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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Wednesday 18 October: a quieter day – the wind has dropped, it’s dry, and it’s mostly dull. There’s no drama in the lighting, but we’ll take the camera anyway, for a walk up the Hinnisdal forest road. We need a leg stretch, and there’s a good surface here, all the way to the ford – which today is unfordable. The stepping-stones are submerged in October. We’ve walked far enough now, and though we’ll be retracing our steps, the views are different.

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A golden hour

Monday 16 October: the remains of hurricane Ophelia are turning the sky a strange colour further south. Here, it’s just grey, showery and very windy – it’s not fit to stray far from the car. We make a false start in Hinnisdal, before heading towards Dunvegan. At Edinbane, we turn around and take the side road to Fanks, timing it nicely for a gap in the cloud. Suddenly, there’s a little golden islet in loch Snizort, though it’s not quite aligned with the end of the rainbow.  The scene before me is wonderful, though once again I’m struggling to hold the camera steady. Little more than half-an-hour later, the sunshine has gone and we’re back to dull, grey landscapes. And the wind.

Glen Hinnisdal

Sun. 30 April: the circular walk that wasn’t… Glen Hinnisdal cuts deep into the Trotternish ridge, a few miles south of Uig. A surfaced road links scattered houses on the north side of the river; to the south, it’s paralleled by a well-graded and very walkable forest track. Much of the forest has been felled in recent years, though there is still some untouched woodland at the end of the track, just beyond the river crossing. If we follow one of the rides down through the forest, we can perhaps get across to the north side and walk back down the road. No chance! At first it’s just plain difficult, very wet under foot – but then we come to an area where trees have been blown across the gap, and now it’s impenetrable! We have to retrace our steps. A golden eagle flaps away from the tree tops yards from where we turn – wow, he’s big. I don’t think many walkers have been here recently.

The views are, of course, subtly different on the way back – instead of the ridge, we’re now facing the Waternish peninsula across Loch Snizort, with Macleod’s Tables beyond. We’ve come here to try to avoid the cold easterly breeze – and now the wind’s dropping, and there’s more blue in the sky. We may not have achieved what we’d intended, but it’s been very pleasant.

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