Portree and the Trottenish peninsula
Daily total: 103 miles
Today we headed for the capital Portree for a look round. After a lazy start to the morning we were there in time for a walk down to the harbour followed by elevenses.
The town is very pretty, but was really busy with tourists from all over the world. We shared our cafe with Japanese kids and Australian pensioners. After a sunny morning we got hit by several showers, so spent some time looking round the Portree craft market.
Eventually, tiring of that we hit the road north towards the Trottenish ridge and the world famous Old Man of Storr pinnacle. Joining all the other cars in the car park at the bottom, I girded my loins and hoisted my camera rucksack and tripod and set off up the steep track through the woods. Well that turned out to be not a lot of fun. Logging work was underway and that combined with the recent rains left the track very muddy indeed. It was like climbing a 2-mile sloppy staircase. When, after 40 minutes, I reached the clearing at the top of the woods and saw the zig-zag climb still ascending more steeply than ever, my spirit was crushed.
But it was only I was joined by two entire coach loads of Japanese youths that I felt I had had enough and turned and slithered my way back down to the car. The Storr can wait for another year when I am better prepared (and have someone else to carry the tripod).
From there we continued north towards Staffin with the plan of circumnavigating the entire Trottenish peninsula. It wasn’t long though before we were drawn off road by the sight of Kilt Rock. A series of sea cliffs, folded and pleated, reminiscent of a kilt plus a waterfall into the sea for good measure. Very nice.
Heading north through Staffin and round the tip of the peninsular, suddenly we were confronted by the sudden appearance of hundreds of pebble towers arranged by the side of the road. Some strange and collective compulsion had caused people to build these all in the same place. I had seen a dozen or so together at Waterville in County Kerry last year, but not the sheer profusion there was here. It was an amazing sight!
From this point we wound our way back down the other side to the ferry port of Uig. This is where the ferries for Tarbet in Lewis and Lochmaddy in North Uist depart (and indeed is the shortest crossing to the Outer Hebrides – under 2 hours, unlike the 4 and 5 hour marathons we endured in the spring). Where there’s ferries there’s usually refreshments, but these looked particularly unexciting. Nevertheless we managed a cup of tea before heading back out and completing the journey home.