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.
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.
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 = 23 miles
Total distance = 4,025 miles