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….