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Scotland : The Isle of Skye part 2

July 28, 2014

Darling You

I have a couple of hours left on this beautiful island.

Aaah, sweet sorrow.

I must catch up on these tales for more are no doubt to come and should I get too behind….

How are you? Well? Happy? Busy? I am well.

If it was never winter in Scotland and if the government let me stay more than 90 days I think I would move here. It is so strikingly beautiful and I am well impressed. Why do not more people talk of these lands I roam? I have had a good week, mixed with the mellow and the adventure, sunshine and storms, mingling and solitude, stretching and lentils. I began the week with a visit to the Fairy Glen, which was indeed enchanting. I thought I’d best start taking some photos but do forgive me, I am not known as a photographer and am also using a busted phone so….

with that request for forgiveness…   image

I just found this this much truer photo at fairytaletraveler.files.wordpress   image It was on and off raining all day and I have this problem with the hood of my raincoat. I have a droopy left eye, and feel like I am a strangely disguised pirate with a patch. It is a little problematic and my already rough eyesight is being reduced to 50%. The sweet fairy glen are a collection of small, mossy, green, swirling hills, I think from glaciers (though I heard grazing sheep as a theory), and there were a few children clambering about having a gay old time. I hung out with the sheep and nibbled on shortbread. I ducked out of the rain and into the Uig hotel, where there was a collie behind the desk, and a flyer about a boat into the Cuillens sporting a picture of a puffin and a red deer. I wanted in.

I had a windy lunch on the step of this mini castle. image

 

The following day, Gavin of Flodigarry let me leave all my kit in the caravan at no charge while I headed to the southern part of the Island and to these famous Cuillen hills. I dropped my gear off at the hostel; pjs, a can of soup, last night’s lentil brew and Doc’s sloppy muesli a mere 6 hours before they allowed check-in but, thanks to a large Belgian crew, I was slipped the door code and snuck on in. I let the owners in on it though, frightened my pjs might disappear. I bought the soup just prior to the boots the previous day, in a healthy healthy store.

I wanted to go mad, for it was the first I’d seen of its kind since Christmas, but I breathed deeply and settled on cranberries and the soup. Haloumi was in my hot little hand but one girl can’t support both goat and haloumi so very, very reluctantly, I put it back.

The Uig hotel had printed me a bus timetable to add to my north and south Skye tables, but when I got to Broadford for the change, I discovered it was an hour out. An hour later out. I was to miss my boat, so I geared up to hitch the 20 miles to Elgor where the boats live. Lonely back roads are gems for hitching it seems, busy roads not so good.

There was Ross the geologist from Aberdeen who told me not to bother visiting, and a pair from Sheffield who had felt sorry for me. Their helmets lay at my feet and a big bit of driftwood beside me on the seat. The helmets were for when clambering up the gravelly part of the mountains, I forget what he called it. He pointed one out to me, madness. Like a ski run, made of gray gravel. And they were going up it. Madness. They’d like to move up here but he works close to home for Outward Bound and it was too good to give up. I did Outward Bound once. I was 14, and it was the first ever outdoor anything I’d no doubt done in my life, apart from a swim in the sea. With 15 other prissy little brats I remember we whined. Well, I whined, perhaps they were tougher. Doubt it though. We had to raft, abseil, cook, (did we??), and sleep under a piece of plastic they called a bivouac. I mostly remember our mockery of the guide because he wore the same pair of blue leggings the entire 10 days. You’d think we might have wondered a little about the trees and the birds, but I don’t think so. Some months later I was shipped off to the bush for an entire year. I was a good girl and I didn’t really deserve it, but it seems I came out alright, perhaps. I apologised to Mr Sheffield on behalf of all the little brats he must break in and thanked them for the ride.

I arrived as my boat was sailing (they came back in for me) and off into the Cuillens we went. They are quite a striking range, let it be said. And I asked the skipper about puffins to which he replied “St Kilda.” “Where’s that then?” I was the only lass on our voyage with a one-way ticket so I accepted their invitation to stay on board for a cuppa and some really fine shortbread. “Take another bit.” “Ok”. Best not to offer me more of this buttery gem, for I plan to roll out of this country. There was a nice Kiwi on her first day of the job and the skipper’s collie, of course.

After a raging river crossing, my shoes now in my pack beside last night’s spaghetti (I think I just discovered leek), I headed on up. It was all fairly gentle for I was on the cheat’s route, and I found a Danish family a little way up the hill with both mum and dad clutching gps machines. They led me to my path and told me of geocashing. Ever heard of it? Millions have. “Millions!” People leave little boxes “in a telephone box the size of your thumbnail, or under that rock over there,” inside which you find a piece of paper and sign it. A global treasure hunt, without the jewels. I want in. But I can’t read a map, and so I must let go of this short lived dream. Sounded fun though. Millions! They had had to circumnavigate the loch as the river I’d crossed had been too high. Perhaps it was still too high, it had been quite challenging.   image After reaching the top and down the other side, it was a good, rock hopping, stride along the belt of a long valley all along which I could see my destination 3 hours away. I met a few people as I strolled, most memorably the Japanese pair I bowed and “hajimemashite’d” to (how do you do?). I love the Japanese, they are perhaps the most interesting and odd of us all. I didn’t get an opportunity to sprout out my one other line, “o nomimono wa nani ni nasai masu ka”… as it might have been a little too weird given our meeting point. It is my very polite way to ask either what do you want to drink? or eat, I forget.

 

At one stage I heard this dreadful squealing behind me only to turn and see my first real life mountain biker. Stunned. I have never, ever. People do the most extraordinary things. It really did stop me dead in my tracks out there alone in the middle of nowhere with all those pebbles. The new shoes came in just in the nick of time. Puddles along the way and do you think I worried? Oh no, not me.   Made all the more wonderful thanks to the genius who placed all the rocks so perfectly. image

And by the way, the comb for this now very, very long hair of mine was to replace the teaspoon I’d used the previous evening. Long is a somewhat debatable description but, to need a comb? Long.

I dined on my canned organic bean soup and breakfasted on Doc’s awful muesli and, having carried all my stuff in a shoebag, life was good. No mates to speak of, for there was a large group that were a bit clicky and so I ran away.

I didn’t linger long down south as it was raining when I woke and the mountains invisible, so I headed home to Flodigarry. That afternoon I was headed to Joss’ healing loch a few miles down the track (another of the “most beautiful, remarkable and incredible things” she’d ever seen) but the bus cruised past en route and I ended up at this Old Man of Stoor instead. It began raining again as I started up and I was almost blown off the hill. Good man, made it all the more exhilarating. He is a large stone sticking up amongst other large stones. And the highest of his kind around here. Scientific explanations and descriptions are not my strong suit, I’ll get back to you with a wikipedia link one day.

Yesterday morning I was double-bus headed to the Dunvegan Castle but spotted more postcards in the post office sending me off piste again. “Where is this?” I pointed to my postcard of Neist Point as I paid for the stamps. Same bus as the castle, 23 miles from the nearest last stop. Easy hitch in, not so easy out, but I made it eventually and spent the better part of the day sitting on large black rocks by the sea reading, picnicking, and spotting my first Scottish dolphins. Super. Super. I forgot to photograph the photograph before mailing it. Oops.

Neist Point image

Image courtesy of skye-self-catering-cottages-carbost.com

I bought two tickets to the Edinburgh tatoo last night. I have only me as my friend and I’m not that large, but perhaps between now and then I might find a mate. And if I don’t, I thought I might just approach a super random on my way and say how about it?. I thought about lining up an internet date for it but a bit intense or daggy for a first date isn’t it?

And I came up with an idea for Burning Man in the shower today. I am expected to be creative and interactive. Oh dear. And crafty. Fuck. I thought I might sing Nature Boy (it is the only song I know all the words to) twice a day in the same spot. I have 20 small chandelier pieces I bought in Buenos Aires that I intend to make into necklaces (I have a standard knot up my sleeve if no teacher comes forth) and to give them to members of my audience if I have any. They’ll have to be fast, the song only goes for about 78 seconds and I doubt there’ll be much volume in it to reel them in as I’ll be terrified.

I’ve been learning it on the piano, and had a practice on this very out of tune Flodigarry gem. image

 

So farewell to you my darling Skye, you have been so wonderful. Thank you for having me, I shall miss you.

And farewell to you darling.

 

k xxo

p.s. I am waiting for the boat to take me to the Isle of Harris and, while my backpack, mattress and food bag are touring the north of Skye once more (great suggestion by the bus driver, cheers champ), I have mailed 3 pairs of shoes and one hat to Edinburgh. Here they all come now on the 57c.

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