Thinking about what I'd like to do on the day of my 40th birthday when staying on the Isle of Skye, my immediate thought was to hike up to the Old Man of Storr. But as we drove past it a day earlier, it didn't look particularly appealing. Too busy and a stark path up to the Old Man, not what I envisaged for a birthday challenge.
Happily, we chose to stay in the splendid Flodigarry Hotel for a couple of nights in the far north of Skye, which was totally our kind of chill-out place. On its back doorstep is the glorious backdrop of the Quiraing, an impressive looking escarpment from the road and the Internet photos of the trek looked promising.
We were a tad late starting the trek given the need for birthday boy treats and a hearty Scottish breakfast, but the weather was on our side and it seemed a short hike on paper. The breakfast meat-sweats started to kick in after the first hour and we were all feeling a bit lethargic, in contrast to the strong efforts on our previous Glen Feshie - Loch Eanaich Circuit. But we powered on not wanting to be beaten by the challenge, and a there was a constant carrot to chase in the form of magnificent mountain vistas.
Hopefully the photos tell the rest of the story. It was a perfect day, and although we have done other trips arguably more impressive, for me it was exactly what I needed turning 40 in a land which is so beautifully wild, in the company of my beloved wife and dog, and looked after so well (before and after) by the staff and offerings at the Flodigarry Hotel.