I can’t remember an afternoon that involved an uninterrupted hour of reading, a nap, a bubble bath, ‘afternoon delight’ and a movie. All before a five-course supper that, had I not been spared in the night, would have more than sufficed for my last. But we spent our Christmas Day on the Isle of Skye thus.
We woke to a clear, frosty lakeside view. After opening presents, and filling our bellies with bucks fizz and a cooked breakfast we ventured out into the rugged and freezing landscape. Highland cattle with their comical hairiness and fluffy docile sheep bid us good morning as we drove past on the way to Neist Point Lighthouse. Braving the steep, iced-over steps to get down to the valley, was worth the spectacular views of the sheer drop to the sea below. The landscape on Skye is breathtaking: jagged peaks and bizarre rock formations, coral beaches and vast inky lochs. And the light is almost translucent, fluid; the sun hung so low, the pink sky after dawn lasted for the few hours of daylight. The solitude was marked (we left our laptops and mobile chargers at home, the cell signal was scratchy at best). The snow and ice dulled every sound.
Christmas Dinner was a.maz.ing. The menu was plucked wriggling or rustling from the surrounding land – sustainable farming at its very best. So, for the foodies: I had a starter of ‘Seared Breast of Wild Mallard from the Isle of Muck with Tattie Scones, Braised Red Cabbage & Quince’ followed by ‘Charred Fillet, Shredded Shin & Tongue of Lochalsh Beef with Rosti, Celeriac Remoulade, Totaig Kale, Pickled Onions & Walnuts’. We shared a bottle of ’07 Ata Rangi Célèbre. This was interspersed with two small courses (the details of which escape me now). But I do remember I finished with Christmas pudding and brandy cream. By the time we waddled the mercifully short route back to our room, we groaned a bit and then fell into food comas.
This was repeated for three days. My arse now resembles the back of a black cab. And it was so fucking worth it.