Monday, 18 April 2011

ghost riders in skye 2

loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
thunderclaps rend the air,
baffled, our foes stand by the shore;
follow they will not dare.

Well, we got there.  Harvey took us to The Isle of Skye and got us back again.  Skye's about 650 miles from here so that's a lot of driving.

We left last Monday morning about 5:15 am and drove up to Loch Lomond.  We stayed there for the night and had a real "The Trip" style meal and headed off through the Glens of the West Highlands and finally got to Skye late Tuesday afternoon.  Of course, you can still speed on a bonnie boat over the sea but we drove sedately over the bridge. I've always wanted to go there but never seemed to have the chance before.  It really is a wild place.  The sun was with us for most of the way but occasionally we drove through brief downpours of light rain. We pitched up over looking Loch Dunvegan. Being very tired, we had a fairly early night.

Then, about three in the  morning, the heavens opened.  It was like being a child on caravan holidays on the East Coast all over again! The constant pattering of rain on the roof.  The wind howled and rocked us about because the site we were on was so exposed.  A constant knocking from the hook up cover helped make sure we didn't sleep much.

The following morning was as grey as we thought it was going to be, so we thought that the best place to be was the Talisker Distillery - it was always going to be a part of the trip! It was an excellent visit but driving over the millions of potholes probably messed up the balance of Harvey's wheels.The trip round the distillery took an hour or so and, of course, I had to get a bottle from the shop. As the weather was so awful that day, it was quite busy. They've missed a trick, though - a restaurant would have been useful. Because the weather was so poor we decided not to walk down to Talisker Bay. As it's so barren up that area there was little else to do so we drove around the area - hardly sightseeing though, we couldn't even see the Cuillins whilst parked next to them! Later that evening we had a fantastic meal in the village next to our site.  It was probably the best meal I've had for years.  Mrs Dave had a piece of lamb that literally melted in your mouth while I had langoustines from the Loch.  Six of them, in most places you'd only get three.  This was for a measly sixteen quid - excellent.  Some Scottish cheeses to finish off and we wandered off back to our bed.

The following day was totally different.  The weather was pleasant and dry.  We took the opportunity to go to the "coral" beach up at Claighan.  Although it's called coral, it is actually made up of maerl, the calcified remains of a type of seaweed that grows in beds off the coast.  Breath-taking views - a golden eagle flew just over the van as we got there.  It was well worth driving out there. We went back to the site as we weren't sure about the weather, had lunch and then did the Two Churches Walk around Dunvegan.  One of the churches is now in ruins but is the traditional burial grounds of the MacCrimmons - the pipers to the Macleod Clan.  Five Macleod chiefs are buried there too.  At the top of a hill overlooking the loch is the Duirinish standing stone.  This was put up to commemorate the Millennium and it has a time capsule underneath for future generations.  Unfortunately the plaque has already gone, so most people don't know what it's there for.

The following day we had to start the two day drive back.  There was a panic as Harvey's water temperature started climbing up.  We stopped and added water and engine coolant and it was fine for the rest of the journey.  The only other injury was a cracked casing around a wing mirror, but the mirror was still intact.  There are a few problems with a leaking pipe around the waste pipes but hopefully that can be rectified soon at vast expense, no doubt.

The weather since we got back has been beautiful - we probably chose the wrong week to go but never mind.  We'll be returning soon for a longer trip.

On the way home I read this upsetting story in The Independent (here).  I love my Flip!  I use it all the time now - why is it that in this world where everything has to multitask* can't simple, basic one-trick ponies be left alone?  So-called Smart phones are anything but - mine's rubbish and as soon as my contracts up I'll be looking for a much more basic model. Anyway, get one while you can, I bet Amazon will sell out almost straight away.  Most schools use them now.  They're brilliant.  Even technophobes like me can use them.

* Still taking two bottles in the shower with you?  Why not take just one that's a shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, shower and toilet toilet cleaner and limescale remover all in one?


Andy Wright said...

Glad you seem to have had a good time and that Harvey did actually behave himself!.Although the island where my brother has his flat (Cumbrae) is clearly nowhere near as isolated as Skye (it's only 12 minutes by ferry from the mainland) it has a similar remoteness and there really is something very special about being on an island. In the case of Cumbrae it is pretty easy to ensure a feeling of isolation by simply walking(or driving if one must) to the other side from where the mainland is not visible (although the Mull of Kintyre is!) Heaven.
Ps Word verification = 'cronier'. I suppose if we saw more of each other we would be 'cronier'?

Dave Leeke said...

I certainly seem to get more and more cronier as I get older! I remember when the BBC first started making the "Grumpy Old Men" series - the kids told me excitedly that "they've made a tv series about you!"

Glad to hear from you, Andy. Hope you're keeping well.

We stayed up on Loch Fyne a few years ago and travelled across to Islay. All these places I loved the sound of were as exciting as I thought they'd be.

Shame about the midges, though.