Skye - 200 miles approx ..

           WARNING:  This section contains scenes of simpering nostalgia.

I arrived in Skye over the bridge rather than by ferry this missing out a few miles of coastal road. It can wait until next time. THe weather was dreadful.

Skye is one of those places where continuous criss-crossing of the Island is necessary, there are two big lumps that stand in the way of logical road layouts, and they are the rugged mountain ranges of the black and red cuillin respectively. It does not matter. Everywhere in Skye is fabulously scenic.

The main artery is the Kyle - Portree road. This road, dramatic in itself, acts as a gateway to the West coast and shortly after Broadford a right turn on to the A863 is reached. Shortly before the coast is reached another left turn, on to a  single track road, is reached and this leads to Glenbrittle. This is dramatic country, on one side views to the distant seas, on the other, and in front, the Black Cuillin, the only mountain range in the UK that demands a degree of technical mountaineering Skill to ascend even to the easiest peaks.  This road leads into the heart of the Cuillin.

Loch Brittle

Mist shrouded Cuillin from the shores of Loch Brittle

Loch Brittle is very special to the climbing fraternity and to me. It is the main gateway to the Cuillin, hosts a large campsite, and for me very special. In my formative young adult years, as a member of that mountaineering fraternity, I was to come here and

 *** Censored """  Scenes of graphic simpering nostagia.

However, Onwards Albert! More to see.

Returning back to the A863 and continuing west the small village of Struan is reached and looking West on a good day the outer hebridean islands of Benbecula and South Uist can be seen.

It was not a good day. Weather warning number 4 of the trip was coming into fruition. High winds and rain / snow. I had to turn Albert around just to be able to open the drivers door, the wind was so strong, and once out it was a struggle just to stand upright. So a view of Loch Bracadale instead.

The sea loch, Bracadale, forming a delightful little bay. Well, in decent weather it would. You just have to admire sheep, everything else was seeking shelter in terrible weather, but not sheep. Marvellous creatures.

Now heading north along the west coast is rolling, softer terrain, and glimpses between mists and torrential rain of the outer hebrides, which stood still long enough for me to get a photograph!

In fact, without the stunning views of the outer islands, and in a biting severe galeforce wind, it all became very bleak,

Reaching the tip of this peninsular, one of two that jut Northwards from the Island, something least expected. A commonwealth war grave. Here, in one of the most isolated parts of Britain, indeed in just about the furthest away corner of Britain from the trenches of WW1, lies the remains of three servicemen sent home to die of wounds, buried in the peace of a parish churchyard.

It's now necessary to return back to the A863 which now heads East back towards Portree, the Island capital. I was quite pleased about that. The exposed headlands of this bleak terrain were receiving the full brunt of the winds that were now justifying  the warning for severe weather and intermittent squalls of blinding rain and sleet made getting out of the vehicle an unpleasant experience.

Just before Portee a junction with the main north-south road is reached and turning left northwards the second of the two Northward peninsulars is reached, the road leading to the main ferry port of Uig.

Uig is in a highly attractive setting, and was on the day mercifully sheltered. It is a major communication artery for the outer hebridean islands with regular ferries to Stornoway on the isle of Lewis. Not today though. Cancelled due to high winds. Sheltered but not sheltered enough.

The ferry port of Uig, set in a beautiful bay.

At this point the road northwards ceases to be a major road but it continues, narrower and through more rugged terrain, to the northern tip before heading down the South east side back to the island capital of Portree.

Changing seascape. Open sea North eastwards.

Once more the scenery becomes dramatic as the small, delightful coastal village of Staffen is reached. Behind staffen mountains drop precipitously towards the sea. This is a rock climbers playground, one where many years ago I would come with friends, times when the Cuilin may not be approachable, and ...

 

"""  Censored ***  . She's off again. Pass the Kleenex Albert.....  censor.

 

Towards Raasay

Heading back towards Portree the sea seperating Sky from it's North-Eastern neighbour, the Isle of Raasay, narrows to a narrow channel giving striking views of the rocky and mountainous island and nature reserve.

Well, sometimes weather can interfere with fine views!

Finally, leaving Portree it is time to follow the road back to the mainland and Kyle, but not without further striking views as the other main mountain range of Skye, the red Cuillin, is passed.

The Skye super highway passing through the red Cuillin. As I was taking this picture so a sudden snow squall burst upon us and within minutes an accumulation of snow covered the road. Thank goodness for Albert's winter tyres!

Finally Kyle is reached, the bridge over the Lochalsh channel and the mainland, but not before one more stop. The small hamlet of Ashaig, a few miles from Kyle, and a look towards our next destination, the mountains of Torridon and Wester Ross.

The southern tip of Raasay and in the very distance the shores of Wester Ross

Goodbye Skye. 

These glimpses do not do it justice. Atrocious weather, violent winds gusting to 100 MPH bringing in torrential rain squalls and blizzards of blinding snow made taking every photograph a challenge. Perhaps another trip, in milder conditions, to show more of this truly magical Island.

Goodbye Skye, so many memories, so many emotions, so much meaning for me, my formative years when...

"""Censored """ ... more simpering nostalgia. Albert! Get her off the island NOW .....  censor.

Ok Ok ....  we can take the hint Sad

 

next section - Wester Ross