Trails and trials of the writer who walks
In Skye at last! It’s taken me three days to get here. Bus passes are great if you’ve plenty of time. It took around five hours of bus travel to get to Dalston, near Carlisle, for the first night’s camp. Then I travelled to Fort William, making use of the Scotrail Club 55 offer (a return ticket to anywhere in Scotland for £17) and camped at my old favourite, Glen Nevis. Finally I took the train to Mallaig and the 4 o’clock ferry to Skye. When it arrived, it unloaded six cars and fourteen foot passengers. I noted that the waiting drivers had to reverse their vehicles down the slipway and up the ferry ramp. If I ever return with my car, I’ll be using the bridge. No way am I going to show up my complete inability to reverse in a straight line.
I chose my hostel, the Flora Macdonald, because it’s the nearest to Armadale Pier. I could have walked the two and a half miles, but there’s a bus to meet the 4 o’clock ferry and the driver knows exactly where to drop me off. The hostel is clean, modern and well furnished, but oh so cold! Only the bedroom has the luxury of a heater which is capped at 50% of full power (most of which is sucked straight out of the window just above it) and timed to switch itself off after half an hour. You have to push a button to get another half hour, so there’s no chance of any overnight heat unless I can master button-pushing in my sleep. The kitchen and shower are an endurance test, the shower providing 10% warm water and 90% glacier melt. I brave sticking my head under to speed-wash my hair but the rest of me will have to make do with a ‘wet wipe’ bath.
On a map in my hostel, someone has written ‘beautiful sandy bay with dolphins’ near the Point of Sleat, (the most southerly point of Skye). This sounds like a good camping spot, and a plan for tomorrow’s walk.