The colors are made from natural dyes; even the bright pinks come from a certain kind of lichen. I spent a fair amount of time taking color palette notes, please believe.
We wrapped up in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull where we made a trip to Fingal's Cave and Lunga to see the puffins. What a fantastic day that was. If there's a heaven, I hope it's Lunga. I also documented the lichen colors on the basalt columns of the cave. Mustard with celadon green? Yes please.
Finally, we headed to Edinburgh to see the jaw-dropping Kelpies (big silver horse sculptures). There is a fantastic documentary called Creating The Kelpies about artist Andy Scott and the process of designing and building these behemoths. When they first came into view, I felt like I couldn't breathe. Humans are amazing.
The night before we left Edinburgh our Irish waiter asked where we were from. When we told him we are from Charleston he laughed. His uncle owns an Irish pub in Charleston and his brother works at another Irish pub here. He wrote a note to his brother and refused our tip, asking we give both to his kin when we got home. And so we did.
It was a lovely adventure.