Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Monday April 28th - Skye

I started out on the A87 from Kyle of Lochalsh, over the bridge to Skye and then along the eastern coast towards Portree, the island's capital. Huge logging trucks thundered past on the single carriageway and I managed to scare the occasional sheep into running away from me - unfortunately when sheep run away, they often do so quite slowly in a straight line directly ahead of you, and are happy to do so for a considerable distance.

After a couple of hours of weak sunshine, the weather took a turn for the greyer again. Curtains of white mist descended over the Cuillin hills, obscuring what would otherwise have been a wonderful view.

Grey skye

As first days go, it could have been better. There's often a morale drop near the beginning of a tour, you wonder why you're doing what you're doing, you miss the comforts of home, and the distance yet to be covered is vast and intimidating, but it doesn't normally kick in on the first day.

I reached Sligachan after 25 miles, damp and downhearted. There was a campsite by the loch, it was closed but there were four or five tents parked there anyway. I suppose with land access right being what they are in Scotland, a closed campsite just means closed facilities. I sat down in the doorway of the toilet block to shelter from the drizzle that had just started. The weather, the traffic and my own lack of fitness had been getting to me.

After about 15 minutes I decided I'd had enough for the day so started testing various areas of campground for squishiness (result: mostly quite squishy). I'd just picked a slightly less squishy spot when I glanced up at the horizon and noticed a promising white light and hint of blue in the general direction of Portree. Hooray! Exactly the morale boost I needed. I abandoned my camp plans and set off again. My legs were hurting but after a couple of miles it was downhill all the way to Portree, where I camped just beyond the town.

Dinner was buttered macaroni and local smoked mackerel fried with onions, which was surprisingly tasty.

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