Friday 19 April: After the excitement of Rubha Hunish, a quiet hour or so down by the pier at Uig. The ferry departs for the outer isles, and a working boat ties up.
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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It’s become a favourite – super coastal scenery and lots of space, and no-one else around. Rubha na h-Aiseig is very nearly the most northerly point on Skye – beyond the little island of Trodday, there’s just the sea, all the way to the north pole…
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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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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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Sunday 19 August: At last, some decent weather. The clouds have cleared, no rain is forecast, the wind’s dropped. We’ve had a reminder in the past few days that Skye is full in August. There are huge numbers of visitors, who struggle with the single-track roads in the north of the island – especially those in hire cars, and as for all those monster camper vans… There are some very popular destinations up here, but if we avoid them, we should be OK. So we’re walking from Port Gobhlaig, along the very quiet coastal path to Rubha na h-Aiseig, and our companions will be the sheep and the seabirds. If the tip of this grassy promontory was a few yards further north, it would be the northernmost tip of Skye – and probably more popular. But wait – what’s this? As we walk back towards the start, there are two other people! How dare they? (Why are their voices so loud?)
Tomorrow we’re heading for home. Reminder to self: avoid high summer in future.
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Saturday 18 August: we’ve been on gardening duties all morning. This afternoon, we need to go down to Uig to pick up supplies – we could have a leg stretch too. It’s a grey afternoon, but the rain seems less likely. The waterfall on the river Rha is a good start, then we’ll follow the shore path to the river Conon – and walk up the road as far as the Fairy Glen. The once-quiet side road is now busy with visitors, who struggle to park when they reach their destination. On foot, we can simply enjoy the scenery.
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