229. Skye: Glendale to Skye: Dunvegan

I had a slightly better nights sleep in the back of the car, however, the rain returned about 5:30 and I thought here we go again! Fortunately that was it, a single rain shower for the moment. I had dropped my bike off close to Dunvegan Castle and proceeded onto Colbost where I parked my car near a bus stop. I then set out on foot to follow the road up and over into Glendale.

I left the B884 and headed through the nearby hamlets of Glasphain and Feriniquarrie. After about a mile I followed a farm track to some farm building which I walked around. The track continued but veered away from the route I intended to take. I took to the open moorland, initially following an ATV track and then seeking out the higher, drier and firmer ground. I was heading for the Marilyn Biod an Athair (314m) some 3 miles ahead, over open and gently rising moorland. I headed to the left of the rounded top of Ben Skriaig and continued over the moor. Biod an Athair finally came into view about a mile away and I moved onto much shorter well-cropped grass that the sheep had cut back.

Looking over Glendale
Heading north towards Biod an Athair
Biod an Athair in the distance

I arrived at the trig point and looked over the edge about 1 metre away. I had seen many other pictures of these highest sea cliffs on Skye, but looking down from these cliffs in the flesh was an exhilarating and thrilling experience. With a firm breeze blowing out to sea I could not get a really good look, so I lay down and peered over the edge. It was a thousand feet down and is Skye’s highest sea cliff. Crikey, it was high! I managed to take a couple of pictures, but it was very difficult to get a sense of the height and dramatic effect in a single photo. I wish I had brought my ‘selfie’ stick or borrowed Trekpete’s drone. I looked out for the eagles that frequent these cliffs but could see none.

I then headed due east to Galtrigill, following the Galtrigill Burn. I passed through a small ruins and other small circular stone remnants that I could not identify. I finally reached the end of the public road at Galtrigill, which is the most popular starting point for the ascent of Biod an Athair. The rest of the walk towards Dunvegan would be along roads. After chatting to a Crofter in Galtrigill I set off down the road, amid intermittent rain showers. The road passed through the settlements of Borreraig, Uig and Husabost before rejoining the B884 road. I continued into Colbost with its Folk Museum and onto Skinidin. The road was very busy, with many destined out towards The Neist.I eventually turned off the B884 and continued in to Dunvegan, passing the Kinloch campsite where I had camped two nights ago. I located my bike and rode back to Colbost.

Biod an Athair
The Scorgruim below Biod an Athair
Looking back to Waterstein Head and Glendale
Looking to north Dunvegan Head and Ardmore Point on Waternish
Heading down to Galtrigill
Strange circular structures near the settlement above Galtrigill
Heading south towards Colbost
The Giant Angus MacAskill museum Dunvegan

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=24264

 

Distance today =  18 miles
Total distance =  4,089 miles

 

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228. Skye: Sligachan to Skye: Broadford

It was a terrible night at the campsite. People kept arriving way after 10pm, it wasn’t rowdy, just very very busy. With children, dogs, constant arrivals and people talking till after 12 I knew I would not get a good nights sleep. In the night the weather took a turn for the worse with heavy showers, thunder & lightening and very high winds. At 05:00 in the morning I put my head out of the tent, it did not look good. I decided to wait until 08:00, it had been raining constantly and the winds had not abated. I decided that I would not spend a second night at the campsite, even though I had paid for two nights. I tuned into the radio for a weather forecast, unfortunately, it was a bit vague for Skye.

My initial plan for this day had involved a modest hill ,but along exposed sea cliffs, which  I then decided against. So I drove down to Sligachan and made the decision that if the weather was going to be bad, then I might as well get a boring road section out-of-the-way. I opted for the Sligachan to Broadford section, a walk predominantly along the A87 (with a minor diversion along the way). It was a section that I was not particularly looking forward to because of the traffic; however, as  this was a Sunday there would be considerably less HGV’s..

Within  30 minutes of setting off, the weather miraculously brightened up, the rain stopped, the wind subsided and the sun came out. Suddenly, it was very hot! Although today’s walk was ‘road walking’, very little walking was done on the road. Because of the incessant and constant volume of holiday traffic I spent the majority of the time walking on the verge. When I reached the Raasay ferry terminal at Sconser I checked the bus timetables on the side of a bus stop for my return journey from Broadford. Worryingly, there was a difference between the timetable on the side of the bus stop and the printed Stagecoach one I was carrying. Hmmm…. I continued onwards and soon came to my diversion away from the main A87 down a minor road passing around a large headland and through the hamlet of Moll. I met very few vehicles along this road which mainly served a quarry and a fish farm.

Looking towards the Cuillins from Sligachan
The Cal Mac ferry arriving from Raasay with Dun Caan visible in the distance
Heading down the minor road towards Moll
Looking down at the jetty at Moll

The road followed the coastline around into Loch Ainort. The sun was very hot now and I had to ration my water consumption as I had only started out with one litre. I was also now becoming conscious of the discrepancy in bus times, which could potentially see me stuck in Broadford for a couple of hours. I continued along the A87 passing through the hamlets of Luib, Ard Dorch, Dunan and Strollamus. I should say that I had not brought a map today, knowing the road reasonably well; but I could not be sure exactly how far I had to go to Broadford. As I neared Broadford I picked up a forestry trail than ran alongside the A87. I was quite alarmed to see the #52 bus heading back up the road to Portree, which meant my timetable had a misprint or was out of date. Fortunately I saw there was an Inter-city  #917 bound for Uig at 15:50.

Looking down Loch Ainort towards Belig (l), Garbh-bheinn (l of c) and Marsco (r of c)
Old salmon Farm on Loch Ainort
Looking across Loch Ainort to Beinn Dearg Mhor (l of c) and Glamaig (r of c)
The hamlet of Luib
Looking down Loch na Cairidh with the Isle of Scalpay left
Old bridge over The Allt Strollamus
Here for the night near Lonmore

When I reached Broadford I immediately headed for the co-op to get stocked up with water and other drinks. I managed to get on the #917 and the air-conditioning on the coach was lovely! At Sligachan I called my daughter and asked  her to check the weather forecast for the following day, which turned out to be ok. This meant the following days walk was back to Glendale. I drove towards Glendale and found a quiet pull-in area that had a great view and a gentle breeze – I decided to stay there the night and sleep in the back of the car.

Because I had been putting in additional miles, I had filled the gap from Broadford back to Kyle of Lochalsh. This meant my last section on Skye would now end at Sligachan.

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=24263

 

Distance today =  22 miles
Total distance =  4,071 miles

 

 

227.Skye: Ollisdal Bothy to Skye: Glendale

It rained quite heavily during the night and the accompanying high winds made sure I would not get a sound nights sleep! At about 02:00 I heard a loud bang which had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up! I thought maybe the outside  door in the next room had blown open. I had to investigate. Fortunately, there were no Banshee’s and the front door was still closed. I took a quick look outside and could make out the lighthouse on Oigh-Sgeir many miles to the south.

I went back to sleep and awoke at 05:00 and made myself a coffee. I packed up, gave the bothy a sweep and made an entry in the bothy book. By 06:00 I was away. Although dull and overcast it was dry. I made a direct line for the cliff line in Glen Dibidal where I managed to pick up a path. The views out to the Western Isles were excellent with South Uist being very prominent. The path came and went, but I knew my overall direction. Some times the path took a quite exposed route above the cliffs, where a trip or fall could have a bad outcome. After passing around a couple of steep ravines I dropped down into Lorgill. I had camped here in 1976, but can remember little. There was much evidence of early settlement in Lorgill with numerous houses in ruins and many Lazy Beds. Like many other parts of Skye, Lorgill suffered greatly during the clearances. The Glen was cleared on 4th August, 1830 and this was the message read to the people who lived there:-

‘To all the crofters in Lorgill. Take notice that you are hereby duly warned that you all be ready to leave Lorgill at twelve o’clock on the 4th August next with all your baggage but no stock and proceed to Loch Snizort, where you will board the ship Midlothian (Captain Morrison) that will take you to Nova-Scotia, where you are to receive a free grant of land from Her Majesty’s Government. Take further notice that any crofter disobeying this order will be immediately arrested and taken to prison. All persons over seventy years of age and who have no relatives to look after them will be taken care of in the County Poorhouse. This order is final and no appeal to the Government will be considered. God Save the Queen.’

I left Lorgill on a good track to Ramasaig, another village cleared along with Lorgill. Only a single house now remains at Ramasaig, which sits at the end of the public road. I followed the tarmac  road which rose steeply above Ramasaig; although not in great condition the route did provide me with a quick route to pick up the bicycle I dumped the day before.

Looking across The Little Minch to North Uist
Entering Lorgill
Leaving Lorgill
Heading towards Ramasaig with The Neist Lighthouse visible
Looking north over The Neist with Waterstein Head Right and North Uist in the far distance

I then decided to walk out towards The Neist, the furthest point west on Skye and one of the current Honeypot sites. I rode and walked the route out to The Neist, reversing the order on my return leg to ensure I had walked the entire distance. As I approached Waterstein the dramatic cliffs at Waterstein Head came into view, situated high above Loch Mor. I eventually reached the Lookout cafe, but it was closed. I managed to just make out the white buildings of the Ushenish Lighthouse on South Uist with the hill Hecla behind. I had hidden my rucksack near the Ramasaig road end and with it my water supply. The sun was quite high up now and it was fiercely hot. The car park was jam-packed with camper vans and cars.

When I returned to the Ramasaig road end I pushed my bike towards the church in Glendale. I was now faced with the return cycle back to Orbost to pick up my car. I continued to push the bike up and over the hill out of Glendale. Most of the journey to Orbost  was on the bike, as most of the road  was either flat or downhill. I arrived back at the car and set off for Dunvegan.

Looking south with Waterstein Head (l), Ramasaig Cliff (c) and The Hoe (r)
The Neist
Looking across to South Uist

I booked myself into the Kinloch campsite for two nights at £10/night. I had stayed there in 1976 at a cost of 15p/night! The Dunvegan Show was on and the place was very busy. I bumped into Dunvegan’s favourite son Danny MacAskill – famed trials bike rider and succesful YouTuber. I did not recognise him at first, but someone pointed him out to me. He has this rather larger horse carrier, which I suspect he might have converted to a mobile home. Anyway, here is a link to one of his best and biggest jaw-dropping experiences where Danny takes his bike along the Cuillin Ridge. Beautifully filmed with a brilliant score by the late Martyn Bennett (an artist I am ashamed to say I had never heard of – but have now found) ….WARNING  not for the feint-hearted.

 

 

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=24261

Distance today = 14 miles
Total distance =  4,049 miles

 

 

226. Skye: Orbost to Skye: Ollisdal Bothy

It did not take long to get my ‘mojo’ back especially, with the oppressive heat of recent weeks, which  drove me to seek out cooler climes and continue my journey around Skye. I hoped to get a minimum of 4 days walking in on this trip and to try out a different approach to how I usually tackle my first days walk.

I set off from Shropshire on Thursday afternoon and soon ran into trouble with using the M6. A vehicle had hit a bridge near Preston resulting in the closure of the motorway in both directions, the whole area was gridlocked. I headed east along the M62 thinking about heading up the M1 and then picking up the A66. However, the A66 was gridlocked around Penrith because of people diverting on and off the M6. There was no alternative but to continue up the A1 and onto Edinburgh. Subsequent traffic delays around Newcastle had me running a couple of hours behind my schedule. I just about managed to get to Fort William before the petrol station closed and I was also able to fill up and get a coffee. I continued onto Glen Shiel and parked up the night.

Very early the next day I drove over to Skye and up to Glendale on the Duirinish Peninsular to drop my bike off near the Ramasaig road end turn. I then drove around to Orbost. I left my car in the farmyard and set off towards Ollisdal Bothy. This shortish day of 10 miles was a different approach, as I usually do a big first day then suffer later.  I was breaking myself in gently! Yet again I was walking over the same ground as I did 42 years previously in 1976, but on that occasion I camped in Lorgill.

My pack was relatively easy to carry, as I was not carrying a tent. I intended to stay at the infrequently visited Ollisdal Bothy. I vaguely remember sections of the well-trodden path south from Orbost, but the whole area seemed to have been afforested since I was last there. Most people using this path are heading out to Idrigill Point with its sea stacks – the Macleod’s Maidens. I certainly remember them from many years ago, even if it was a very misty and wet day then.

It was nice and overcast with a stiff breeze at my back as I approached Rebel Wood – a project to the memory of the late Joe Strummer, lead guitarist with The Clash and an ardent supporter of carbon offsetting. As I reached the coastline the vegetation suddenly changed to short close-cropped grass, which made for easy walking. The cliff faces that form a large part of the Duirinish coastline are shear, high and very dramatic. The footpath came and went as I decided to head inland slightly to search out the bothy. Here the grass was much longer, lush with many bogs. I managed to place my foot into a small hole which sent me tumbling head first to the ground, closely followed by my pack which hit the back of my head! I struggled through the grass for the next mile until I came across Ollisdal Bothy, nestled in Glen Ollisdal beside the River Ollisdal.

The bothy was empty and consisted of two rooms, the larger room with the entrance had an earthen floor, the smaller room entered through another door had a wooden floor with a perspex window looking down towards the sea. In the distance I could see the islands of Canna and Sanday. The bothy was clean and tidy, but dark and very basic. I checked out the bothy book and saw that it had been occupied a few days before, but before that it had been almost a month since anyone stayed there. There was no firewood, but there was a small bag of coal left-over,but I had no intention of lighting a fire anyway. As there are no trees for miles around, the only fire wood supply was a 2.5 mile round trip to the shore in the next Glen. I settled myself in for the night. The sun had come out and with a gentle warm breeze I put my chair outside and listened to the small radio I had brought along. With no one within miles of the place it was a beautiful, remote and tranquil place to be.

 

Heading towards Idrigill Point
Track snaking its way out to Idrigill Point
Entering Rebel’s Wood
Idrigill Point
The cliffs at Flossnan
Looking down on Macleod’s Maidens
Looking back towards Glen Lorsgadal
Looking down on Ollisdal Bothy with Ben Connan in the distance
Room with a view
Ollisdal Bothy
Looking south to Canna and Sanday from Ollisdal Bothy

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=24257

Distance today = 10 miles
Total distance =  4,035 miles

 

 

 

225. Skye: Carbost to Skye: Orbost

I awoke at 04:00 in the wigwam, although the bed was not the most comfortable, I had got a reasonable nights sleep.  I really did not want to get up, as if I did I would have to make a decision about whether to carry on with the days walk. My legs had recovered, but my problem was my “low mood”, I just felt a bit down. I closed my eyes to put off my decision for a while at least. The alarm went off again at 04:30 and it was decision time. Because the days walk was all road work I opted to see if I could make it to Orbost. The bike was dumped in Orbost and I drove back to Carbost.

I set off up the hill out of Carbost down the B8009 towards the junction with the A863.  The junction had a rather strange wooden scarecrow, a popular theme in this neck of the woods. I wore my trainers and a very light pack, which made for a very good pace. My legs felt surprisingly good. The ache and fatigue of yesterday had disappeared, although I knew it would return at the end of the walk. There had been some rain during the night and the skies were still overcast which made for excellent conditions for my style of road walking.

The road was very quiet and I made quick progress up the road. This section of the road moves slightly inland and the view of Loch Harport disappeared behind higher ground. I eventually arrived at the tiny Loch Beag and crossed over the Amar River. Not long after I came to the first real settlement at Struan, there was’nt much there. My first real objective of the day was the first of two “loops”, minor roads that moved away from the A863 out onto small peninsulas. My first “loop”  was through Ullinish, a very quiet hamlet. It is through Ullinish that you would pass to visit the small tidal island of Oronsay. With the tide in it was not possible at that time, although even if it were, I doubt I would have ventured across, I  had more road miles still to cover.

Looking down Loch Harport back towards Carbost
Wooden scarecrow on a cross at the A836 junction
Looking across Loch Harport towards Carbost
Loch Beag
Looking towards the tidal island of Oronsay from Ullinish

I rejoined the A863 and entered a long sweeping route along Loch Caroy. At this time it struck me how large Skye is, gone are the pointy peaks of the Cuillins, here the land is more open and I got a real sense of scale. Shortly after passing over the Caroy River I came to my second and larger “loop”, the Harlosh peninsular. What I liked about Loch Caroy was how the small pasture fields gently sloped down to the loch. This was in stark contrast to the dramatic and sheer cliffs of the islands and land bordering Loch Bracadale. My second loop through Harlosh was very nice and although the sun was well up I made good progress. I met an early morning runner, the first person I had met in the day, I met him again 30 minutes later as he was running around this loop. As I left Harlosh, the cloud that had been covering MacLeod’s Tables finally lifted.

I was back on the main road again, but not for long. I took another loop road which led through to the small community of Orbost. I finished the walk at Orbost Farm, at a car park in the middle of the farm. The Orbost Estate is still owned, I think, by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, at least there is still a sign up indicating as much. I wanted to check that it would be ok to park here overnight on the next section of my walk. Unfortunately, I could not find anybody to ask.

I managed to finish, which was not bad after yesterdays exertions, but there was no way I could do another section, especially as it involved a tough walk up the coast to Ramasaig. With the benefits of a tail wind and fewer miles to cycle than I had walked, I set off back to Carbost.

Tarner Island
Harlosh Island
Looking across to Macleods Tables from Harlosh
Looking down Loch Vatten to Duirinish and the next section of my walk

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=24245

Distance today = 23 miles
Total distance =  4,025 miles

 

 

 

224. Skye: Glen Brittle to Skye: Carbost

With the fortunes of a very lucky and over-rated English football side now resolved I turned my attentions to continuing my trek around the coastline of Skye. I drove slowly up from Shropshire with the intention of seeing how far I got before pulling over and sleeping in the back of the car.  By 10 pm I had made it to Glen Shiel and parked in the car park  below the bealach linking the North Glen Shiel ridge.

At 4 am in the following morning I set off for Skye . I drove to my original intended destination of Portnalong, at the tip of the Minginish Peninsular, and dumped my bike. I then drove around to the starting point of the walk in Glen Brittle.

I knew today was going to be a tough walk as I would be linking a number of Glens across trackless terrain, plus I would be including the Marilyn Beinn Bhreac (448m). I parked in the public car park at Glen Brittle and prepared a quick brew before crossing the River Brittle and heading for the low-lying Bealach na h-Airigh Mhurain. I headed into the cloud and mist which meant I had to follow a compass bearing across the open moor. I had opted to use my “wet” boots; boots that I knew would leak and they didn’t let me down! I was saving my best boots for a couple of days time. Walking underfoot conditions were very wet and uneven and although my photos look like it was a stroll through nice green grass, it was tough going.

Heading across the River Brittle
Looking back at Glen Brittle

I was pleased to emerge from the clag with a view down towards some sheep pens  that my compass bearing had been leading me. I could also look down on Loch Eynort, bathed in sunshine. I could see that some of the cloud which had shrouded Beinn Bhreac on the far side of the loch was beginning to break up. I dropped down onto a well made track coming from a small radio transmitter and made my way through sheep pens to Eynort. To get across Loch Eynort required a long 3 mile walk through forestry tracks, which went almost a mile into Coire Mor before crossing a river. I could see no evidence of the much shorter forest track indicated on the map, closer to the loch shore. As I walked through the forest road I could look up and see a great view of the crags of Gula a’Choire Mhoir of the Marilyn An Cruachan.

I walked through the small hamlet of Eynort and carried on along the loch shore until I came to two small ruined mediaeval  churches with an old graveyard,  dedicated to St. Maelrubha. Some of the head stones were of the small crude irregular type with virtually no marking remaining, usually meaning they were very old. I now had to climb up to another bealach – the Bealach na Croiche. It was getting quite hot as I reached the bealach, but I was rewarded with some fine views back towards the Cuillins. As I went over a small brow a Golden Eagle took off, surrounded by two crows who appeared to be driving it off, quite brave really as Crows are sometimes on an Eagle’s prey list. I have never been that close to a Golden Eagle in the wild before and I was absolutely amazed at the size of the bird. I have often seen birds of prey from a distance and wondered “is it a Buzzard or an Eagle?”, no doubt about this – an incredible sight. I watched it fly away from me accompanied by the two crows. By the time I got my camera out it had disappeared into the landscape.

Emerging from the clag and looking down on Loch Eynort – Beinn Bhreac is still in cloud
Looking down Loch Eynort
The ruined chapels and graveyard at Eynort

I headed towards the slopes of Beinn na Cuinneag and then onto the steeper slopes of Beinn Bhreac. Suddenly, a fox bolted about 30 metres away, I think this was the first time I had ever come across a fox on a Scottish mountain. I was having second thoughts now about climbing Beinn Bhreac, I was getting tired and I still had a long way to go. I  decided to carry on to the top and visited a couple of tops on the summit of the Beinn Bhreac. I knew that the Trig Point was lower than the official top and so did not visit it. The views were quite amazing  and I had great views north to Duirinsh and Trotternish, the Cuillin’s and west out to the Outer Hebrides. A shepherd on a quad bike with Collies onboard passed below me some 400m away.

I now headed north down grassy slopes and avoiding a few isolated crags . I was heading towards Preshal More (320m) a prominent hill above Talisker. The closer I got to Preshal More the more I could examine its high and dramatic cliff face. I could see straight away that the cliff face was a huge outcrop of columnar tholeiitic olivine Basalt. The outcrop was part of the much wider Skye Lava Group and was quite amazing with the columns rising 100m or more. I dropped down to the road that runs to the nearby hamlet of Talisker. My first job was to remove my boots, wring out the sole liner and socks and re-lace. Using these cheapo-boots on this terrain was a big mistake and my left foot was hurting.

Heading towards Beinn Bhreac
The Cuillins from Beinn Bhreac
The view north towards Talisker and Duirinish across Loch a’Bhac-ghlais
The cliffs of Preshal More
Columnar Basalt of Preshal More

I passed a few parked cars of beach-goers and continued past a farm and cottage to begin the ascent to another bealach. Fortunately I was now on a good track which would lead me to Fiscavaig and the public road. I met and chatted to three gents out for a walk to Talisker and back . As I neared Fiscavaig, the large peninsular of Duirinish loomed to the north across Loch Bracadale. I could make out MacLeod’s Maidens and Tables in the distance. At Fiscavaig I spoke to a chap from Chester who had recently bought a house in Fiscavaig. I headed towards the small pier at Rubha Ban and then turned up the road into Portnalong. I decided to call into the Croft Bunkhouse and check in . I was staying in one of the WigWams for the night.

Peacock at the farm in Talisker
Looking down on Talisker with Preshal More (left) and Preshal Beag (right) dominating the view
Looking north across Loch Bracadale from Fiscavaig

I picked my bike up and continued  along the road towards Carbost, pushing my bike. Just before I arrived at Carbost I investigated a “Blessing Box”, which was a colourful homemade box with mostly grocery provisions inside. The contents were available free of charge to anyone that needed any of the items, and the message was “just leave what you did not need”. A very kind gesture, open to abuse maybe, but still a good gesture. It became very tough going now and I was quite exhausted by the time I reached Carbost. Foolishly I decided to get a pint at the Old Inn. By 7:30 in the evening the light was becoming dimmer and I had no lights on my bike. I had been walking for about 11.5 hours and I still had the 7 or 8 miles to cycle down to Glen Brittle. For the next 40 minutes I spent more time pushing the bike, even up the small gradients as a head-wind had picked up. I was mightily relieved to reach the top of the Glen and get the long down hill stretch to the car. By the time I reached the Bunkhouse I doubted I could continue on the next days walk…..

Footnote: Somewhere along the road to Carbost I clocked up my 4000th mile!

 

Portnalong
“Blessing Box” near Carbost
Talisker Distillery at Carbost

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:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=24243

Distance today = 24 miles
Total distance =  4,002 miles

 

223.Cleethorpes to Saltfleet

 

The continued success of the England football team at the World Cup has delayed my return to Skye, which means I can fit in my one-dayer’s along the East coast.

I had planned an even longer walk for this section, but again Traveline came up with a few more surprises. I had hoped to finish the walk at the coastal resort of Mablethorpe, but on calling a number to “book” a seat on the bus service I was told the bus did not travel to the place indicated on Traveline. I re-thought my plans and came up with a shorter alternative. I had one eye on the weather and was slightly relieved to see spots of rain and an overcast sky on the drive to Lincolnshire from Shropshire.

I drove to and parked at the small village of Saltfleet, I then took the #50 bus towards Grimsby and got off at Old Clee. I then hopped on a #7  bus that took me to about a mile from the pier at Cleethorpes. The sky remained quite grey and overcast, with a stiff breeze which was good walking weather. After buying a coffee and a sausage bap from a cafe on the sea front I set off along the promenade. I could see many ships out on the Humber. The walking was very easy and in no time I had arrived at Tetney Marshes.

From this point onwards I would be on the Sea Wall – a dyke or levee with a grassy footpath on its top.I had only gone about an 100m before I noticed a Stoat/Weasel bounding towards me. I froze still and the animal came towards me. It passed within 2ft from shoe,  before disappearing into the undergrowth. I did think about getting my camera out, as I did not want to scare it and the encounter only lasted 20 -30 seconds. I re-ran the event in my mind and could not remember to look out for the distinctive black spot on the tail which distinguishes the Stoat from a Weasel. I do however, remember its gait, which was an arched-back bound indicating the animal was probably a Stoat.   As I approached the bridge over the Louth Canal at Stonebridge, I could a small mobile drilling rig taking cores from the Sea wall. I hoped that I would not come across a dreaded footpath closed sign! Fortunately, there was no such sign and I continued on to Horse Shoe Point. Shortly after passing the car park at Horse Shoe Point I came across more construction work, this time the main work was  proceeding about a mile out on the sands. This was the land-fall for the cable from the Hornsea offshore wind farm, a  Project that I had passed by construction work on a number of other previous walks.

Walking the promenade out of Cleethorpes
Easy going at Humberstone Fitties
Crude oil pipeline
Drilling cores on the sea wall
Work at the landfall site for the Hornsea Offshore Wind Farm

As I approached the Donna Nook National Nature Reserve a series of fighter jets approached overhead in formation, wave after wave. In fact there were 27 of these Typhoon aircraft and to cap it all off the Red Arrows flew over me . It was not until I reached the Air Ground bombing range was I told that they were on their way down to London, for the fly past over Buckingham Palace. The person who told me about the RAF centenary celebrations was also the Rangemaster for the Air to Ground range. As it was flying a Red Flag I enquired about my onward route to Saltfleet, he advised me on a route which was absolute pants!! I set off along a  dead-end path, making a suggested turn inland around some buildings. I eventually got stuck between the Bombing Range and some unwelcoming GOML (Get Off My Land) signs . I decided to walk along the edge of the range to the next Control Tower. I could see it was manned but the guy inside did not come out. I opted to do a bit of trespassing  and finally gain the sea wall, which sits behind the range. In retrospect,with the Range active, I should have detoured inland. Contrary to the advice given there is no public ROW onwards along the shoreline, during firing.

I eventually reach the outskirts of Saltfleet, where the range boundaries ended. I chatted to a few people in the car park about the fly pass, they were quite annoyed to have missed it as they had watched it in their nearby caravan.

I continued onto Saltfleet Haven passing through purple swaths of Sea Lavender, which although very similar to “normal” grown Lavender has no smell.

I finished  the walk in the small village of Saltfleet.

Easy going towards Donna Nook
Zoomed shot across the bombing range out towards the North Sea
Sea Lavender beds at Saltfleet
Heading into Saltfleet at Saltfleet Haven

Distance today = 19 miles
Total distance = 3,978 miles