The far north

Rubha Hunish: the northernmost tip of Skye. We could see it yesterday, over to the west. It’s a fine morning, and if I get there soon, I should be able to park the car without trouble. Without a doubt, it’s the only way to beat the hordes. The walk to the cliff tops (Meall Tuath and Meall Deas) overlooking the Hunish peninsula is becoming popular, but not all visitors are prepared to take the precipitous route down the cliff face. The peninsula itself is wonderful – gentle grassy slopes 50′ – 100′ above the sea, with superb coastal architecture along the east side – stacks, an arch – fine views and the sound of nesting seabirds. The views, admittedly, could be clearer – it’s been hazy all week, and we’ve barely seen the outer isles. But it’s great here – just me, the gulls, a few gannets, cormorants and – was that a golden eagle?

As I approach the cliffs for the scramble back up, there are one or two figures on the headland, by the bothy, and as I make my way back along the path, I meet an eclectic cross-section of humanity. Some respond to my greeting; others look straight through me. Did I fall off the cliff and perish? Am I a ghost?

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Staffin strolling

We’ve driven here from Uig, over the bealach – past the car park for the horribly busy path to the Quiraing. There must be 70-80 cars crammed into every available space (apart from that taken by the burger van). I believe, along with several other destinations on Skye, that’s it’s become firmly lodged on the “World Top 50 Selfies” list… (what a shame!)

We squeeze past people struggling to park, and find ourselves in Staffin, for the very gentle walk over the hill and down to the shore south of the slip. Coming back up the well-engineered ancient path is slightly less gentle, but we can manage. Other than a few excessively loud voices at the slip, it’s really quiet – the only other person we’ve seen close by is a fisherman. On a fine, sunny, warm (for April) afternoon, Staffin’s shore is a great place to be.

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A quiet glen

Monday 15 April: We’re in need of a good leg stretch – somewhere out of this cold south-easterly wind. The forest road up Glen Hinnisdal could be just the thing… It may be a forest road, but much of the woodland has been cleared – there are fine views up the glen, and, on retracing our steps, down to the coast and Loch Snizort.

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An hour at Summerlee

Friday 12 April: I think it may have been longer. We’ve time to kill, and we could do with a drink – and those pineapple tarts look good… The “Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life” is well worth a longer visit than ours – the indoor exhibits are fascinating, the cottages beside the mine provide evocative snapshots of ordinary industrial-era lives – and did I mention the trams and the railway locomotives? More than 40 years ago, I saw No.9 and “Robin” when they were working for a living. Long and inactively retired (the locos, not the author), it would be great to see them restored to steam.
Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life

April sunshine

The sunshine is warm, but the air’s cold today. Fortunately, the outdoor tea area at Benthall Hall is sheltered from the breeze, so we’ll enjoy our al fresco refreshments without a shiver. The bluebell season is just beginning, the chestnut leaves are emerging (they remind me of pale green cormorants drying their wings) and the oilseed rape is brightening the fields – sunshine even when the sun’s gone in…