Saturday, 18 May 2013

Over the Sea to Skye

It seems every remote corner of Scotland is full of hardy tourists. At the little cafe on Rum, we met a young Aberdeen couple, both doctors, who were cycling around Scotland. One had previously cycled from Shanghai to Kathmandu! These are the sort of people who, undeterred by the lack of roads, bring their cycles on the ferry anyway just for the joy of a new adventure.

After meeting these stalwart souls over lunch along with a few errant sailors like ourselves, we started uphill until the trail steepened enough to give us a good view of the loch far below.

     "Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
     Onward the sailors cry
     Carry the lad who was born to be king
     Over the sea to Skye"

It seems each island we head for has its own song like this one describing the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie to the Isle of Skye after defeat by the English at the Battle of Culloden. Presented with dissipating showers and calming seas, we followed in Charlie's wake to cover the 12 or so miles north to Skye.

Loch Scavaig and the even tinier Loch na Cuilce are surrounded by the beautiful Cuillin Mountains on the south coast of Skye. Mary Anne's sharp eyes noticed from a great distance that the grey boulders on the myriad of rocks I was dodging in the entrance were all seals. They were all turned towards us, watching no doubt for navigational errors. The choice between the profusion of sea life on the rocks below and the kilometer high rocky peaks scraping the clouds above was a challenge to the eyes!

After negotiating the last of the rocks and turning behind an island, Traversay came to rest at anchor in a seemingly landlocked pond of still water.

We took our dinghy over to a tourist launch by the rocky shore where the skipper of the last boat of the day graciously allowed us the use of the steep steel stairway and offered to tie our dinghy to it when he left - thereby saving us a scramble over the boulder and seaweed covered low-tide beach.

Just around the corner from the sea-loch was a long fresh water loch surrounded by mountains. What a view! Afterwards, a convivial evening was spent in the company of adventurers (young and old) staying at the climbers hut just above our anchorage. Nearly all of this varied group of people had walked in 14 km from the nearest road with their week's supplies. They told stories - fascinating and frightening - of climbing not just in Scotland but everywhere from British Columbia to the Andes to the Himalaya!

So it seems here in Scotland there is a near perfect day to balance each awful one.

At 17/05/2013 10:53 (utc) our position was 57°11.87'N 006°09.94'W

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