Thursday, 15 October 2009
From the archives: Tuesday 12 October 2004
Well, all good things must come to an end. On Tuesday morning, I moodily packed up my things. Unfortunately, when I came down to Kildonan, my backpack was transported to the house for me. So its weight came as an unpleasant surprise. Said goodbye to my hosts and lumbered across to the pier in 60 minutes. That is actually normal time, especially bearing in mind I diverted through the Lodge Gardens. On arrival at the pier, the Eiggach were in great confusion regarding The Boat. It was very well known that the regular one, Lochnevis, was away for its refit. The Raasay, a very much smaller craft, was taking its place for cargo. At midday, a mast appeared above the pier and everybody streamed down to have a look. No passengers. At 1pm, another cry "the boat is here" sent me scurrying down the pier again. This time round, it was for passengers. I could see nothing of it until I got to the point where John Cormack was standing. "Erm, John?" I went. "Did they wash Lochnevis at too high a temperature?" The Ullin Staffa was really wee. But a lot faster than Lochnevis. It covered the distance to Mallaig in 60 minutes, where the regular ferry takes 80 minutes. On departure from the pier at 1.15, the sea was choppy, and we took over a fair amount of seaspray. Some of the kids turned green and were sent out on deck for some fresh air. One young girl was beyond help and proceeded to spew up over the side. Nice. The adults stuck to their devices for keeping seasickness at bay. Arrival in Mallaig at 2.15, and we had to clamber onto the loading ramp for Coruisk, the Skye ferry. This materialized at 2.40. Coruisk was taken into service on 14/8/03, only to be taken out again before the month was out because she had lost a propellor on entering Mallaig Harbour. I had to wait for a bus for 2 hours at Armadale. I walked down the road to Aird for a bit, sat on a grassy knoll and had a coke in the local pub. On return at the main road, I stood waiting for the 5.35 from Armadale Pier, when one of the shopkeepers advised me that "this was not a stop". No. But the bus would stop there anyhow. However, I didn't want a row, so I dutifully toddled off to the Pier and boarded the number 52 for Broadford at 5.35.