235. Tornapress to Applecross

I was looking forward to continuing my journey around the coastline of the Scottish mainland now that Skye was out of the way and I had planned a 3 day trip. Sadly that did not happen, due to an injury that I will elaborate on later.

Because of the lack of available public transport I needed to bring forward my originally planned last day to be my first! Applecross does not have a great deal of public transport options, so few, that the only bus out of Applecross runs on a Wednesday ( I later found out that a bus also runs on a Saturday). You also have to call Lochcarron Garage, who run the service, to book a seat. I just had to be in Applecross on a Wednesday morning  for 8:00 am. I drove up via Inverness the day before and stopped overnight in the car at one of my old Munro and Corbett parking haunts at Coulags.

I drove from Coulags to Applecross the following day via the Bealach na Ba and parked in the free car park at Applecross. I came across a stag in an enclosed garden close to the public toilets making a meal of some tasty looking shrubs. The mini-bus appeared with a few elderly ladies already on board on their way to Lochcarron. Because we were picking up other passengers in the north of the Applecross Peninsular we set off on the long drive around the coastal route towards Shieldaig. It was a really pleasant drive along the  narrow, twisting and scenic road. Tornapress, a small hamlet, sits on the A896, next to the Applecross road end – the road that goes over the Bealach na Ba – (Pass of the Cattle), would be the start of my walk. However, I would not be returning to Applecross via the road , instead I would be picking my way along the trackless and rough northern shore of Loch Kishorn as far as the bothy at Uags and then heading north via Toscaig back to Applecross.

From Tornapress, I set off along the Applecross road which climbed slowly. I was aware that a private road veered off towards the former dry-dock facility built initially for the Ninian Oil Field back in 1977. The following link is to a short film in the National Library of Scotland about the construction of the platform at Kishorn –


The last work carried out at the site was the building of caissons for the Skye Bridge back in 1992. The facility then lay idle for some 23 years. Today the site is being used for the Kishorn Wind Farm Project, as well as Salmon Fish farm and a depot for Ferguson’s. A small quarry has also sprung up on the west side of the dry dock, producing aggregate from the Torridonian Sandstone. The bad news for me is that all this industry didn’t want me walking through their front door!! So I continued up the minor road, gaining height slowly, until I could set off across the open moor and head down to the shore just west of the quarry.

I started along the rocky shore-line  of Loch Kishorn; high tide occurred about 90 minutes ago, so I had some beach to work with. However, it was difficult walking on the slippy rocks. I thought I was doing ok until I slipped and fell. My camera went in one direction, my walking stick in the other, I landed heavily on my left knee. I shouted expletives  out in pain and annoyance. I checked out my knee, nothing broken thank God! It bloody hurt though! After the initial pain subsided I found I could walk, the knee was beginning to swell and it was really tender. I left the beach and decided to keep to the higher ground. I continued through long grass, bog, heather and rough terrain. I managed to cross the Allt a’Chois ok and decided to try to follow the route of the wooden power lines. Eventually, I caught sight of some ruins and the house at Airigh-drishaig. The cottage is occupied sometimes by a chap called Martin (I think), he didn’t appear to be in today. The cottage is set right amongst a large patch of gorse. Airigh-drishaig is also the meeting point of the path from Toscaig and the other from Uags.

I did contemplate about taking the shorter route to Toscaig, but my left knee seemed ok and I did want to visit Uags Bothy. I was having second thoughts about the next two days walking though and It gradually dawned on me that I could continue on today, but not for two more 20 mile+ days. Bugger!

Cheeky Stag devouring shrubs in Applecross
The start of the Applecross road not sure why so many stickers!
Heading for the quarry
The route ahead
On the beach
Approaching Airigh-drishaig
Zoomed shot of the Skye Bridge

Although a footpath is marked on the OS map from Airigh-drishaig to Uags, on the ground there is little evidence of it. I did pick up the occasional footprint, but I generally picked out what I considered to be the best route.  The light rain which had began shortly after my fall now began to fall quite heavily. It seemed to take an age to finally locate Uags Bothy.

Uags Bothy has a superb location, right by its own little beach and very popular with Kayakers coming over from Plockton. From the outside bolt I could see that no-one was home. I checked out the Bothy and found stairs leading to two large bedrooms, with two metal bed frames and both rooms clad with wooden walls. Downstairs was another sleeping room with a carpet in and tables and another room with the fireplace, tables and a collection of home-made chairs. The bothy was in good condition and reading the Bothy Book’s comments is well liked by all that have stayed. The last entry was 4 days before. I rested awhile considered what to do about my knee.

I had originally planned to stay at Uags for an overnighter but the short distance from Tornapress, meant I could easily make Applecross in a day and was therefore not  carrying no food or a sleeping bag. I rested for almost an hour before setting off from the Bothy along a well trodden path. I had read reports that this path was indistinct in places, but I found an  easy to follow footpath.

By the time I reached Toscaig, the rain had finished and the sun came out. I now had about 4 miles of roadwork to get back to Applecross. The knee became slightly more stiff and I knew I could not do a 20 mile walk tomorrow. I was really disappointed. It also dawned on me that making Cape Wrath by Christmas was a bit of a tall order. So now I am looking at a more realistic target of Ullapool.

The Applecross Inn was doing a fair trade as I got back to the car after 8 hours of walking. The Inn had a small Airstream Caravan which had been converted to sell food. I bought a Fish supper for £8.50! Ok. Plenty of chips but expensive. The long drive home beckoned.

The route to Uags!
Arriving at Uags Bothy
Main living room at Uags
One of the upstairs bedrooms
Approaching Toscaig
Suddenly my sore knee was not as great as other people’s problems!
Arriving at Toscaig
Looking across the Inner Sound to the Isle of Scalpay with the Red Cuillin on Skye behind from Camusterrach
Looking down from the Bealach na Ba on my drive home.

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 =  4,265 miles




Progress to Date

I thought it would be a good idea to have a visual representation of my progress to date in walking the coast of Great Britain. This is basically just a Google map of Great Britain with a red line indicating my progress, its rather crude, but does the job.

Just a few pieces of information:-

  1. Besides my main line of progress, which is currently just completed Skye and back on the mainland on the West coast of Scotland, there are two outliers,the first is my “second front” on the east coast and second, the Norfolk Coastal Path which I walked some years ago.
  2. For scaling reasons I cannot show the “Use of Ferries” sections in Devon/Cornwall/Dorset which I am currently walking when weather further north is not so good.
  3. I’ll up date the map every once in a while


233. Skye: Old Man of Storr Car Park to Skye: Sligachan

I awoke at 06:00 and immediately flexed my legs, they did not feel too bad after yesterdays exertions. Today was a Sunday and this would be my last walking section on Skye. I thought about how I should tackle this  section and decided that I would drive to Portree and park my car. I would then catch a bus up to the Old Man of Storr Car park and walk back to Portree. I would then get a bus down to Sligachan and walk back to Portree, thus closing the loop around Skye. I decided to take the tent down and pack everything away and wait for the campsite gate to open at 07:00.

I drove into Portree and parked in the free car park. I had about 90 minutes to wait for the bus and thought “bugger-it” I’ll start walking now. So off I went pushing my bike along out of Portree. It happens sometimes with me, I make plans and then throw them out the window in the spur of a moment!

The road for an early Sunday morning was very quiet. Most of the road up to the Old Man is uphill, so I should get the benefits of riding my bike on the return back down to Portree. I was amazed how well my legs had recovered, ok I wouldn’t be sprinting much. I eventually reached the lochs of Loch Leathan, which were very still. It was only just short of 7 miles up to the car park and for most of the way, the sharp precipitous cliff edge of The Storr was on full view. I had climbed The Storr back in 1976 and remember a few details about it. By the time I reached the Car Park cars and tourist coaches had begun to arrive. For me this would be the best bit. I always love free-wheeling downhill at speed. On the ride back I passed the bus that I had originally planned to catch, which meant I would be about 2 hours ahead of schedule. After 40 minutes I arrived back at the car.

Portree Harbour
Ben Tianavaig
Heading towards The Storr and Old Man
Looking back over a tranquil Loch Leathan towards The Cuillins
The Old Man of Storr Car Park

I changed into walking boots as the next section would involve over 3 miles of off-road walking. There appeared no immediate bus to get me down to Sligachan, other than the one I had originally planned to catch in about 2 hours. So I began cycling down the A87. It was not a very pleasant experience, as the traffic had suddenly increased and even though it was essentially downhill most of the way to Sligachan, it was tough cycling. I think I had a bit of a headwind. About half way down the road an Inter-city #915 bus passed me coming from Uig and going onto Glasgow. Grrrrrr!!! Forgot about checking for the 915. As I would be returning south later in the day I locked my bike to a fence at the Sligachan Hotel.

I set off from the hotel and crossed the main road into the Sligachan campsite. The site was very busy and most people seemed to be preparing to depart. I was looking to pick up a path which runs alongside Loch Sligachan around to the end of the public road at Peinachorrain.  I eventually picked up the path and continued on along the lochside. The path was quite rough in places and  had to walk along the beach at a couple of points. A few sections had bracken, which appeared finally to be dying back for this year. As I continued along the path I was accompanied by the incessant traffic noise coming across the loch from the A87.

I arrived at Peinachorrain and continued on along the B883, a very quiet road that would ultimately lead back onto the A87. I did not meet my first car until after 5 miles by which time the effects of yesterdays walk was beginning to take their toll. I passed through the small hamlets of Gedintailor, Ollach and Achnahanaid, where I met an elderly couple on bicycles and we spoke awhile. The views across the Sound of Raasay had been replaced by the looming mass of Ben Tianavaig (413m), a hill that dominates the view from Portree as well. I had thought, some time ago, about climbing this hill, but not today. As I approached the junction with the A87 I met a French lad who was backpacking around to Sligachan, I gave him a few tips and we departed. The last two miles into Portree along the verge of the A87 was no fun.

The campsite at Sligachan
Looking back to Sligachan with Sgurr nan Gillean and Am Bastier prominent
Heading down Loch Sligachan
Looking across Loch Sligachan to Glamaig
A bit of shore walking was required
Looking down Loch Sligachan
Looking down on Peinachorrain and the end of the public road
This K6 doubles up both as a library and an automated external defibrillator (AED) station
Looking across to Ben Tianavaig
Lovely sweet-smelling Meadowsweet
Portree in the distance

So that was it! My route around Skye was complete and I must now return to the mainland and continue my progress north. So what of Skye? Well the enduring memory is of how busy the place is and of the traffic. That aside I had two memorable walks. The first with Malkyc with the walk from Elgol over the Cuillin into Glen Brittle, stunning and dramatic scenery; the second being my overnight bothy stay at the isolated Ollisdal, a tranquil and beautiful part of Duirinish. To be fair it is not difficult on Skye to find peace, solitude and tranquility away from the masses and roads. I could have chosen better routes or taken more time to explore, but I have found that compromise while completing this challenge is a necessity sometimes. I did 15 days walking on Skye, racking up 299 miles. I hope to be back sometime.

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 =  19 miles
Total distance =  4,190 miles



232: Skye: Hinnisdal Bridge to Skye: Old Man of Storr Car Park

This day was going to be the big one. I was aiming to get to Sligachan with just two more days of walking and to achieve that I needed to do a big mileage. In my planning I did not do an accurate mileage calculation, I was concentrating more on the logistics of the public transport. The good news was that Trotternish has two bus services, that run clockwise (#57C)  and anticlockwise (#57A); the other good news was that I would not have to use my bike. I also had to take into account this would be a Saturday service which was slightly more restrictive.

I drove around to and parked at the Old Man of Storr Car Park, the car park was already filling up with coaches, cars and camper vans. I caught the #57A bus, which was quite full for the time of the morning. I sat close to a small group of Italians who appeared to be heading out to Rubha Hunish to begin the Skye Trail. As the bus rounded the northern tip of Skye, I started to have serious doubts about completing this walk, the journey time would be 1hr and 20 minutes and we had not even reached Uig yet! My misgivings grew!

I finally got off the bus at Hinnisdal Bridge and started my trek back the way I come up the A87. Mercifully the skies were slightly overcast and a cool breeze was at my back. The road also was still quiet at this time of the morning. My legs felt good and I was soon looking down at Uig. I passed the ruin of Uig Tower or Captain Fraser’s Folly,( a nineteenth century folly) which was basically a show of wealth and a place were local tenants had to go to pay their rent to the Factor.

I had been to Uig twice previously, both times to catch the ferry to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris, in 1976 on my walk around Skye and in 2012 when I headed out to The Western Isles to climb the Corbett – An Clisham. There were various signs up for a Gala or Fete in the village this day and I could see preparations taking place on the sports field. I called in at the local store to buy some sweets and savouries. I was now faced with a steep climb  up and out of Uig along the A855, a road I would be on for the rest of the day.

As I climbed up the road, I met a marshall in a high vis jacket, he was directing runners who were emerging from the top of the hill. This was a road race that had begun at the bealach below The Quiraing and was finishing at the Gala sports field. I took a short cut missing out the various loops of the main road as it climbed up a steep bank out of Uig. As I headed north the road became single track, with passing places. I had excellent views out to the Western Isles. As the morning moved on the volume of traffic gradually increased. I thought I would do an impromptu count of the vehicles passing over a 30 minute period.  I found that a vehicle would pass me, on average,  in either direction every 20 to 30 seconds.

Looking across Uig Bay to Uig
Uig Tower or Captain Fraser’s Folly
Looking down on Uig from the A855
Looking across to North Harris from Kilvaxter

I entered a small settlement along the road called Kilvaxter, which had a recently discovered Souterrain in it. I vaguely remember reading about a Souterrain before, so I went to investigate. On the site of a small Iron Age farmstead some 2000 years ago, this Souterrain was a 17 metre long underground winding tunnel leading to a small chamber. It is believed the purpose of these underground chambers was to store diary foodstuffs over the winter period. The small iron grate was open, I stooped down and peered in. It’s entrance was very low, wet underfoot  and pitch black inside. I do not have a head torch or fancy crawling through groundwater on my knees so  I continued on.

I passed by the Museum of Island Life, close to the cemetery where Flora Macdonald and the fashion designer Alexander McQueen are buried. Shortly afterwards the road dropped down close to the sea at Score Bay. The tide was not quite out so I could not spot any dinosaur footprints, but I did get a good view of the ruins of Duntulm Castle. The castle was very busy and there were many people making their way out to the ruins of the former Macdonald stronghold. Close by was the Duntulm Castle Hotel, sold by auction 2014, but still sitting derelict and closed.

The entrance to the Souterrain
Inside the Souterrain – I did not go in far
The Skye Museum of Island Life at Kilmuir

I now turned east and this marked far north the road goes at the end of the Trotternish peninsula. If I had more energy I would walk out to the northern tip of Skye at Rubha Hunish, but I was  feeling a bit tired by then. At Kilmaluag I had a great view northeast up The Minch and could see the mainland stretching out into the distance. Using the Rubha Reidh Lighthouse as a reference point I could see the hills of Assynt including Quinag, Suilven and Canisp. Looking further to the north I can also pick out the hills of West Sutherland including Foinavon some 72 miles away, very faintly to the left of Foinavon I can pick up a lower hill which I suspect is Creag Riabhach (485m) and just 7 miles south of the Cape Wrath ( where I want to be by Christmas). But I was a long way north and must now head south to return to the Scottish mainland. I had a wee rest at Balmaqueen as a small herd of cattle was drove down the main road to transfer between fields.

Looking towards Duntulm
Duntulm Castle
At low tide it is possible to see Dinosaur footprints here – but not today
Looking across The Minch at North Harris and down on Duntulm Bay with the derelict Duntulm Hotel

The late afternoon was turning into early evening  as the dramatic cliffs of the Meall na Suiramach and the Quiriang come into view. I entered the strung out township of Staffin, composed of many settlements. It seemed to go on forever. The light had become very dull now but I still managed to get good views to the north. I recognise the unmistakable shape of the hill Beinn Ghobhlach and Ben Mor Coigach, both hills standing astride Loch Broom and the ferry port of Ullapool and a milestone for me.

The last of the cows being driven along the road
The cliffs of Meall na Suiramach
Local waiting for a bus?
Looking along the Trotternish Ridge at Staffin
Looking down on Staffin Beach

There were much fewer cars on the road as I dropped down into Lealt. I could see that the layby for the waterfalls were closed and a new wooden over-hanging structure had been built. The site was closed, but as no one was around I thought I would have a crafty peek. The next 3 or 4 miles were tough, but I kept a good pace up. My mind took to thinking about what to have for supper, there was no way I could cook that night. So I looked forward to a fish supper in Portree.

I arrived in a nearly deserted Car Park at Old Man of Storr. My legs and joints ached but I was more concerned with getting to the chippy before they closed. Getting out of the car in Portree was painful, as was the wait in the queue for my food. There were about 39 Chinese ahead of me all trying to order, asking questions etc…..40 minutes later I emerged with my fish supper. I got back to the tent and just lay on my mattress. I knew now that tomorrow was a much easier day and I could complete Skye. I rubbed my knees with some deep heat and tried to sleep.

Layby at Lealt Waterfalls
Wooden observation platform
View down into gorge
Zoomed shot north east to Gairloch with Beinn mhor Coigach (left) and Beinn Ghobhlach (right)
The Old Man of Storr

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 =  31 miles
Total distance =  4,171 miles


231. Skye: Stein to Skye: Hinnisdal Bridge

I had set my base up at the Camp and Caravanning Clubs site near Edinbane on the shores of Loch Greshornish. My newly purchased tent turned out to be a great success with lots of space and my sleeping compartment having space for a large blow-up mattress. I also had room to sit down on a chair in the vestibule and read. However, one of the annoying things about the site was the locking of the front gate between 23:00 – 07:00, which is a pain for trying to get away early – although you could park outside of the gates.

This day would be quite similar to yesterdays, beginning with some off-road walking and then a long stretch of road walking. I drove around to a road junction on the A87 about half a mile south of the village of Kensaleyre – a small village at the head of Loch Snizort Beag and dropped my bike off. I then drove around to Stein on Waternish where I parked the car.

I set off up the track I had walked along yesterday, turning off after 1km following another forest track that climbed up onto the open moor. I was heading for a ridge of low-lying hills of just under 300m in height. I left the track and proceeded over trackless terrain. The going was not that bad. I reached the first hill of Beinn Charnach Mhor, continuing onto Beinn Bheag Gheal and then onto Beinn Sgumain. The drop between the hills was negligible. I was heading for a small loch called Loch Vorvin and the nearby Dun an’ Larla. From Dun an’Larla I could quite easily look down onto the forest where I intended to head  next and the fire-break I needed to pick up. I could have proceeded over the Marilyn Beinn Chreagach, but I was not that  bothered about bagging it. I headed for the fire-break over increasingly rougher ground.

It was with some relief that I reached the forest road, which required me to negotiate a quarry that had been used to upgrade and dress the forest roads. The forest track took me down to the A850.

Setting off down a forest track
Heading up Beinn Charnach Mhor
Looking across Loch Snizort to Uig
Heading towards Beinn Bheag Gheal
Approaching Dun an’ Larla
Looking back along the low-lying ridge
Heading down towards the fire-break with Loch Greshornish in the distance
Quarry at the end of the forest road.

The rest of the route would be along the A850 and A87 roads, both quite busy. I began the long plod along the road passing through Edinbane and around Loch Greshornish. As my route passed-by the camp site I was at, I called in at my tent, got some food on and had a brew – it was a great respite from the boring road trudge. I set off refreshed along the A850 heading through Bernisdale and Skeabost where I turned off up the B8036. This road took me to the A87 and the junction where I had left my bike. It was decision time. I could simply call it a day here by cycling back to the car OR I could continue on foot up the A87 and get a bus back to this junction and then cycle back to the car. An idea had been growing in my head that I could possibly turn my 5 days of walking into 4. However,  I needed to put in additional miles on todays walk to do this. I left the bike and set off down the A87.

There was a good verge alongside the A87 for most of the walk north, just as well really as the road was very busy and the vehicles were travelling very fast. I was now on Trotternish, my final Skye peninsular. Although most of the views was across back to Waternish, I caught glimpses of the Trotternish ridge which appeared less dramatic on its western side than the cliffs and crags of its eastern side. I reached the Hinnisdal River and decided to call it a day. There was a bus stop here and I waited for the next 57A service back to the B8036 junction and my bike.

Looking north towards Trotternish across loch Greshornish. The campsite can be seen across the loch
Remnants of the old bridge across the River Hinnisdal

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 =  26 miles
Total distance =  4,140 miles



230: Skye: Dunvegan to Skye: Stein

I had decided that I was going to get Skye finished on this trip. I had planned for 5 days and each day would be long and arduous, averaging 30 km or so per day. I wasn’t sure if I could hack it over 5 days as the first two days would involve some off-road work over trackless terrain. To get back to my car would also involve some bike work and hopefully the use of  public transport.

I  had half an eye on the weather which looked good with light rain showers and a stiff breeze. However, I knew I would have a problem stuck in a tent for 4 nights if the weather turned bad…so….I bought myself a Coleman 3 man tent with sleeping area and vestibule, lots of space and  where I could almost stand upright. Great for camping out of the back of your car! I also decided  to join the Camping and Caravanning Club. You can book a pitch online and your pitches are a decent size. I have never been that keen on their rigid rules, but if I hoped to finish off Skye on this trip I needed somewhere quiet and spacious to get my head down for the night.

I drove up the day before and had no problems with traffic this time. I got to Glen Shiel by 22:00 and settled down for the night in the back of the car. It rained heavily throughout the night and was still raining the following morning. I  headed for Skye and drove to the Waternish Peninsula and dropped my bike off close to the village of Stein. I then drove around to Dunvegan and parked my car just before the castle.

I set off along the quiet road to Claigan passing many campervans and cars  occupying nearly available pull-off spots. The first of the showers hit me after 30 minutes, but it was short-lived. The sun came out again and I had a great view back to Dunvegan Castle. At Claigan, I passed through a number of unwelcoming signs, particularly if you were a dog owner. The gate leading to a track onto the hill had barbed wire coiled around the top, something I particularly hate. I wish I’d had a pair of decent wire cutters with me. I was heading up to a broad ridge that runs the length of this small peninsular, sandwiched between Duirinish and Waternish, and onto the Marilyn Beinn Bhreac (329m). I left the good track after a kilometer and headed up  across knee-length heather, long grass, bracken and deep spongy moss. It was quite tough climbing up to the higher points. The top of the ridge was very flat and broad. It was quite difficult to find the actual top, which was a small pile of rocks, set above a peat hag. I headed south-east from the top aiming for a de-afforested area. I could see the road, the B886, I needed to be on to my left, but the direct route was guarded by a dense plantation and The Bay River. After picking my through the de-afforested area I arrived at The Fairy Bridge, close to the junction with the A850. Besides being a ford for the fairies, there is another story set in Skye folklore about the bridge:-

“In folklore a Chief of the MacLeods married a fairy and they lived together on Skye. She was only permitted to be together with him for a year after which she had to return to her people. – the bridge marks where she departed. She left their son wrapped in a silken shawl which, as the Fairy Flag, could be used three times to save or protect the clan. The Fairy Flag can still be seeing Dunvegan Castle. It features in two significant events for the Clan, one in particular for Waternish being the burning of Trumpan Church and the Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke”. (SourceWaternish website)

The bridge was also a focal point for meetings of the crofting community during the disruptive periods of the 19th century.

Looking back at Dunvegan Castle
At Clairgan heading up to Beinn Bhreac
The summit of Beinn Bhreac
The Fairy Bridge
Looking back up to Beinn Bhreac

I continued up the B886, and it was good to have solid ground beneath me after the trackless moor I had just come down off. A short, sharp and very heavy shower hit me as I passed through the hamlet of Lusta. I did manage to shelter in a BT phone box, but I was already very wet. I was not particularly bothered though as it was still quite warm. Most of the cars that passed me were heading to the small village of Stein  and its lochside Inn, which I looked down on from higher up the hillside.

At Stein the B886 ended and the road continued on, as I did, up a minor road. I checked my bike was still there, as I was about to do a loop of the Waternish Peninsular. I continued along the strung out settlement to the end of the public road at Trumpan. A good track continued out towards Waternish Point, with a few boggy bits on route. I passed two Brochs, Dun Borrafiach and Dun Gearymore, both were just piles of rubble and I was too tired to examine them close up. The clouds had cleared now and I got superb views over Loch Dunvegan, Duirinish and the Western Isles. I continued on to the ruin at Unish, close to the end of the Waternish Peninsular.

Looking down on Stein with Dunvegan Head in the background
Looking north towards Hallistra
Zoomed shot out to the Western Isles with the church and radio tower at Rodel on South Harris just visible
Lamb with single black leg colouring
Memorial to Roderick MaCleod

At Unish the track ended and I turned south heading over trackless open moor. The going was good at first, but gradually deteriorated over the next 3km through knee-high heather, bog and deep spongy moss. I was really glad to arrive at the sheep pens near the end of the public road at Geary.

Cal Mac ferry rounding Waternish Point bound for Loch Maddy – North Uist
Arriving at the sheep pens close to Geary, after some tough walking

I was really flagging at this point and then something wonderful happened!! In the hamlet of Geary I saw a type of bird I had never ever seen before. It was the size of a Blackbird, but had a PINK BODY. I was intrigued and took a couple of photos. Back home I posted a photo of the bird on a Bird forum site. Immediately, I had a response back. This was a Rosy Starling – a bird I had never even heard of and a very rare visitor to these shores. A sighting last year in Ipswich had 200 people turning up in some estate cul-de-sac to try to get a sighting. Someone on the forum had posted they had contacted the Recorder for the Isle of Skye and that I may be contacted for further details. I feel really privileged to have seen this bird – I just wish I had taken more and better photos of this rare visitor.

A Rosy Starling – a very rare bird to these shores

After the excitement of the funny-coloured bird (although at the time I was not aware of the significance of the sighting) I turned my attention to getting the last 3 or more miles done. I was quite tired, but the views across The Ascrib Islands and across to Trotternish were stunning. I continued through the hamlet of Gillen and then down a rough track to Stein. The bike ride back to the car was not bad, as the road had few ups and downs and a tail wind.

Looking across Loch Snizort and the Ascrib Islands to the Trotternish Peninsular
My new big tent at Edinbane close to Loch Greshornish

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 =  25 miles
Total distance =  4,114miles




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:



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