Wandering the wild wet and windy Scottish Isles and Highlands


We left Oban by ferry once again on a misty rainy morning……what a surprise. The ferry was busy on board and noisy. A group of twenty somethings dressed as pirates were on a day out to celebrate a birthday. They had a huge array of laconic with them and the songs got louder and bawdier, but a nice enough bunch just having fun. We found a great pitch facing the water just a few minutes from the ferry, so given the weather was VERY wet, windy and damn cold we walked back towards a little pub we saw on the way in. The door was closed and it looked deserted but we stepped inside and BAM ….. the place was jumping with seriously loud Scottish music and THE BLOODY PIRATES. So much for a quiet Sunday afternoon pint. Fought my way to the bar through the happy pirates ….no swashbuckling swordfights required, just a firm elbow and shoulder here and there, bought a pint of lovely real ale, hand pumped and a large wine (250ml per glass mind you)and  returned unscathed to a small room on the side. One of the buxom young girls noticed Amanda across the pub and started shouting “I know you” from the ferry we assume and suddenly we had 20 odd very dear pirate friends for the next couple of hours lol.

The two who became bussom buddies were Alana the fishmonger from Oban and little Sailor Moon , the gay Uni grad who spent a fair chunk of the time crying…. daren’t ask why!!! A couple of hours later when the party was in full swing, we had a friendly visit from the local constabulary who reluctantly posed for a picture all orchestrated by the bossy Jack  Sparrow, (Alana the fishmonger from Oban,) we ended up having a very entertaining couple of hours. In fact Amanda was having such a great time, I had to drag her away kicking and screaming…..lucky I did because her little headache the next morning could have been a whole lot worse. Guess which one is Sailor Moon. By the way don’t let the blue sky fool you it was 9 degrees and Sailor Moon was wearing hot pants. Someone wake me up please!

Jack Sparrow & Sailor Moon

While we were in the pub we met the caretakers of Dhuart Castle a young couple with three boys, who were originally from Melbourne. Gave us a few tips and a history lesson on the castle too. ….. So when we walked there the next day we didn’t go in because Al Pal said we knew all the info lets go to the tearoom instead ! 

Duhart Castle in the distance

Isle of Mull is well known for its Flora and Fauna amongst them Otters and Golden Eagles etc . We saw the eagles but not the otters although our next door neighbor sighted 2 earlier that day on the same route as our hike to the castle. We did have a surprise of our own back at the campsite , we were sitting having a drink overlooking the water and we turned around and said mmmm that’s different the couple next door have an Owl sat with them at the table ha ha ha. So needless to say 5 minutes later we had been formally introduced  to their pet Eddy … Our friend Eddy the Owl

Tobermory


we drove into the fishing port of Tobermory and enjoyed another fish and chip lunch. Maybe not quite as good as the ones in Yorkshire, but the seagulls went hungry.cute harbour… Tobermory perfect spot for our Fish and Chipsstunning views aboundAnother day and another ferry crossing onto Ardour and a drive up to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis the highest point in the UK at 1,345 metres.  So next morning bright and early we headed up, and up and up, unfortunately Amanda wasn’t feeling great and had to abandon about half way up. It took me almost 5 hours round trip and my knees took some serious hammering. Sadly the summit was shrouded in clouds and rain and the temperature plummeted to a very cold 1 degree centigrade. A few pictures below here show what it’s like at the top. BLOODY MISERABLE lol (good choice Amanda)
another crossing from FinnishBen Nevisgreat campsite with views of Ben NevisThe calm before the storm.happy camper at the foot of The Ben

Third of the way

And up


The weather started to close in quickly.

At the top 😊


And glad to get to the top, cold wet and a wee bit tired.

The local ferret memorial plate


Next morning we headed off to Skye and stopped at Neptunes Steps, a set of  eight lochs raising the canal by some 19 metres. We stopped in the pouring rain and watched a couple of very cold and wet boaties taking their boats up the flight. Better then than me as it takes about 90 minutes to complete. It was built in 1803 by Thomas Telford and is the largest staircase in Britain.A special mention to the coffee shop here, The Moorings…this is the only coffee shop ever to charge us for one coffee because we ordered two half strength ones !! 😉 Torrential rain, so only caught a glimpse of the iconic castle Eilean Donan the bridge connecting the mainland to Skye, which we used instead of the ferry.

We stopped in Sligatchen and spent a very bleak night inside Pinot with a nice bottle of red for company before making our way into Portree where we visited a little museum of Crofters cottages. A quick walk around the area while it was clear. Anyone for whiskey mmm … I’ll pass… Al Pal was tempted.gorgeous walking at the base of the Cullins mountains.pity it rained so much would have loved to explore more.These guys must have been seriously tough to eek a living out of this land. The drive through this area is absolutely stunning and whilst we wanted to do some hiking, my calves were so bloody sore from Ben Nevis, I needed a few days r and r 😫The photos give some idea of how gorgeous the area is.

Portree

Life saving fund raising day in Portree …lovely spot

This drive was amazing pity Al’s legs were so sore … but also the parking was extremely tricky on the single roads.

The Quirangs ..

Coffee stop in Pinot before we tackle the single track up the pass

cute little mobile bank

Just a few of the ferry crossings ..

Duvegan Castle

Think Al had had enough of the gardens


The ferry to the Outer Hebrides (Harris and Lewis left at 5.30am, which meant we had to be in the ferry queue at 4.45, so the ticket guy the previous day told us to park in the queue the night before and wild camp on the docks, so after a not so great meal at the local restaurant we did just that, and at 4.00am the hustle and bustle of cars, trucks and campers woke us up and the day started with a bang. The ferry services run by Calmac are bang on. Turnaround is brilliant. The ferry cost was £150 and worth every penny. They really are well run.arrived bleary eyed ..in Tarbert.happy … very!two little cuties.pity about the rain … these pics do not do it justice.

sadly when we arrived at around 7.00am it was smashing down AGAIN and we made the decision to cruise in an anti clockwise direction around the bottom Of Harris. All single track roads with  no room for error, no traffic lights, no signs and few other vehicles. Love it!move me ? Another family out for a stroll… no rush.

it took about 2 hours to travel around South Harris and we’ve never seen countryside quite like it. Very low rolling hills interspersed with hundreds of small lakes. Really quite eerie and yet so special.

St Clement s church and the tomb of Alexander Macleod

such a pretty church.

wild camped on a beach near Uig and had a glorious walk around a really fantastic bay. This place really is very special and hopefully the pictures give you a small appreciation of just how beautiful and isolated this area is.

I am there somewhere on the bridge

this place was gorgeous even with the black clouds above.very moody.did not want to leave …Just metres from where we camped, a man found the now famous Viking chess pieces. ( The Lewis Chessmen). There were a total of 93 pieces found here and they come from Trondheim Norway and were made in about 1150. The majority of the collection are now on show in The British Museum, although a small number of pieces are held in a tiny museum in Stornaway a few days later. Beautifully carved in walruss bones.

We only had a few short days on the Island but managed to see as much as we could. Below is a couple of pictures of the Callanish Stones, a Neolithic monument not unlike Stone Henge, with a few major differences. No entrance fees, few people and isolate. That translated into a fabulous hour just wandering and imagining what these 50 standing stones represented. These stones were erected here 5,000 years ago. They were here before Bob Hope, Stonehenge or the Pyramids of Giza. Really special opportunity to just wander amongst this place.

From Callanish it’s just a short drive to a museum village of Black Houses of Gearrannan. These homes were abandoned in the early seventies and are now a museum which gives you a taste of how life was on these islands last Century. Another cracking experience and the sweet smell of Peat fires burning as we wandered through the village. The walls of these houses are usually 1 metre wide and I can understand why given the wind, rain and temperatures. Such a pretty setting …look at the thickness of those walls.

Local artisan weaving Harris Tweed.. this machine cost 30 pound a hundred years ago, a replacement well over a 100,000 nowadays

Al Pal warming his bum .on the peat fire

 

Another little gem was the Duncarloway Broch which is an original building from almost 2,000 years ago…… wow and we were allowed to simply wander around this building and absorb all it offered. This was a particularly special day for us and capped off with a special couple of hours in the Butt of Lewis ( The windiest point in Great Britain) and believe me it was HOWLING !!!!another life is good pose …Aww…..nearly blew off the side.Pinot was a rocking here! Answer : The Butt of Lewis

the beaches along this section of coast are spectacular …. sorry about all these superlatives but it really is very special. The picture below show how clear blue the waters are but don’t be fooled, it was seriously cold. A wonderful day of ooohs and aaaaaghd and a great way to finish our time in the Outer Hebrides.wild camping among the heather ..

And a rainbow to top this Magical adventure off … for you Fiona xx

Stay tuned for the next instalment … love to all. X

Categories: Uncategorized

3 comments

  1. Hahaha Sailor Moon. You’ll be glad to know I read it all
    and thoroughly enjoyed it :p

    Like

  2. Oh brings back great memories it is a truly stunning part of the world. Doing it on a bike was too quick need to go back and do it like you guys. xx

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: