Hinnisdal forest roads

27 May – last day on Skye. It rained all day yesterday – heavy blustery showers, of the kind which seem to ‘merge into longer periods of rain’, as the Met Office likes to put it. Today will be altogether quieter – the wind has dropped, and I’m heading for gentler scenery, as seen from the forest road in Glen Hinnisdal. That should be ‘roads’, plural – at the start there are paths leading off to left – ‘Rathad na t-aibhne’ (river road) – and right ‘Rathad an t-seann bhaile’ (old town road). We’ll head for the old town (a few stones in the forest!) before wandering up the glen for a mile and back again, this time taking the river road to visit the magnificent falls on the abhainn Hiniosdail. Very pleasant, and definitely quieter – but there’s still some rain about.

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Keep off the rocks!

25 May (we’re still on Skye): It’s been blowing hard all day, the showers coming thick and fast – and heavy. To get caught in one would be to get soaked. Then, late in the afternoon, there’s a bigger break in the cloud – might it stay dry for a while? Let’s chance it – a leg stretch from the village hall down to Camas Mor, where the waves on the rocks could be fun… After an enjoyable half-hour or so, clouds begin to obscure the sun – there’s another big shower coming. If we walk quickly, will we stay dry?

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Rubha na h-Aiseig

24 May continued: Starting from the same place as yesterday’s walk, I’m heading in the opposite direction. At first I skirt the clifftops, with one or two rather exposed spots between the fence and a near-vertical drop to the sea. The views to the south and east are extensive – Sròn Vourlinn’s startling peak dominates the near distance; the north-western highlands form an intriguing horizon. Descending to the grassy foreshore, a very faint path leads to the ‘Ferry Point’, where once perhaps there was a connection to the island of Trodday, a mile or so to the north. Remains of a couple of black houses, and a curious gap in the stony shore where a boat might possibly have been dragged to and from the sea, are the only clues remaining.
As I wander back, in no hurry, a seal pops up just yards from the rocks to see what I’m doing. Oystercatchers flit noisily along the shore.  Butterwort catches the eye in the grassland – and someone has buried a couple of camels…

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Later that day…

23 May (continued): We’re not going to enjoy any sunshine, but will probably enjoy an hour or so on the rocks at Camas Mor – especially if the rain holds off. The air is clear; low cloud hangs over the Harris hills, brightly lit where higher cloud thins. A bulk carriers steams south through the Minch, briefly catching the sun. On the rocks, there’s lichen galore, and clumps of sea pink add a splash of colour.

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Balmacqueen and Connista

23 May (Skye continued): There are still plenty of showers around, but the afternoon looks like staying dry. We’ll take the waterproofs, just in case. We’ve walked from the small parking space at Port Gobhlaig many times, but we’ve never explored the lane from Kilmaluag to Connista – let’s try it! We’ll head along the path by the shore to Balmacqueen, then up to the main road and down to the bridge over the Kilmaluag River, whose clear peaty water looks like diluted Guinness… It’s a there-and-back-again walk to Connista – a very quiet one, with wonderful views. And no, we didn’t need the waterproofs.

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Rainy day

22 May: A wet day. Will there be any let-up? The window below sums it up nicely – apart from a few minutes around 6pm, when the rain stops. Light streams through the clouds to illuminate the settlement of Geary, beyond the Ascrib islands, around eight miles away across (sea) Loch Snizort. The little promontory at Oans is visible most days, but it doesn’t stand out – you wouldn’t know it was there. For a few minutes, the light falling through the rain brings Oans into sharp relief. Then the rain returns. Tomorrow will be better, won’t it?

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Borgh na Sgiotaig

20 May: That’s its Gaelic name. In English, it’s Bornaskitaig. Yes, we’re at our northern office, for just over a week on Skye. We haven’t chosen a very good week – a rainy spell seems to have arrived with us. The evening looks like staying dry, though there are showers around. We’ll park at the village hall, and wander around the quiet lanes through to the cliff top above Lùb an Sgòir (Score Bay…). The shadows are lengthening, and the clouds looking ominous as we head back towards the car.

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The sun goes down…

… Behind the isles – at this time of year, South Harris. There have been times when, during our stays on Skye, we haven’t seen what we would call a sunset (there have been times when we haven’t even seen the Western Isles), but this time we’ve had some clear skies and a nightly spectacle in the west. The sun sets around 10pm in these parts in late May…