Spring is approaching the Inner Hebrides in a very haphazard fashion. Just when a blue day comes along and you get your hopes up, the rain moves swiftly in accompanied by harsh winds and gloomy skies. I know I've written about the changeability of the weather up here in previous posts, but you quickly learn an important lesson: be opportunistic.
These sunny, clear spells require decisive action. You grab a coat and boots, gloves and camera. And a hat. Sunshine up here does not, just yet, equate with warmth.
Skye has a main road running right around the coast, and one or two through the middle of the island. Many, though, are single-track affairs which take you off to smaller villages and settlements before rejoining the main road further along.
Now and then we'll take a little detour, just to explore these lesser-known places. Some are out on small peninsulas, others just strings of houses or a handful of scattered crofts. You might find unexpected woodlands or small beaches with breathtaking views out to sea.
Not far from here is a place called Harlosh. It's signed up from the main road, and a few weeks ago we took a drive though. I immediately earmarked it as a place for a solitary walk and sure enough, last week I honoured my promise to myself and went there.
It's an open-feeling place, almost prairie-like with vast yellow fields and gentle hills. I wandered along the quiet road as the breeze sent ripples through the long grasses. There's a plantation of willow trees, and marshes filled with tall reeds, bleached and brittle after the cold winter.
Little vistas too: glimpses of rooftops beyond dark firs (and beyond that, the sea). Washing dancing on a line by the cliffs. A solitary bench on the shore, perfect for a bit of quiet contemplation.
I then took another detour towards a pebbly cove and found a wonderfully weathered old boat with its layers of paint peeling away: blue, white and red.
It always interests me, noticing my personal response to different scenery. Much as I like the stark, dramatic moors further inland with their streams and heather, clusters of rocks and herds of hardy sheep, deep down I prefer a gentler landscape. Lowlands with trees and interesting verges. Plants and wayside flowers; the green rosettes of foxgloves and sulphur-yellow coltsfoot.
There's diversity in the land here. The north of the island is dramatic with stormy beaches and huge cliff faces. In contrast, the Sleat peninsula in the south is known as 'The Garden of Skye' and we're planning to visit this weekend.
There are lots of places here which people like to tick off their 'to visit' list: the Fairy Pools, the Coral Beach, the Old Man of Storr, Neist Point lighthouse, the Talisker Distillery. Living here year-round, we get the opportunity to take the roads less-travelled.
By talking to other island-dwellers, you're made aware of lesser-known walks and things to see, like rows of waterfalls with pools deep enough to swim in (one for the summer). Paths through fir forests. High-up places where the eagles circle above.
And sometimes, if you stray from the road and give yourself a little bit more time on the journey home, you make discoveries all of your own.