Just to reassure you – from the TA family x
Before you arrive, you will receive an email from us which will help us to make your check in, check out and the time you spend with us as simple as possible.
You will be asked to confirm that you and your household are Covid 19 symptom free. If you have symptoms you will be asked to cancel your booking. If you arrive presenting symptoms or develop symptoms during your stay you will be asked to return home.
We ask you to let us know as accurately as you can what time you’ll be checking in. Check in is contactless and paperless.
If you need help with your luggage when please let us know before hand so we can have the necessary precautions in place.
Everyone will have their temperature taken by touch free forehead thermometer when they arrive.
While you are here we know that you will wash your hands regularly, please also use the hand sanitisers that are to be found throughout the hotel.
You will be given my mobile number so if you need anything during your stay you can let me know without having to have contact (if you prefer)
The dining room and bar area are for resident use only. We will ask you to give us a time for your break fast sitting and, if you choose to eat with us, for your dinner sitting also.
Your bedroom will have been thoroughly cleaned before your stay under our enhanced cleaning procedures. If you prefer we will not service your room during your stay so that you are the only people in the room. Waste bins, damp towels etc can be left outside your room.
We will provide fresh milk and the tea, coffee etc that you need each morning. Just text me if you need refills. There will be hand soap in the rooms and we will provide shampoo and shower gel on request.
There will be a quarantine box for any books you might look at during your stay.
What you don’t see
Our updated risk assessments.
Our staff training on precautions to take at home and at work
Our detailed cleaning program between guest stays and each day in communal areas.
Social distancing in the kitchen
Staff are asked to certify themselves symptom free when they leave work each day. Regular touch free staff temperature checks recorded centrally.
It’s a worrying time for all of us, the Corona virus (I still don’t feel scientific enough to use its Sunday name COVID 19 – I only got a C in Physical Science O Level) is all we seem to talk about. But at the moment we can act responsibly and keep ourselves, and each other, safe and still make the most of 2020.
We know that you need to make your own mind up about travelling, and that some of you will have the decision taken out of your hands, but for the foreseeable we are open for business and ready to welcome you with namastes, Vulcan greetings (tho annoyinglyI can’t actually do that ) or the cool thing they have developed in Wuhan with their feet.
These are anxious times. Trust me as a congenital over thinker and self employed human, I know this. The hotel and bar have the strictest hygiene procedures, and we’ve popped in a couple more just to make us all feel better. All our team have been briefed on the correct way to work, at this time and indeed at all times.
We’re not going to run out of loo roll. We have amazing food made in the most part with Scottish ingredients, many local to Skye and some local to our little peninsula. We live on an island of open spaces, fresh air and the sort of views that can lift your soul from any despond the world might throw at you. The picture with the blog is from our beer garden – we’d love to share it with you.
Check out @keeptheworldtravelling on Instagram, and don’t forget to wash your hands xxx
…on over romanticising Scotland.
Scotland in general is magical. Skye in particular. We have the most beautiful scenery which touches people in ways they can’t explain. People who came to stay with us when we first arrived still keep in touch because their memories are so precious. But it’s a real place, with real people doing real stuff.
Its tipping it down outside, not fluffy snow, wet sploshes of very chilly rain that soak right though my cardi. I turn on my lap top with my wee, frozen fingers. Someone on one of the Scotland fan pages on Facebook is in Glasgow. Should I go to Skye or Inverness in my campervan she asks? Not Skye, I reply. It’s foul here today. From across the world I am contradicted. No, Skye is beautiful whatever the weather, you’re so ungrateful, you’re so lucky to live there (actually not lucky, we sold everything we had and moved to the unknown to do a job also unknown, foolish maybe, brave possibly – not lucky). Trust me, today is not a day to be visiting Skye. The dog blew over, you can’t see a blimmin foot in front of your face… but hey what do I know, I’m only the one chasing the bins across the croft.
While I’m on one. It’s not coos (to rhyme with ‘ ooooh, aren’t they cute’) it’s cows (to rhyme with ‘ow I’ve been stabbed by a 12’’ horn while trying to pet the calf because I saw it on Instagram’) unless you’re actually speaking Scots. Also coorie is not the new hygge. In fact if you check with the Danes, hygge isn’t even the new hygge. Coorie is not about harris tweed cushions, tea cosies (tho I’m very in favour of teacosies, no one likes cold tea and the ladies of Portnalong make amazing ones) or paying £7 for a blondie. It comes from the Scots word meaning crouch for protection, families sheltering their children from the grinding poverty of the time – listen to the beautiful Miner’s Lullaby (Coorie doon) to get the idea. Or read Lesley Riddoch’s fabulous article in The National.
So come, eat our extraordinary food, sample our world famous malts, breathe in the fresh air of Talisker Beach, check out the dolphins at Fiskavaig Bay. Chat to the incredibly hardworking housekeeping chaps in your b & b, to Neily Beag on the bus who makes a point of escorting those who find their shopping hard to manage to their door, to the hilarious locals at the bar who’ll buy you a dram and tell you All The Stories. Take photos that people back home won’t believe are real. But you’ll know. They are. Because Skye is.
Also follow the fabulous @wodieskodie on Twitter to get the best take on island life.
It’s a fact. I’m a planner, My super power is planning. I’d have preferred an invisible plane but fate gave me planning. It’s a gift, just ask Johnny whose entire winter is sectioned into little job sized pieces interposed with directed fun.
And I can help you get the absolute most out of your holiday. Some of you will be epic organisers like me and just need the odd pointer and nugget of inside knowledge. Some of you will be more of the last minute lads and lassies who would benefit from all my planny goodness. So. how can we work together to make Skye 2020 your best holiday ever?
Accommodation: Obviously we think you should stay with us. And if you’d like to stay with us you do need to book as soon as you can, because we get very busy. But whatever, you do need to have your accommodation sorted before you come to Skye. I’ve looked on some Facebook pages and some people seem to think that you can rock up at 10 pm, find a friendly crofter who will provide you with a cosy bed, a plateful of haggis and lashings of ginger beer. This, my friends, is not the case. We’re a small island with a small population. The whole *Skye is full* drama llama event was a result of people arriving with no plan – don’t let that be you.
Eating out: your friendly local bar (Number 3 on Trip Advisor at the moment, I’d like to say) will serve fabulous seafood, locally foraged delights and quality pub staples with a Taigh Ailean twist. But you might want to go more chi chi for a night during your stay. A special occasion or just because you totally deserve it needs some forward thinking. There are a whole host of restaurants on Skye, many of them will need booking months in advance. We can offer you advice on whether you need a cosy Michelin star, a fancy pantsy formal do, a focus on steak or seal a l’orange avec shaved otters’ noses. We have the lowdown from personal experience and access to all the goss.
Things to do: wildlife guides, touring distilleries, foraging trips or jumping off cliffs (into the sea in a wetsuit obvs) all need to be booked. And if you want everything to fit together beautifully they need to be booked well in advance. Just email me and tell me what you want to do, or more generally where your interest lie and I can provide you with links and websites, phone numbers and names. We have our favourites of course but there are all sorts f activities to suit your budget, timeframe and the extent of your adventurous spirit.
: there are so many hidden treasures where you can spend your Scottish pounds. There’s the well known places with the big Insta presence that will give you some lovely Skye goodies. But did you know our local village hall has a gorgeous artisan market every Wednesday where you can buy ACTUAL SUE TATE teacosies like the ones we have in the hotel. Don’t spend all your money in the big cities, in the big shops on stuff that everyone else will have. Tell me what you’re after and I’ll let you know what the island has to offer.
I hope this has given you some ideas about how planning can add to your holiday. Just email me at email@example.com or drop me a message on the hotel Facebook page. Let the adventures begin.
It all began last year when the Daily Mail and the BBC got their knickers in a twist. *Skye is full, FULL I TELL YOU. Evacuate! Evacuate!* Pictures of a sign saying a campsite was completely full suddenly transformed into headlines representing the whole island. I was tagged by alarmed friends in the news story more times than the gin/psychopath surveys and Fair Trade sausage dog jumpers on sale.
Then CNN decided to list us on its *places to avoid* list for 2018. How dare they? HOW ACTUALLY DARE THEY?? Another symptom of my annoyance is over-capitalisation by the way. Let’s pick apart their evidence (which tbf demonstrated less research than an average Year 9’s RE homework).
There are about 10,000 people who live on the island. Most of those aren’t accommodation providers. Most of those who are have Bed and Breakfast accommodation with 3 or less rooms. So if you want to visit it’s simply common sense to arrange where you’re going to stay in advance. Huuuuuuge props to our Danish guests who have just booked for September 2019 this week.
Now, you come to Skye. What to see? If you Google *Top 5 places to see on Skye*, when you turn up it’s highly likely to be full of people who’ve also done the same search. Why not ask your friendly hotel bar-matron for advice? Be ready to be adventurous, amazed and possibly a bit muddy. Our beautiful island is a place to be, a place to experience, not a place to *do* or tick off. It’s why we don’t accept one night bookings. If you’re planning to drive the whole island in a day and be in Pitlochry before dark you’d probably be best staying on the mainland and chilling your beans a bit. If you take a selfie from your car while driving past the distillery then, yes indeed, you have technically *done Talisker* but you won’t know the joy of the 18 year malt old whirling like peaty nectar on your tongue. If you buy your souvenirs from the first shop you see your friends will indeed have a little something from Skye that will probably end up in a drawer. But you won’t have popped into Sally’s tiny shop in Fernilea to see her exquisite creations knitted with wool from sheep she has grown her actual self. You won’t have visited the *Made in Minginish* craft event and sampled Jenny’s Danish pastries. (If I’m there you won’t have a chance, if we’re honest. I will have eaten them all). You won’t have made it to ór in Portree, or crossed the water to Raasay and visited Fiona at the Silver Grasshopper. Or eaten amazing chocolate with Pam and Angus. Or….. or…..or….. In short, you’ll have missed out on some of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. We have the most lovely guests, Klaus and Jessica, who come every year, for two weeks. They still haven’t seen everything.
Yes indeed there have been locals who have expressed the view that enough is enough as CNN said. But they don’t represent the majority of us who wish to share where we live with people who appreciate it. In the same way as I expect (if you’ve read this far) tourists who pee in people’s gardens and complain because there is no wifi signal at the Fairy Pools don’t represent you.
So, come and stay. With us, if you fancy something a bit different. Treat our island with the respect that somewhere so astonishing deserves. You won’t be disappointed. Trust me, I know my stuff…. now pass the chocolate buttons….
Before I start let me state that I am a bloomin’ good driver. Not everyone agrees. Johnny seems to develop phantom brake foot in the passenger seat of the truck. Also he alerts me to sheep/oncoming traffic/dust molecules when they are a very long way away. But anyway…
Dear lovely drivers who come to our island. I know it’s beautiful. I understand you slowing down to pop your Go-Pro out of the window and catch that view. I appreciate that our single track roads and passing places can be intimidating. So I really, honestly don’t mind you travelling at 25 mph all the time. I also sympathise with the *which side of the road am I on?* dilemma. After a year of living in Djibouti I still went the wrong way round the only roundabout in the country on my bicycle.
But please understand that those of us who live here have places to go. The bright lights of Or may be calling, with shiny things to buy as a treat for one of the staff…. There could be bargains to be had in the Co-op or an emergency squid run. That’s what passing places are for…. just pull over and let the little woman in the big truck pass. Then smile and wave…. if you don’t a fairy dies. or something. We don’t mean to stress you out, but when you have a picnic in a passing place or park between the hopeful cones on the distillery brae someone may shout at you a wee bit.
I promise I will be try to be patient with you. I want you to enjoy your holiday, to return to your home in one piece with a shed load of amazing pictures and memories. I want you to look back with fondness on the cheery islanders with their wavey hands and impressive cornering skills. Unless you’re in one of those *Wicked* camper vans (TM appaz). In which case I will run your tragic, misogynistic rear bumper into a big puddle.
I like gin. This will come as no surprise to most of you. You only have to look at Taigh Ailean’s Trip Advisor reviews to see I bang on about it quite a lot. And every person who doesn’t like gin when they arrive and skips off merrily singing the praises of a good grapefruit garnish is a personal brownie point between me and the juniper goddess Astarte.
People often ask me about my favourite gin – I really don’t have one. In the bar we have between 25 and 60 depending on stockists, season and demand. What I fancy depends on my mood, the time of day, the temperature, the company I’m keeping. I have a soft spot for Death’s Door from Wisconsin because it was the first *good* gin I ever tried. I am delighted that our two most local gins, Glen Wyvis (Dingwall) and Isle of Harris (Harris obvs) are delicious gins of excellent quality. The people at Daffy’s, Eden Mill and Caorunn are wonderful, friendly and produce the most beautiful glasses and accessories as well as fabulous gin. I could go on.
But gin in particular, it seems to me, Scottish gin, has become a bit of a *thing*. And this I do not love. The ‘shhhh, it’s actually gin’ coffee mugs and ‘I’d rather be drinking gin’ aprons have me singing the twangy beginning of the Stones’ Mother’s Little Helper rather than chortling into my nosing glass. Gin flavour popcorn, crisps etc are an abomination against both salty snacks and gin. I need to know exactly what my taste receptors are getting. Which is why I have always been suspicious of Snack-a-Jacks (surely something can’t come in caramel AND salt and vinegar flavours?) and why my mother’s cream cheese and Marmite profiteroles sent me into a small bout of hysteria one Christmas dinner. Don’t even get me started on the pea and banana salad…..
And the new gins, oh the number of new gins. Each week more come flooding into the market. Some, for example AVVA, are a welcome addition. Classy, herbilicious and crisp, this gin from Elgin has already become a local’s favourite. (The joy of seeing a large Skye bloke in bobble hat and wellies demanding lime AND berries with his gin because that is the correct serve never gets old). But some new gins are so much form over function, so much hype you can almost sniff the musty seats of the bandwagon…..
So, is my love affair with gin fading out in the same way as my pash for BA Robertson or my obsession with pastel hair extensions? I don’t think so, I hope not. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime have a very wonderful Christmas, may your gin fizz be the fizziest possible xx
I’ve come a long way in the past 18 months. My Amazon recommendations for instance. They used to be glories such as Irregular Choice pumps, obscure snail slime face cream or biographies of random feminist icons. Now it’s mostly multi packs of Toilet Duck (or Lavatory Pheasant as I prefer to think of it) and ultra bounce pillows.
It’s like that with moths. I used to consider them creatures of dust and fear, whilst I’d never deliberately squish one I have been known to evacuate a room if one is mindlessly circling a light. They all looked the same to me, and that look wasn’t a good one.
A few months ago I was chatting to my new friends (and Fritz’s walk buddy’s pack leaders) Jean and Keith. I was rather disappointed when Keith mentioned he was interested in moths as up to that point I had thought they were really very interesting people. But then I learned that there is a moth specific to this area. Not just this little island, but this little part of this little island. It’s called the Talisker Burnet moth and it is terribly rare. I would tell you where to find it but Jean said if she told me she’d have to shoot me. And that would be a shame. This moth flies in late June and early July and it’s actually quite pretty. I did some reading and found out my perception of moths was all wrong. The place that I live in never ceases to surprise me. I’m looking forward to going *mothing* or whatever it’s called, later in the year. Tho I might be wearing Irregular Choice pumps because not everything has changed.