Fort William to Lower Milovaig, Isle of Skye
Daily total: 137 miles
We were up early this morning to beat the coach trippers also staying in the hotel. That didn’t work too well because they were up early too. Turns out from the ‘bonjours’ and ‘merci’s that they were all French. What the poor sods made of Fort William I cannot imagine. Anyway, we headed off out – the plan had been to take the cable car up Aonach Mor in the Nevis range but the clouds were obscuring the peaks of Ben Nevis and neighbouring mountains so we swept on by – no point in paying £11.25 each for something you can’t see (you can take the man out of Yorkshire…). Turning on to the Kyle of Lochlash road just after the Spean Bridge, we stopped at a monument to the Commandoes of WW2 largely because of it’s commanding views over the Nevis range.
In the car park we were joined by Micheal and Margaret Mart and their Model A Ford, “Phoebe”. They were driving from John O’Groats to Lands End and back again in their 1930 car to raise money for charity. Seemingly with the roof down too, despite the constant heavy showers! The downpours interspaced with sunshine meant that we were constantly being surprised by rainbows all day – in fact we gave up counting at 14, they were appearing so thick and fast.
From the monument our first proper stop was Eilean Donan Castle, which of course is about the most instantly recognisable castle in Scotland. We had a look round and dodged the showers in the cafe, but soon headed off towards the Kyle of Lochalsh and the Skye Bridge. Because we were fairly early, we made a wee detour to the village of Plockton. This village is famous as the setting for the TV series “Hamish MacBeth” but it’s also a tourist magnet for being a very pretty village. We waited out a heavy shower in the car for 10 mins, then walked around the village in the sunshine. Wendy was amazed by the many types of plants growing in the well-tended gardens. There were palm trees and many varieties of plants growing much further north than you would expect to see them – obviously the effects of the Gulf Stream really can be felt here. From Plockton, it’s just a short six mile hop to the Skye Bridge which of course leads over to the Isle of Skye. We decided to push on across the island now to our cottage as we wanted to get settled in before tea. It’s a bit of a yomp with the first 3/4 of the trip being on fast, ‘ordinary’ A-roads. However, at Dunvegan you turn on to a single track road that seem to be getting narrower and narrower.
Eventually, seemingly with the land running out and nothing but sea ahead, the sign said Lower Milovaig and we could see Croft Cottage on the hillside. From the cottage front windows, directly ahead we can see over Loch Pooltiel to cliff top waterfalls on the other bank. Looking left, the faint outline of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides is visible. If you catch it at the right time, you can spot the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry scurrying to and fro from Lochmaddy to Uig, further along the Skye coast. It is frankly beautiful.