Writing exercise from the topic “Surprise Trips to Skye”.
We’d go to bed and wake up in the car, still wearing our pyjamas, wrapped up in a blanket and cuddled up with our headrests, ladybird for me and sheep for my little brother. The windows would be steamed up from everyone’s heavy breathing – it was usually too cold to open one – and we’d be able to see the sea and the Cuillin Mountains ahead if it was a clear day. They’d always park in the same spot in Portree, so we’d know where we were the second we’d open our eyes.
We never knew when we’d come. Sometimes it’d be in the middle of a school week, sometimes it’d be on a weekend during the Easter holidays. When Mum and Clarky would finally wake up – they’d been driving all night so they always passed out as soon as we arrived – we’d usually wake them up, chat, get all excited about our surprise trip, and play games such as the running joke concerning their favourite band, Runrig, several of which’s band members were from the Isle of Skye. More on that later.
Our favourite mountain on the island was the Old Man of Storr. Maybe you’ve heard of it. We’d climb it pretty much every time we went there. It was a fairly easy hike, with a forest path and the huge rock resting on top, which is what the mountain is named after. As a kid I remember seeing the odd eagle or two up there.
Another mountain we liked, but which was way more difficult, was Bentiannebeig, which you can see from Portree, Skye’s largest town. We’ve climbed it once or twice, and were always so exhausted afterwards that we’d go to Aros for hot chocolate afterwards. Aros is brilliant – it’s a sort of entertainment centre just outside of Portree; it has a tiny cinema, where I remember we went to see Disney’s Tarzan once – a gift shop selling notebooks, pens, toys, guide books and all sorts of cool stuff, a restaurant and a play park outside. There was also a forest walk behind it, which I’m not sure if we ever did or not. I have a feeling we never finished it, because if there was anywhere on Skye that was left unexplored, my imagination would run wild, and I’d imagine it to be filled with magical trees and wizards, fantasy creatures and caves filled with treasure. Looking back, it was probably just a forest.
Sometimes we’d take the beach walk near Donnie Munro’s house. Donnie Munro used to be the lead singer of Runrig, which Clarky and Mum would always listen to in the car on those little cassette tapes – do you remember those? Anytime I hear Runrig I think of trips to Skye.