Speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
“Onward!” the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that was born to be king!
O’er the sea to Skye.
Well, we’ll not be arriving in quite the same style (dressed as a lady’s maid to a local dignitary’s daughter); nor do I expect we’ll be being chased by the British Army, but Skye it is for an autumn holiday. For those who don’t know, Skye is the largest of the Hebridean islands (it’s just off the west coast of Scotland and looks a bit like a person waving their arms in the air, on the weather map). It’s so close to Scotland that 20 years ago they build a bridge to it, so alas, no “bonnie boat” for us, though since the ferry was put out of business the sailors have had something to cry about.
Others will be able to describe the geology of Skye better than I, but the broad picture is: formerly volcanic (black, igneous, hard rock) in the south; gently sliding sedimentary in the north and quite a nice red metamorphic rock in between. The rocks give three distinctly different types of walk: the high Munros, with scrambling up sharp caldera edges and stunning “middle-earth” like views of the Black Cuillin; the broad, open hill-sides, standing-stones and spires from “beyond the Wall” on the Trottenish Ridge; and the steep-sided domes of the Red Cuillin. We will aim to walk in and have (weather permitting) views of all three types of hills.
Our aim is to stay in a hostel in Portree – the island’s small capital town, with the accommodation for the 6 nights costing not more than £150. As with similar longer trips, we’ll be cooking in groups on an evening (there may be an extra cost, to cover the food bill), though breakfasts and lunches your should sort out for yourselves – there is a supermarket in Portree. The walks will be decided on when we’re there (the night before, in the pub), to account for what people want to see and what the weather is doing.
Skye is accessible by sea, but it’s quite a long way. When we’re on the island, we’ll require sufficient car space to be able to get to walks, but this doesn’t mean that you have to travel by car… If you do, it is recommended that you take two days about it, staying overnight in Scotland (near, or just north of Glasgow) on the way up and in northern England on the way down. Travelling by car (legally) will take you over 12 hours non-stop. Other options include the train (the most direct is via Inverness, where you can catch a bus to Portree; more scenically is via Fort William, where you can take the train to Mallaig (the Glen Finnan “Harry Potter” viaduct line), the ferry to Armadale ferry and a bus up to Portree. And finally you could fly to either Inverness or Glasgow and pickup either a car/train/bus from there.
So, if you want to join us please could you send me an email telling me:
a) who you are
b) if you’re planning to drive up (and are willing to let some come in your car for the entertainment, how many you could take, etc…) / want a lift up / will be travelling by some other way
c) if you will have a car available to you when we’re there – we require enough to make this work.