Study Abroad

Day 14: Fairy Pools in the Isle of Skye

Monday, June 28, 2018

For some reason, I wake up before everyone else on this trip. A lot of the time I was the first one down to breakfast eating alone. These were small pockets of time when I appreciated being by myself, because sacred moments like those were rare on this trip. An older French couple sat at the table in front of me, eloquently speaking away in their native and beautiful language as the French do. I put my four years of AP French from high school to the test and attempted to listen in. I didn’t get much, but they poked fun at each other and talked about what they were going to do for dinner that night. They were going to buy some food and cook it in the hostel kitchen. Slightly eavesdropping, I admired them. They were doing and living the bare minimum for travel and this impressed me because of their age. Usually older people are traveling with hotels and river cruises in the comfort of their retirement, but this couple was traveling, taking photos (she had a dslr) and exploring in a minimal way.

 

More people started coming down for breakfast so I finished my cereal and sipped my ginger tea as they ate their breakfasts. I was in a chipper mood because we were finally checking out of the hostel and heading to somewhere that I dreamed of having better Wi-Fi. I went back to my room and gathered my things and stripped my cot of its sheets to bring to the hostel laundry as we were instructed to do so.

After, we loaded up the sketchy buses and headed to our next Destination: Fort William. On the way, we took some time to stop at the Fairy Pools in the Isle of Skye for a few hours. This was a vast and green clearing in the area right below some mountains where a babbling stream gushed through the area. This was such a big deal because this was the day specifically that my photography professor had instructed us to bring our tripods for. He asked this of us because he wanted us to take long exposure photos, which means that the shutter speed is slowed down enough to capture a soft haze of something instead of it frozen in movement. For instance, if you’re shooting sports you want a fast shutter speed to capture that very moment, like when a player catches a ball. This is the opposite of that.

The Fairy Pools in Scotland.

I stopped at the first waterfall because I thought it was the biggest from what I could see starting the walk towards the mountain (to which I never arrived at because I was stopping at every other stream taking photos with a tripod I was opening and closing every few minutes). I caught some really great photos of it, where the waterfall turned into a layered haze. My only nitpick with this photo was the fact that part of the wall looked yellow, but I can fix this with a little editing. Other than that, I loved it.

Forgotten mitten and a scarf at the Fairy Pools in Scotland.
The Fairy Pools in Scotland (long exposure).

The drive to Fort William was filled with sleeping students including myself. We checked in to the Bay Continental, a hotel that seemed that a popular stop for a lot of older people who enjoyed the simple things like a live musician and bus tours. Our dreams were crushed when we found out that the hotel Wi-Fi was only available in public areas a.k.a the lobby and even then it was questionable at best. The outcome of this was handing in our assignments via hard drive or an extension.

In the hotel room, the girl I roomed with, Audrey, was so sweet and let me have the queen size bed. In a lot of the hotel rooms where we stayed, there was one queen sized bed and one twin bed in the room, which I had never encountered before. I was so excited that she gave it to me. Before I went to bed, I laid out my clothes for the next day, the daunting Ben Nevis 8 hour hike I had been intimidated by every day leading up to it. I laid out one pair of leggings, one pair of waterproof pants I had picked up in Inverness, one long sleeve shirt, one scarf, one fleece jacket, one waterproof jacket, wool socks and mittens, followed lastly by my trusty and broken in hiking boots.

With that, I tucked myself in to my cloud like queen bed and had the best sleep I had had in days.

 

Em

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