Rowe Lane and Holdgate

A bright autumn afternoon, on the very quiet lanes in this attractive part of the county. It’s warm in the infrequent sunshine, but the air’s cold so we’ll keep moving. There’s plenty to see – a couple of red kites, two herons (one doing aerobatics!), an escaped heifer making off down the road at Holdgate (did it really enter the field behind the church, closing the gate behind it?), the usual uninterested sheep and a smattering of assorted mushrooms and toadstools. And cakes from Tigger’s Ickle Shop too! What more could one want?

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Kilmaluag coastline

Friday 21 October: A short but interesting walk beside, and above, the sea. There’s a path, though it’s not always very distinct, from the road corner near Kilmaluag old churchyard to the ruins of the WW2 radar station. It’s not on the tourist trail, so it’s quiet – I didn’t meet anyone else. The views are extensive – from the eastern shores of Lewis to the north-west Highlands. The path continues some way towards Flodigarry, but I’ll save that for another day, and head back along the road.

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Fairies and Elves

Thursday 20 October: We’re still on Skye, and the weather on Skye is still… Barely a breath of wind. We’ve taken the car down to Uig, and we’re walking through the woodlands beside the shore, then up what was once a quiet road to what is now one of the most-visited places on the island – the Fairy Glen. We won’t battle it out on Castle Ewen with the selfie-snappers – but we’ll enjoy the reflections in the pool. The little patch of woodland nearby is wonderful – dank, green and mossy-bouldery with some amazing lichen growing on the trunks and low branches. Not sure about the fairies, but there could be elves amongst these trees…

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By Loch Langaig and Loch Hasco

… to Sròn Vourlinn I will go (to the tune of “Tangle o’ the Isles” perhaps?)

Wednesday 19 October: It’s a fine, bright afternoon, perfect for the hills. Sròn Vourlinn is not a particularly high hill, but its shape is impressive, the view from the top is extensive, it’s in an astonishing area of impossible pinnacles and ridges – and being about a third of a mile beyond the range of most visitors, it’s quiet. Really quiet!
The path up past the two lochs meets the popular tourist path from the Uig-Staffin road in a rocky hollow, and suddenly there are numerous other people. Some of them are noisy – don’t they understand? Why are they here? Ah – I see. It’s so they can take selfies. From the convergence of the paths, the way climbs to Fir Breugach, where there’s a slightly awkward rocky step onto the main ridge. Here, most of the others seem to turn back along, and up, the ridge. Some will continue the way I’m going, but they only seem to go as far as the first (and possibly slightly higher) summit of the Sròn Vourlinn ridge. Then they take a selfie, turn around and head back again. Beyond this point, I’ve got that final third of a mile to myself, and at its northern tip, I’ll stop, sit down and take it all in (along with a square of chocolate…). This place is far too good to hurry!

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Bornesketaig cliffs

Tuesday 18 October: Duties done, I’m allowed out. Taking the car as far as the village hall, I’m walking along quiet roads to the grassy clifftop, where there are no paths, but the way is obvious… In the clear air, the hills of Harris, around 25 miles distant, seem closer than usual. Like my Flodigarry walk, I’ve got this little part of Skye to myself (and the sheep)

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Flodigarry shore…

Sunday 16 October: Stones and seals! Silhouetted against the southern horizon, I thought they were rocks, until they began to wriggle…

We arrived at our ‘northern office’ yesterday, after driving more than 300 miles, from Dunbar to the northern end of Skye’s Trotternish peninsula. I need a leg stretch – I’ll aim for the shore near Flodigarry. The route down to the sea is clearly marked and easy; the shore itself is very stony – bouldery for long stretches. It would be easy to turn an ankle, and there’s no-one else around. So progress is very slow – just under a mile taking just under an hour! Admittedly, I stopped to watch the seals for a while. Ascent from the shore isn’t easy either – the ground is steep and uneven, to put it mildly. Possibly one of the longest short walks I’ve done for many years! Nevertheless, it’s been a most enjoyable outing, just what was needed after that long journey.

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Lyth Hill

As a hill, it’s barely there – the highest point is only about 170m (less than 600ft) above sea level. As a viewpoint for the south Shropshire hills, especially those around Church Stretton, it’s a grandstand! The grassy and almost level top is popular with dog-walkers, but down past the venison farm and along the unsurfaced track through Exfords Green, it’s much quieter. Returning by the pine-topped hill towards Lyth Bank, the views are opening out a little towards the west, to the Breidden hills and the Berwyns beyond.

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Dudmaston and Comer in October

It’s another fine, bright and breezy autumn day – warm in the sunshine, cool in the wind. We’re walking through the Dudmaston Hall grounds, out through the fields of the asparagus farm and into Comer Woods. There are lots of cars parked at Dudmaston, but there don’t seem to be many people out and about. Are they all in the tea room? (On this occasion, we’ll never know)

Dudmaston NT

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