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Monthly Archives: May 2012
The expression ‘micro climate’ is something synonymous with conversation about British weather. I’m sure I’ve used the phrase myself it but I will never use it in the same way again after our Waternish walk.
We set off reasonably early (reasonable for a holiday) with the warm sun on our backs, bright blue skies ahead and a bounce in our step, triggered by word that previous walkers on this route had recently caught sight of a basking shark from Waternish Point.
We followed a track either made for or made by the farmer’s quad bike; the origins of the track becoming more unclear as we encountered impromptu homemade bridges over various bogs, crevices and other obstacles. The cliff side farmland we passed through was vast and largely wild, with some of the largest cows I’ve ever had to nervously pass!
The walk to Waternish Point seems to be very much a ‘wing it’ walk. As you move away from the quad bike trail, there doesn’t seem to be a distinct footpath, and judging by the few other ramblers we noticed, everyone found their own path to the point – which was great, if not at times a little disconcerting!
Upon reaching the point, which overlooks the Western Isles, we sat down for some lunch and watched a common seal hunting among the rock pools below us. Having been absorbed and mesmerized for sometime by the seal, we happened to glance up and notice a thick, dark, grey, Independence Day sized cloud hurtling towards us! We promptly got up and raced off, in the vain attempt to make it back to the car being before enveloped in whatever was brewing on the now not so distant horizon…
About half way through our rush to shelter we started to feel and hear the inevitable pitter patter, and within seconds a gust of wind slammed a torrent of 45 degree rain at our backs. Within minutes this turned to hail, then sleet and then to snow! As we neared the end of our journey, cold and damp, the snow eased and blue skies suddenly appeared. By the time we made it to the car we were pretty much dry. It was one of the more surreal walks I’ve done, that’s for sure! As the Byre was on the way to Dunvegan (our next destination), we took a pit stop. A nice hot brew and more Viennese sandwich biscuits than necessary and we were off! Dunvegan and more to follow in Episode 2, part deux!
Much like popular opinion of George Lucas’ revisit to his cult classic space saga, there isn’t a great deal to write about our late-ish arrival on the Isle of Skye.
After a gorgeous but rather long drive, the highlight of which was a sighting of two wild red deer stags, we arrived in the sun soaked village of Stein. Here, The Old Byre, a small self-catering cottage overlooking Loch Bay, would be our home for the next five nights. The small but deluxe split level cottage came with everything we could want, including a small bunny that came out everyday to play on our front lawn.
We were greeted with a large cup of tea, more homemade biscuits than I should have partaken of and a friendly natter with the owner next door. Then we dumped our bags and headed straight out, only too aware that this day might be the only one when the sun showed its face!
Our first exploration on Skye involved walking down and checking out the local – the appropriately named Stein Inn, a friendly and charming pub that sits right on the loch and is a popular place to sit in hope of sighting the elusive Sea and Golden Eagles. If you are not so lucky, the very tasty Red Cuillin (Skye brewery) available on tap offers a great consolation!
And that is as far as our first Skye ramble got really! Watch out for episode two though because the second day was epic!
I had wanted to give a more detailed account of our walk on Rombald’s Moor. Though I envisage sighs of relief from friends and family as they read this opening line; I had hoped to give a more, or moor (that one’s for CB!) descriptive account of the walk that started in Riddleston, that took us past lambs just hours old, of the beams of light that pierced through the densely wooded… err.. wood, as well as the astonishing aerial display from several lapwings as they tried to divert a red kite (the bird of prey) away from their nesting area. I even wanted depict the delights had from the pint of Black Moor, brewed by Goose Eye brewery in nearby Keighley which was supped in the Crown Inn, Addingham and wasn’t bad!
Alas though, I’m off to Skye in a couple of days and do not have time to spend on such a whim! However, I imagine after 8 days wandering round the famously scenic Isle, there will be no end to the drivel making it’s way onto this site; so remember this gift of briefness when you wade through the swamp of waffle in the forthcoming posts!
And here are the Pics….