Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wednesday April 30th - Fairy Glen and the edge of the world.

The day started out beautifully, a few dark clouds that soon faded away. I had several hours to kill until the 2pm ferry, so left the tent behind and headed for Fairy Glen.

Fairy GlenFairy Glen is one of those wonderful little secrets that you won't find signposted on marked on the map, I'd seen references to it on the internet with no real idea as to what was there, just talk of how magical it was.

It was a few miles away from the town and I had to ride all the way around the bay, up a fair bit and then up a fair bit more after I'd turned off the main road. It was worth the climb. I reached the top of the hill to find myself looking down into a valley full of little natural hill formations covered in sheep. It was pretty unique, not a soul in sight, interesting scenery, beautiful day, nice sheep... but I didn't see any fairies.

I returned to the campsite, showered (Scottish campsites are so much better than French ones when it comes to getting a decent hot shower and it's fair to say I probably smelled better on this trip than the last one) and packed away. I stopped at a cafe in town for all day breakfast (nothing special) and boarded the ferry.

Fairy Glen Sailing to the Outer Hebrides felt a bit like sailing to the edge of the world, or at least to a remote rocky outcrop on the edge of the Atlantic. As the bloke on the campsite had predicted the weather had cooled down and it was now becoming windy and overcast.

At Tarbert I found a mobile signal for the first time since I'd arrived, so stopped to call dgym. As we spoke, raindrops started to fall. By the time I got off the phone, it was pouring. I had planned on getting to a campsite a few miles down the road but, as the Rock View Bunkhouse conveniently appeared as I rode through the town, I suddenly failed to see the point.

I've never been convinced about hostels... well, I've only ever stayed in one and that was pretty awful but this one was OK. The kitchen facilites were a bit old and in some cases broken, and the decor a bit outdated, but didn't have bare electrical wires or things growing in the showers or even obnoxious Dutchmen making loud phonecalls at 2am.

There were only two other guests that night, Laura and Jack, two travellers who had met up a couple of days previously. Both were getting around by public transport. Laura was born in the USA but had been travelling for 20 years. From what she said, I concluded she was in her fifties, although she looked much younger. She was a Muslim (although not born so) and her hijab had attracted mockery almost as soon as she set foot in Oban. She was hoping to reach Edinburgh the next evening, and going to Doncaster after that. Jack, an Aussie who I estimated to be in his late sixties, wasn't sure where he was off to next.

I had sardines on toast for dinner, toast being a rare luxury for the regular camper. Somebody had left the toaster on one of the many "black" settings so I managed to smoke out the kitchen, conveniently not setting off the somewhat dubious smoke alarm.

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