18 April 2019, and we’re still on Skye. We had a most enjoyable walk during the afternoon – see “To Rubha na h-Aiseig“. Now we’re watching the sun go down. I would say “behind Harris”, which is perfectly true, but it’s been too hazy to see the outer isles today.
On this evening, a year ago, we arrived on Skye. Ten years earlier, on 14 April 2009, we left, for a leisurely drive home – taking the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig, then driving down as far as Inveraray for an overnight stay. Look what’s tied up at the pier – it’s the Vital Spark! Para Handy’s in town!
13 April 2009: still on Skye, taking a trip down to the Braes area south of Portree, for a walk onto the Àird peninsula. As we approach Portree on our return journey, there’s an interesting-looking vessel in the harbour, worth a closer look. It’s “Hebridean Princess”, a small cruise ship which started life as MacBrayne’s “Columba”, operating out of Oban.
13 April 2020: Stretching our legs, we pass fields where seed was being drilled just a couple of weeks ago. Today, those same fields are greening rapidly.
2007: A day trip to north Wales. We thought we ought to visit Llandudno, for a trip on the cable-hauled Great Orme tramway (taking the tram up, then walking back down again). While we were up, so to speak, we thought we could go down the mine – the remarkable bronze-age copper mine, all the more noteworthy for being open to the public. We finished our day with a brief visit to Penrhyn Castle, where we just had time to look at the wonderful collection of ancient industrial steam locomotives.
2009: Another great Skye day, with an outing to the coral beach beyond Dunvegan. Later in the day, a clear sunny evening was perfect for a walk along the road to enjoy the warm light and the sunset behind the Western Isles.
More “on this day”… Today, on a warm and sunny afternoon, we’ve had a pleasant short leg-stretch, walking from home. On 11 April 2017, I enjoyed a walk with a friend, beside the canal at Audlem. Eight years earlier (11/4/09), we’d arrived on Skye, and visited Rubha nam Brathairean, an attractive little rocky spur on the east coast of Trotternish. It was quiet then, but in recent years the minibus tours have found it, and we were greatly outnumbered last time we visited. I suspect it’s as quiet today as it was in 2009 – if not quieter.
Friday evening: the end of the day and almost the end of our trip. The sun has shone from an unbroken blue sky all day – we’ll watch it set in the gap between North Uist and South Harris, during a tranquil hour which will serve me well during the next couple of days. Tomorrow we’re heading for Edinburgh – a relatively pleasant and easy drive; on Sunday we’ll head for the border and the joy that is the M6. There may be times on that journey when I’ll need to think back to these moments.
The pictures, which are in chronological order, need no captions.
…the visitors have frightened them all away! Friday: a walk up to the Fairy Glen near Uig – with the emphasis on “walk”. The first time we visited this curious and fascinating landscape in miniature, we had the place to ourselves. That was perhaps getting on for 40 years ago – now it’s firmly on the tourist to-do list (remember to pack the selfie stick!). Driving up there is not to be recommended – parking is limited and potentially boggy, and then there are the adventure minibuses to contend with. But between the passing cars it’s quiet and a pleasant walk – and much easier to take in the scenery and the ambience.
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Not a day for walking – instead, we’re driving round to Dunvegan, for a change of scene and a look at the seals. There’s still some showery rain over the hills as we look over the loch from the east side, but it’s getting brighter by the minute, and when we explore the little dead-end road beside the western shore, sunshine predominates.
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Wednesday: it’s misty and damp here, on the western side of Trotternish (as seems to happen fairly often), but just a few miles away, at Staffin on the eastern shoreline, it’s much clearer, with the odd sunny spell. There are showers about, but we seem to escape them. We walk over the hill from Staffin to the slip and the beach (beware of minibus tours!), then along to the rocks, before heading back over the hill to the car, to drive around the coast to the fog and gloom.
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Tuesday: Port Gobhlaig. We’ve walked many times from here, following the shoreline northwards to Rubha na h-Aiseig. Today we’re starting from the same parking place, around the other side of the bay and up onto the cliffs, above a wonderful selection of stacks and the odd cave or two, to end at the old RAF radar station high above Bagh nan Gunnaichean. Returning, we follow the main (single track) road as far as the Balmacquien lane, which takes us back to that little white house out on the point, from where we retrace our steps to the start. What a spectacular stretch of coastline!
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