Back to the Mainland
This was our final full day in Scotland – we’d be heading back to the Fort William Premier Inn and returning the hire-car – but as that wasn’t required until around 4pm, we would have plenty of time to continue to explore on our way back. Again I wanted to mix up the familiar with some new places, and needed to plan a suitably timed lunch-break at somewhere that would have tasty dad-friendly options, and that would be open on a wet winter weekday.
A morning on Skye – back to Elgol
Dad and I agreed that he’d like to see the wonderful view from Elgol (B) one last time, and we knew we would have time to do that, even with a leisurely breakfast, and a chance for me to have a little walk down to the shore opposite the Anchorage (A). The day had dawned promising much – wind and cloud primarily, but with large breaks in the clouds allowing the sun to come through. The temperature had also dropped significantly, and I expected that there would likely be some snow on the mountain-tops should we be able to see them.
As we were leaving, we, by chance, met Moira (the old owner of the Anchorage, who we knew from our previous visit) arriving back at her cottage next door. She’d remembered us from previously which was lovely, and whilst dad was unable to have a chat, he clearly also had memories of her as hostess (and of her lovely dog, Nan, who was old back in 2010, and hence sadly no longer alive).
We then headed to Elgol across the superbly scenic roads across Skye, which offer views of mountains, rivers, and the wonderful jagged coastline. As we drove towards Elgol and the Cuillin, there were tantalising glimpses of clearer skies, and of snow capped peaks, and as we reached the end of the road at the coast, the clouds over the Cuillin had lifted sufficiently to highlight the view over the windswept blue sea. One thing I really noticed this trip was the different colours of the rocks on the shore – I just hadn’t appreciated the sheer range of them before!
Detour to Kylerhea – a bit of a “fail”
I had read that Kylerhea (the other end of the Glenelg ferry – not running in winter) had an otter hide, and thought that might be a nice thing to do before we hit the mainland. Kylerhea lies along a another long single track road (and one that climbs quite high) that comes off the main A87 about halfway between Broadford and the Skye Bridge. As I drove our way towards another dead-end, with the “lunch-clock” ticking for both of us (I may have mentioned that most of the trip revolved around the location of the next meal), the clouds began to drop snow. This was all beginning to seem like a bit of a mistake – more so when we finally reached the otter hide car park, which was a good 100m above sea level, and at the start of at least a mile of (at that time of year) muddy walking. A bit of a reminder to do proper research, not just glance at a leaflet in a B&B for 3 minutes! I took a couple of murky photos of the sea channel between Kylerhea and Glenelg through the sleety drizzle, and then dived back in the car to head back to the main road, the mainland, and lunch in Plockton.
Palm trees in Plockton
Yes – palm trees at 57 degrees north! Plockton (D) lies on Loch Carron, and is sheltered from the prevailing winds, and (like the rest of the West Coast) is warmed by the effects of the Gulf Stream. This means that a few palm trees cling on. I’d wanted to visit Plockton on previous visits but never found the time. The village hugs a bay on Loch Carron, just north of Kyle of Lochalshe, and has a collection of lovely houses, views over the Loch, islands and castle, and is even served by the train from Inverness. We finally reached Plockton around 1pm, and found food available at the rather lovely Plockton Shores. They were really accommodating of dad, who really didn’t fancy another seafood lunch (I had another exceptionally tasty chowder), and they rustled him up a bacon sandwich. It must have done him some real good, as he was then willing to brave the increasingly bitter wind for a mosey around before we got back into the car for the drive over the hills to Fort William. I was somewhat distracted by the thought of having to cross the higher ground near Invergarry on the journey, as the temperature seemed to be dropping, and there was a definitely increasing chance of snow too. Following our wander past the “famous” palm trees, it was back to the car for our drive. Continued on Page 2 after the pictures!