During my informative years I lived on the Isle of Wight next door to a celtic family called the 'McKays'. Geographically Donald and Adaire were as far removed from any tartan or blooming heather that you could possibly get, but you would never think so.
Every Christmas Donald would loose his trousers, hastily replaced by a kilt. He would insist that anybody crossing his homely threshold would join him in the consumption of Mould wine or Whiskey. Every New Years Eve he would throw a lavish party and insist that there were no shirkers when it came to joining arms and singing 'Auld lang syne'.
One particular year 'Mull of Kintyre' was topping the record charts which prompted multiple plays. As the whiskey bottles emptied there was an increased harmony between Makay and Macartney until the pipers entered the song .............'as the mist rolled in from the sea'.
By the time people came to leave Donald would sometimes have a tear in his eye, through happiness or sadness I never really knew, but I know he missed his homeland.
From that moment on, I felt that I had come under some strange celtic spell. I immersed myself in celtic music, literature and history. I even scoured my family tree to try and find some celtic connection - alas there were no McShrimptons.
Back then I never owned a cycle and my numerous excursions across the border were always motorised.
When I eventually decided to undertake a cycling tour my first two days were always going to be about challenges but the third set aside.
It was reserved, to satisfy some deep yearning inside me.
After having already explored the Cities, Borders and the Highlands, the Islands were always there in the background. Like a delicious desert shouting out from the menu at an upmarket restaurant.
Where you tell the waiter that you 'need some time' before its delivered.
To separate it from the rest of the meal, yet still make it part of the experience if you know what I mean.
When it comes to choosing which Island the choice was obvious - The Isle of Skye
Skye is the fourth largest island of the British Isles and the largest Island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago. Famed for its rugged landscape, picturesque fishing villages and medieval castles.
I needed no ice-cream to enhance this particular treat.
Starting from Portree we headed north along the A855 coast road with almost a cloudless sky.
To the East 'The sound of Rassay' lay between us and the island itself, with Rona and the Applecross peninsula beyond.
The conditions were so calm that the mountains became inverted within the mirrored reflection.
Arm warmers and gilets were soon discarded as the temperature rocketed up to 20 degrees, nature seemingly forgetting that it was still May.
Knowing that this data would be disputed in years, I decided that I must capture the evidence on film and laid on the cool grass of the cliff-top. Whilst I was there I spied a four leaf clover, a unicorn and saw Nessie playing with a discarded empty coke bottle. It was magical.
With rain on 223 days a year and an average temperature of 14 degrees we constantly had to question our true location which took on a dreamlike quality.
Our good fortune continued as the road was wide and fast, surprisingly devoid of vehicles, or potholes, but we were not complaining. Its undulating terrain provided fast descents and shallow climbs assisted by the inertia gained. Inland to the west are the mountains with the old Man of Storr and further north the Famous 'Quiraing'
You approach The 'Quiraing' from the curiously named Brogaig with an unnecessary ramp that reminds you of your mortality. Leaving the semblance of civilisation behind you, you are greeted by an isolated graveyard.
By this time my eyesight had become compromised by sweat from the 'Heat of this spring day'
Instead of tombstones it appeared to me as if the graves were marked by half buried cycle wheels and bidons stood beside them containing wilting 'White Roses'.
Was it a sign? I asked myself, as this unique geological amphitheatre reared up in front of me.
The Quiraing climb lasts about 4km and rises to 15% in gradient. It's not the toughest climb, nor the longest, but as far as grandeur is concerned there are few that compete with this.
It was already clear from the previous signs that day, that the climb would be fine, and so it was.
Despite the vertical challenge there would be no suffering this day. I soon reached the top singing to myself.................oh the summer time is coming, and the trees are sweetly blooming, and the wild mountain thyme grows around the blooming heather, will you go lassie go
By the time we set off back to Portree the wind had picked up............A tail wind of course - to push us home...........spooky.
The drive back from Portree to our hotel at Broadford was almost a solemn affair in the knowledge that we had just had just finished three incredible days of cycling.
We would be leaving the following day.
In 1947 Broadway hosted a new musical called 'Brigadoon'. Its was about a magical place that rises out of the Scottish Mist every 100 years and becomes accessible to outsiders for just one day.
We set off early the next day again to warm sunshine and a cloudless sky.
As we crossed over the Skye Bridge to the mainland I could see the mist fill in behind me through my wing mirror. With in minutes the Island had disappeared.
'Wheres my coat' Matt I asked 'it's getting chilly'