Trails and trials of the writer who walks
Today I find myself covering 11 miles along the A851 to get to Broadford, and not a single bus passes me! I least I’m not missing any. Without any mobile signal, I haven’t been able to research a bus timetable (it turns out that there are only two a day, to meet the Armadale ferry). Most of this walk is tedious, except for the charming design of the bridges, but there is little traffic: probably just those ubiquitous artists hurrying back and forth to stock up on brushes and oils from the mainland. For some of the route, an ‘old road’ runs quietly parallel, so at least I can stop for an al fresco urination in privacy and make myself a brew.
Coming towards the first junction, quite close to Broadford, is the sign for the Gaelic College which is a few miles north of Armadale, and offers courses taught in Gaelic. They also do short learning breaks. I really fancy a residential course to learn a bit of Gaelic (or ‘garlic’ as I overheard it dissed by some young English visitors).
There is also a smaller sign advertising a nearby activity centre where you can do a bit of ‘axe-throwing’ apparently.
The Backpackers Hostel in Broadford is very comfortable with the best mattresses I’ve ever seen in a hostel and lots of free wi-fi. Suddenly it seems too much effort and time to attempt to get further north on foot or by bus, and so I decide to take two nights at Broadford to do a circular walk tomorrow (half road as usual, the track is another coastal cul-de-sac) and then head for home on Wednesday. There is a bus (yes! One of those big things with lots of wheels at the corners!) that runs all the way from the north of Skye to the Kyle of Lochalsh and carries on to Glasgow as if it didn’t know how to stop. It’s run by Scottish Citylink. It’s a good seven hours plus to Glasgow, mind you. I’ll be getting off at Fort William. Stagecoach also run local bus services, but you need to be in Portree to get to anywhere else.
At the hostel, there are just two English guests among all the overseas students. Like me, they are both silvertops, and both come from within 15 miles of my home village. One of the gentlemen is a railway fanatic and photographer. The other is a permanent hostel-dweller. He is currently staying in Skye for several weeks but is making plans to move on to India and beyond. It makes my camping exploits seem very tame.
The weather forecast for tomorrow is pretty dire. Britain has the sort of weather that can do all the seasons in a day, but the Highlands do them in an hour.