You arrive on the Isle of Skye to a soggy blanket of low-hanging clouds that show no signs of moving. Views of the Cuillin mountain range are smothered in grey and you can’t find the trailhead that leads to the Old Man of Storr because the distinctive ridge has been swallowed whole by the fog. This isn’t just fog. It’s a dense, uninterrupted cinderblock sky that sucks the life straight out of the landscape. You side-eye the Visit Scotland brochure lying on the dashboard and wonder how many days the staff photographer had to hole up in a Portree hotel to capture a dramatic sunset over the harbor.
What do you do now?
You suck it up and hike the Quiraing.
The freezing wind at the beginning of the trail gives way to rain, which becomes a ten-minute hail storm, which turns briefly into snow before dissipating entirely. Luckily, the trail is easy and well-trodden, even in the mud. A precipitous ledge or two increases the heart rate more than the negligible elevation gain. The ocean in the distance keeps you moving in the right direction. Eventually, the waterlogged greens of the alien landscape grow subtly more vibrant. A patch of blue sky, torn unevenly from the bank of clouds, is heading your way. It passes over. The sun comes out.
The sun might come out for twenty minutes in all of three days, but if you keep the faith and hike the Quiraing then it might just come out at the right moment.