Naomi Slaughter Photography » Naomi Slaughter Photography is a fine arts portrait photographer based in Indianapolis.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget March 14. We spent the day driving from Uig (northern tip of Skye) to Cairnryan, where we dropped off the rental car and hopped a ferry over to Belfast. It rained a lot and most of the day was spent in transit, so nothing too worthwhile to report.

March 15: We left Belfast this morning with the new rental car. Getting on the correct motorway was a bit of a challenge. They don’t seem to have any four way stops here, everything is round-abouts, but they’re so large that you can’t see the whole thing or all the exits, and they have traffic lights in and around them. After a few wrong turns and one car honk (thank you for the help!), we made it onto the correct motorway and were on our way.

We drove up to Giant’s Causeway first, which is a coastal area with ‘pavers’ or hexagonal stones and columns were created by volcanic erruptions. It was very neat, especially how flat and uniformly shaped they are. It was very cold and windy, and we struggled to get some good pictures since there were lots of tourists and some school groups about. We had lunch at a nearby hotel and I ordered a steak sandwich. They literally brought me a steak between two pieces of bread (and with some greens and tomatoes and sauce). It was good and very filling. After, we drove by the nearby Dunluce Castle and took pictures from the road, but didn’t stop to tour it.

On to the Dark Hedges! This is a tree tunnel of Beech trees, planted in the 18th century, along a little country road that is so peaceful and serene. You feel like you’re standing among sentries. Tractors kept passing by, hauling fresh manure. Mmmm. A lot of Northern Ireland smells like farm.

Finally, a 4.5 hour drive to our host in Galway. The roads in Ireland are very very easy to drive compared to the Highlands, and they have this neat half lane on the outside of each side that’s meant for tractors and big trucks to ride in so you can safely pass them! Very cool. We pulled off for a picture of the farmlands here and walked down this little path, only to make a new friend! He was very friendly and searched us for treats. Also, stop lights here go from red to yellow to green to give you warning before going. Both of our rental cars automatically turn off when you are at a complete stop and start again when you release the brake, so the extra warning is very nice. Our host, Edle (pronounced Adele, like the singer), is very nice and sweet and gave us loads of recommendations for Galway tomorrow while she made us tea.

Get ready for photo overload.

We started our day by exploring the nearby Fairy Glen. It had very conical hills and circles of little rocks. Sheep wander out there freely, and you have to drive slowly since they cross the road at will. The roads are barely wide enough for one car, but there are little layways to pull over if you see someone coming. There are lots of potholes and tight curves with blind spots, but we did fine. We drove down to Uig (pronounced You-ig) but no places to eat brunch were open. So we kept driving south to Portree, where we had a proper Scottish breakfast of sausage, black pudding (what I previously described as a hockey puck), a fried egg, baked beans, cooked mushrooms and tomatoes, hash brown, and bacon. After brunch, we drove past Storr and stopped to hike a little. We really wanted to hike Quiraing, but we couldn’t find it! Thankfully, a police car drove by and was kind enough to give us directions.

Quiraing fills you with awe. You want to stand in one spot to soak in the great vastness of these highlands, and yet can’t stop hiking the trail for that next view, that next discovery, that feeling of complete and total amazement. You are in a timeless place, where only the wind and weather determine change. You are nothing compared to these giants, and so find an overwhelming sense of gratefulness for your tiny existence, for the opportunity to experience and immerse yourself in a place that has prefaced you for thousands of years and will continue on long after you pass. Your worries and petty little concerns in life simply fall away in nature’s presence.

The wind was crazy strong with gusts around 50 mph or more. When it was to our backs, my coat felt like a kite that pushed me along. Eventually we reached a point where the path was about a foot wide (maybe) and on the curve of a very steep cliff with no safety rail or handles…and the wind was pushing very hard near that spot. For safety (and common sense), we decided to call it day and head back. Walking against the wind on the hike back was so comical! We were hunkered down, taking itty-bitty steps and barely able to see from our watery eyes and noses. It was a blast and I loved every minute.

Back at the Cowshed, our hostel, we did our laundry and managed to cram both our loads into one. Hey hey, the front desk lady suggested it, boasting on how big the washers were. They were about half the size of my washer at home, but they did a great job! We had dinner at a nearby hotel and it was very good. I had the linguine with haddock, mussels, and lobster in a white sauce. When I asked for a lemonade to drink, the waiter brought me Sprite!