Today I would reach Skye, which would be another milestone for me. I drove to Kyleakin on Skye, which was the old ferry crossing point before the Skye Bridge was built. I then caught the #917 Inter-city bus service back down the road to Shiel Bridge. I had not pre-booked a seat on the bus, as is normally advised, because of the short journey. I originally intended to cycle back down the road, but because the road was so busy I decided against it.
I would be walking on road all day along the very busy A87, with a multitude of cars, lorries and motorbikes coming and going in both directions. I got off the bus at Shiel Bridge and set off down the A87 walking on a footpath that ran alongside the road for much of the way. There were some sections where I had to verge-hop, but generally it was ok. As I passed the Kintail Lodge Hotel, I walked through a small herd of feral goats. There were warning signs to motorists and this apparently has become a local hazard, I counted about 20 of them. I crossed over the River Croe and passed through Inverinate, shortly afterwards the footpath stopped. Fortunately, the verges were reasonably wide. Often when I have drive down this road alongside Loch Duich I have been slightly confused which direction Skye is, however, since identifying the hill Beinn na Caillich on Skye, this has ceased to be a problem.
I noticed on the map a minor road which ran parallel parallel with the A87, however, the road climbed quite high with twists and turns, so I stayed on the main road, traffic and all! Just before the small village of Dornie I passed the restored and iconic castle of Eilean Donan, the car park was packed. I wondered if this castle was the most photographed in Scotland? I decided that this honour probably went to Edinburgh Castle. I crossed the bridge over Loch Long and turned left down a minor road through the hamlet of Ardelve, that gave some respite from the almost incessant traffic of the main road. Unfortunately it did not last too long and I was soon back on the A87. At Balmacara I popped into the Spar shop to get myself a coffee and some cool drinks. As I sat drinking my coffee on the lochside I could look down Loch Alsh to the Skye Bridge. I could also see where the Sound of Sleat (actually Kyle Rhea) emerged into Loch Alsh.
I passed the Donald Murchison monument and was totally underwhelmed that a monument could be erected for someone who collected rents for an absent landlord. I could now see Kyle of Lochalsh and I picked my pace up. I crossed the railway bridge and looked down on the station, a train was waiting to depart back up the twisty ‘turney’ route across to Inverness. I continued along the approach road to the bridge and passed by where I remember the toll booth was originally sited. The views from the Skye Bridge were amazing especially down Loch Alsh and out west across to Raassy and Northern Skye.
At the first roundabout I turned left and headed into Kyleakin.
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 18 miles
Total distance = 3,781 miles