Posted by: natsevs | July 26, 2010

Carbost to Dunvegan

I woke up feeling well rested for once then went about making eggy bread for breakfast. As I found myself in an empty kitchen I may have borrowed someone else’s milk for cereal but in my defence the shop only sold 2 pint cartons.

When I made myself set off it wasn’t a great day but the rain held off for at least 10minutes. I did pop into the shop again but only for some chocolate which was polished off straight away. I was banking on a shop in Struan to stock up properly. At the loch head, I left the road on a supposed path over to a farm track. That went through a river, not over it, that was in quite heavy flow and there were no stepping stones. I carried on with soggy feet past the farm and was made to go up the hill to meet the road again.

I was slightly hindered by a fence that I went to climb over only to find with my hand firmly gripping the wire that it was electric. I backed up and got over a nicer bit and had a really steep climb up. At the top, the path disappeared but I carried on parallel to the road in boggy fields before heading diagonally over to it. Almost there I was blocked by a river forcing me over another electric fence.

The road was much easier although boring. I arrived at Struan at 2ish and there was an outdoor shop (selling outdoorsy stuff, not a shop outside) so I went in there to get a replacement for my leaky water bottle. I asked the guy where the shop was and he told me it was only open Fridays and Saturdays. It was a Monday. The nearest one was Dunvegan, two scheduled days away but he sold flapjack. I got a few of them, then he said the garage might sell some things. When I got there they had mars bars and cans of coke and that’s about it but it was better than nothing.

Disappointed but not surprised, I carried on along the main road then turned off to Ullinish along a loop around the headland. From Cabost to Ose I was off road on a vague path then there was a single track road around the Harlosh peninsular. I came off that to walk right on the shore on the way back down the other side in the hope of spotting a camp spot. It ended up that I went right to the loch head as I saw a hotel sign and thought it may be a pub hotel. That would have been perfect given my food situation but unfortunately not it wasn’t the case. The woman was kind enough to fill up my water bottle though. I camped in a field along the other side of the loch, and was relieved to hear from Internet research at home that Glendale had a shop, I was due to pass by there Wednesday morning so could take a little detour.

On top of the rain there were some very odd noises outside overnight. The rain carried on as I packed up and set off along the front. I came in at Greep towards Orbost then south out of Orbost onto dirt track and path. This started off through forest where the whole Scottish midge population seemed to be hiding from the weather.

Out of the woods the path carried on parallel to the coast, through a valley and round the headland to Macleod’s maidens. These are a group of stacks out from the headland and were impressive to see. Unfortunately the path from then on was non-existent. The map showed it right on the coast so maybe it has fallen into the sea. The whole 10 miles of it.

The combination of no path, gales and rubbish terrain meant progress slowed from then on. There were also loads of annoying river crossings resulting in my feet being yet again soaking wet. It was not going well and the rain was gradually getting worse. Vague tyre tracks took me inland a fair bit round a hill and left me really lost. The bog became pond pretty much.

I was seriously depressed and going just a little bit crazy. When you start shouting at the wind and Skye and Scotland in general in the middle of nowhere, it’s a good idea to pull yourself together. I didn’t do that just yet though. I finally came through a gap to hit the the Largill valley and some slightly better walking. For about two minutes.

I came to a proper river and just walked straight through rather than risk being blown off half submerged rocks. There were loads of cows on the other side huddled together looking almost as miserable as me. There was no path up the hill but I finally came to a track taking me to Ramasaig.

The wind was now beyond serious though and the rain was lashing around. Walking along the road I realised I wasn’t going to be able to camp tonight and decided I would walk into Glendale and find a b&b instead of heading towards Neist point. When I told mum my plan she said she’d look up b&b’s there. The first one she rang said they would come out and pick me up. So as I was approaching Borrodale their son, Paddy drove up and rescued me. Getting into the warm car I realised I was freezing. The B&B was called Glenview and us owned by the Gibsons. Some of the nicest people ever. They sorted me some tea of pizza and chips, dried my clothes for me and were generally lovely. I sat downstairs chatting with them most of the evening.

I slept really well then had a cracking breakfast so felt well recovered when I was ready to head off. I got a lift back out via the shop. Because there is only one road out to neist point, Mark said he’d take me out there and I wasn’t going to argue. It was ridiculously windy out there again as I got out of the car. Along with all the help they gave me they also didn’t charge me and I couldn’t believe it. It was another of those moments when you’re faith in people is restored slightly.

I walked out to the point along with a few tourists braving the weather. At the point is a lighthouse then walking beyond there are rocks sticking out into the sea with stone stacks all over them created by Druids. They definitely added to the prettiness in my opinion.

Once back up to the car park I started off along the road through Waterstein. I came off over a boggy bit to Milavaig then got to the coast proper and followed it round the head of loch Pooltiel. There was a bit of road around the head and I stopped for a roadside wee only to see someone in the next field who waved at me. I decided to pretend I hadn’t seen them in embarrassment.

Off the road out on the headland the walking wasn’t too bad at all. There were generally tracks around and the grass was nicely sheep cropped anyway. The waterfalls were still being blown upwards rather than down by the wind but at least the rain wasn’t around. I hada long steady climb as the cliffs got higher up to the point where I was at the start of a steep climb to the top of Skyes highest cliff, 1000+ feet up. The wind was already pretty serious and I was steering clear of the edge. As I neared the top I was being blown around the hill rather than getting up it. I got as near as possible then dived into the tiniest of dips to get some shelter. I left my bags there and crawled my way to the top to get a photo. Up there I had to hold onto the trig point to stay stationary.

Heading back down was easier and all downhill to the head. Once round that there were loads of gullies and streams to cross culminating in one big one I had to come right in to get across before reaching Galtrigill and the road. I was then following the road for the rest of the day past delights such as the folk and piping museums. I had my radio in for most of the day unsurprisingly. I got to the campsite at Dunvegan just before 7 and set up my tent in as sheltered a position as possible. Along with the wind the rain was still coming in bursts so I cooked in the porch of my tent and settled in for the night.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: