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