Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Skye - day 12 - Loch Coruisk

Loch Coruisk, Skye
after paying £48 in the portakabin we join the queue for the Bella Jane to Loch Coruisk - a close up view of The Bad Step before docking - surely a leftover set from Journey to the Centre of the Earth - huge, whale backed rocks - a velvety quiet - everyone splits off to find their own rock to picnic on - a place to savour - stilton and walnut scone back at Elgol cafe - they "open as and when, depending on the weather"

Eilean Glas, Skye

Eilean Glas
A seal stand in Loch na Cuilce where the more famous Loch Coruisk empties itself via the Scavaig river.

Eilean Reamhar, Skye

Eilean Reamhar, Skye
The small lumpy rock in the foreground, ill-photographed on the way out after visiting Loch Coruisk.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Skye - day 11 - Camasunary & Elgol

Camasunary, Skye
a perfect natural sculpture by the burn - at last, THE CUILLINS - dark, rugged and brutal - cliff hugging path to Elgol - closed shop (school run), no refreshments

Monday, 28 September 2009

Skye - day 10 - Armadale Castle

checking out the view from Armadale Castle
a morning dose of the definitive Holmes on TV - Sherlock not Eamonn - wordy, dull museum - nature trails - lichen cloaked trees - welcoming (dry, warm) Baronial Hall for food - reluctant exit to the rain

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Skye - day 9 - The Marble Road

braving it on The Marble Road
hard rain, strong wind - roads become rivers - water explodes from the ground - T empties a cupful of water from each boot - back home: tea & Drifters - read Ralph Storer's excellent book on Skye

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Skye - day 8 - Broadford

craft huts by Broadford old jetty
cleaning, packing, moving - brain disconnection & lattes - a missed stop and a long double back - a hard drinker in a leather jacket with a Thai girlfriend - lilac breeze blocks & electric blankets - a collie that catches stones in her teeth - opera at full volume in a Scottish crafts shop on a rainy afternoon

Friday, 25 September 2009

Skye - day 7 - Dunvegan Castle

photographing fungi
10:15 bus to Dunvegan Castle - a grey block on a rocky outcrop - monkey puzzles & fungi - a creepy prison, Fairy Flag, St Kilda photos and a horse hair noose - seal covered islets

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Skye - day 6- Sligachan to Am Mam

weather indecision - rain clearing from 10, excellent visibility - no chance - desolate Sligachan crossroads - trudge uphill through a foggy corridor - loose, flat pebbles and running water beneath our boots - ginger grass - "shame about the weather" - on top, the view is erased by mist and rain - returning, the back's turn to get wet - more camping warnings: "three people in the last week have been found dead up on The Tooth" - cosy Caledonian Cafe - two burgers, two apple juices, sat in our two black fleeces

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Skye - day 5- The Quiraing

Loch Langaig, Skye
looking south from The Quiraing
a clear, undulating path through nature's adventure playground - wonder reveals itself in stages - lunch beneath a hovering kestrel - a winding road past berried rowans and a supplicant dog - the tiniest public toilet in the world - Staffin's brilliant village store with one, last, dark chocolate Bounty - waiting, sat on the floor of a wind blown bus shelter

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Skye - day 4- Loch Cuithir

ruined croft house
Loch Cuithir
the brown and white ribbons of Lealt Falls - walking at angles into the relentless wind - sheep, heather, peat, water - Loch Cuithir embraced by the ridge - a sleep inducing bus trip around the peninsula

Monday, 21 September 2009

Skye - day 3- Talisker Distillery

locals on the bus
rain: distillery - cloudy bus windows - packages neatly bundled with bungees - bus driver as paper boy - a dram while you wait - the smoothest 10yo we've tried - wet walk to the jetty - physical breakdown in the distillery - NHS Direct - the quietest, emptiest hospital in the world - a wild, stormy walk home

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Skye - day 2- Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr
no buses, no plans - impulsive taxi to the Old Man of Storr - a minor disagreement over road quality - THE VIEW of Macbeth's Scotland - hikers, dog walkers, foreign students in acid shorts - a loose scramble in high winds to look down on the Old Man - a thorough soaking on the road to the power station - a cautionary tale about camping on cliff edges

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Skye - day 1- Portree

Portree, Skye
stormy start - bags heavier than ever - rainbow as we cross the bridge - bus to Broadford - scenery to Portree equal to Lord of the Rings - awe and intimidation - ham & pea soup

Friday, 18 September 2009

Eilean Ban, Skye - day 3 - Eilean Donan

morning over Loch Alsh
Eilean Donan
Glorious dawn over Loch Alsh - watch a seal while eating breakfast - visit fairy-tale Castle Donan -  Dronie - final loop of the island    

Eilean Tioram

Eilean Tioram
A whorl of land near Eilean Donan.

Sheep Island

Sheep Island
A small mounded tidal island in Loch Long.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Eilean Ban, Skye - day 2 - Kyleakin & Plock of Kyle

outside the cottage, Eilean Ban
inside the Eilean Ban lighthouse

Up at dawn - otter feeding in the dawn light - Barbara the warden - Kyleakin - walk along the seaweed to Castle Moil - foiled by the ladders in the lighthouse - tartan and poetry in Kyle toilets 

Eileanan Dubha

Eileanan Dubha

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Eilean Ban, Skye - day 1 - arrival

over the Glenfinnan viaduct
beneath Skye bridge
Glenfinnan viaduct - lochs, castles, mountains and moors - quality fish & chips at Mallaig - coffee with a sea view - arrival at Eilean Ban - midge attack - sunset behind Stevenson's lighthouse - magical island

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The journey to Glasgow

On the Caledonian Sleeper
Start of a 25-hour journey - 20p to visit the worst toilet since Trainspotting - people on the tube staring at our his and her's outdoor outfits - lulled to sleep by the click, click, click, click of the train on the tracks