Along the Pentland Road, 25 May 2017

Thursday, 1 October 2009

From the archives: Friday 1 October 2004

At Inverness
Went to the station to catch a train to Kyle of Lochalsh. It's still a nice trip, and the weather has improved on yesterday's rain - at least it's dry. Trundle my way west in 2½ hours, arriving in Kyle at lunchtime. I go into the station building to have a look in the museum. Have to be careful with my pack, which I leave at the door. Part of the museum is without electricity as a result of flooding. Nice display of railway memorabilia. Walk into the village, after glancing out to the warship that lies moored at the pier. Nipped into the Tourist Information Office for some ideas, and there is a tour with a glass-bottemed boat. Before setting out, I walk through the village to a viewpoint above Kyle which looks out to Skye, the bridge and east up Loch Alsh. At 1.30, there is too little clientele in the tour, but at 2.30 there is sufficient interest to warrant the man to set forth. It's very interesting to look out under the water and see all the junk on the floor, the different types of fish and seaweed. We head out to a clump of skerries in the Kyle to view a colony of seals that are basking there. Not in the sun, it's cloudy. Then we sail to the far shore to observe the wreckage of a minelaying vessel which blew up in 1941. A fire had broken out on board, and it was towed across the Kyle. Had it blown up at the quayside, the village would have been devastated. View beds of seaweed on the way back to Kyle. After the trip in the glass-bottomed boat, I walk over the Skye Bridge to Kyleakin. Just before the span of the bridge proper, you pass the cottage on Eilean Ban, where Gavin Maxwell lived, of otter fame. He died there in 1969. There is a gate to the bridge, and I believe you can stay there. At the bottom of the bridge, I turn left on the roundabout and wander into the village. Kyleakin has improved for the better since the bridge came, 9 years ago. The big marshalling yard for the ferry is now a neat carpark. I arrive at the youth hostel at 4pm, an hour early. Leave the rucksack there and try to walk into a sideroad just off the bridge roundabout. The farm at the end has everything fenced off, so no access. Try the main road to Broadford, but that only has limited stretches of secluded old road. Have to double back to Kyleakin. Check into the hostel at 5pm and am allocated a bed in room 6, which has only 2 beds in it, plus a sink. Go downstairs to prepare my dinner and have a nice chat with other hostellers. Who describes my surprise when I meet up with some folk who were with me at Kirkwall earlier in the week. Use the laundramat. Saw a musical event advertised for tonight in the Saucy Mary pub, across the green. Go there at 10, but the music is no good, neither is the beer. Have a very poor night's sleep, on account of some heinous rattle and clanging in the pipes of the central heating system.

The ferries at Kyle of Lochalsh in 1992, before the bridge was built


Kyleakin Harbour


Kyleakin; Youth Hostel to the left, Skye Bridge to the right

1 comment:

  1. Great entry, and I love the pictures. (I also love the picture at the top of your blog!)

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