Archive for August 2012

Skye 2012 – a Monday motoring around Trotternish

Posted by on August 31st 2012 in Great Escapes, Summer Holidays

We had a late start on Monday, mainly due to having to wait for the kids to get out of bed. Seems that six miles of bracken-bashing and bog-trotting was far too much for them. Eventually we shoehorned them into the car and headed off for a drive around Trotternish.

The first stop was at Càrn Mor, where folk had been busy rearranging the shoreline. It reminded me of this:


More piles

From there we headed south towards Uig, with fine coastal views on the right, and then we went onwards to Portree to do some window-shopping. Sarnies were scoffed on the slipway:



United Colours of Portree

After picking up a polite parking-ticket from the local Feds we headed back up the eastern coast towards home, stopping at a few places to take in the wonderful scenery. A short stroll near Ellishadder led to the cliff-edge and some amazing views:

Looking southwards - Dùn Dearg and Rubha nam Brathairean

Looking northwards - Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock

From a distance the cliff-edge railings seem like just a safety feature, it's only when you get near them in a breeze that you realise that they're musical:

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From there we continued the leisurely drive back to the cottage, with a few more stops for sightseeing.

After another evening of chilling-out the others went to bed while I stayed up watching the stars again for a few hours - the skies were utterly cloudless, the air was warm and still, and the Milky Way was an amazing sight. I took more pics, I'll post them sometime soon.

To be continued...

Skye 2012 – a Sunday stroll

Posted by on August 30th 2012 in Great Escapes, Summer Holidays

Sunday morning was dry and calm, with the rest of the day forecast to be warm and sunny, so we decided that a gentle walk was a good idea. While the others got ready I sat outside watching the birds and the sea:

There were many of these things in and around the garden

Stac Lachlainn and Rubha Bheanachain

The decision was to head for Rubha Hunish, the northernmost tip of Skye, to see if we could spot any whales and/or otters. Here's the route:

The Rubha Hunish route


Suitably armed with navigation aids, Smidge, binoculars, cameras and very little else, we headed off towards the bay. Here's a shot of the view behind from a point halfway to the bay:

A look back

Another look back, from near the bay

We took a break at the small car-park/picnic area by the bay while the kids went down to the shoreline. There were many mackerel shoals in the bay, so we resolved to return later with the fishing tackle. There'll be more about that later, but for now here's a shot of the bay:

Kilmaluag Bay at low tide

We backtracked a few yards and bypassed the graveyard, taking a fair track that was heading in the right direction. There was a fair bit of wildlife on display:

Scotch Argus (Erebia aethiops)

This thing was over twice the size of the Buzzards that were common over the ground in front of the cottage. Judging by that and by the calls that it was sending out, we're fairly convinced that it was an Eagle of some sort

Yet another look back

After a short diversion to avoid climbing a barbed-wire fence we eventually arrived at the Lookout Bothy which is supposed to be the best place for spotting whales, basking sharks and other such beasties. Needless to say, we saw none despite giving it our best efforts. The view was to die for, my camera skills do it no justice whatsoever:

Rubha Hunish and the view towards Harris and Lewis

Looking up The Minch, Eilean Trodday on the right

The Lookout Bothy

270° panorama with dodgy stitch-work

270° view in a scrolly-thing that works when it feels like it

We decided that the clamber down to the headland wasn't for us so we picked out a route past the eerie deserted settlement of Erisco and headed towards Duntulm, being in need of sustenance. We kept watching the shoreline but saw none of the resident otters. On the way we found loads of these critters:

I'm fairly sure that this is a Fox Moth caterpillar

We decided that the best point of vantage for viewing Duntulm Castle was the garden of the Duntulm Castle Hotel, as it had obvious other attractions:

Duntulm Castle

The roadblock benches were remarkably comfortable, allegedly:

R & R

The intake of an appropriate amount of alcohol made the short road-walk to the cottage quite bearable... until the need for the loo kicked in. During the last few hundred yards there were many moans, funny walks and contorted facial expressions:

Strained relations


Back at the cottage we took some relief and had a relaxing evening. I was in surprisingly fine fettle considering how bad my back had been during the previous couple of weeks, I put the recovery down to having an excellent driver's seat.

Before bedtime we were treated to a fine sunset:

Blue and Orange

Later the clouds departed and after midnight the sky was alive with stars and a fair few meteors. I did take some pics but I'll leave them for a suitable post later on.

To be continued...

Skye 2012 – getting there

Posted by on August 28th 2012 in Great Escapes, Summer Holidays

There's not a lot to tell about the journey out. Because of the distance we'd decided to break the driving into sections, the first stop on Friday was at the Little Chef at Penrith for a decent meal, then we made our way towards Glasgow.

The overnight stay at Cumbernauld Travelodge wasn't as dull as we'd expected, as within 10 minutes of arrival we were all evacuated to the car-park because somebody had triggered the smoke alarms and we had to wait for the Fire Service to attend and deal with the situation. The kids enjoyed the free light-and-sound show provided by the fire appliances.

Next morning we were back on the road, heading for a superb breakfast at The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum. From there it was a mad dash to Fort William to stock up on basic supplies and then onwards through magnificent but cloudy scenery to Dornie Bridge where we stopped for snacks and the obligatory photo of Eilean Donan Castle:

Eilean Donan Castle

After crossing Skye Bridge the last leg of the trip was the slow scenic drive up the eastern edge of Skye to Kilmaluag and our home for the week:


Three allegedly-wise monkeys

The view from the cottage

The same view in a scrolly-thing

After settling in and getting the wood-burner stoked we spent the evening watching buzzards quartering the fields and generally chilling-out before turning in for a well-deserved early night.

To be continued...

Back from Skye

Posted by on August 27th 2012 in Great Escapes, Summer Holidays

1333.3 miles on the clock, 31 gallons in the tank and 532 photos in the camera.

Expect pics and reports in due course.

Here's a spoiler:

Firing blanks

Posted by on August 15th 2012 in In the News, LMAO!

Some folk take things far too seriously.

I’ll be blunt…

Posted by on August 9th 2012 in A bit of a rant

That's what happens when you leave your A-standard qualifiers at home.

P&G: Proud to be sexist?

Posted by on August 4th 2012 in A bit of a rant

About a week ago I watched Jacques Rogge make his speech at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. In that speech he said:

"For the first time in Olympic history all the participating teams will have female athletes. This is a major boost for gender equality."

Sadly, that spirit of gender equality doesn't seem to extend to all of the official sponsors. One of them disregards Dads, and even seems proud of having done so:


Still, it's not as if this sort of officially-approved sexism is rife in our land of equality, is it?

My legs are grey, my ears are gnarled, my eyes are old and bent.

Apologies for the lack of regular posts. I fear that I'm becoming a virtual hiker...


Outdoorsy stuff

For me it's all on hold after the latest consultation. The expert reckons that I might have to wait another six months for my insides to heal fully, only then will they consider a further procedure to remove the tags and piles that were caused by the original op. Any exertion aggravates said tags, leading to inflammation, infection and blockage, this means that I only get limited exercise which in turn has led to significant muscle-loss and a reduction of core body strength. I'm now so unfit that wielding the vacuum-cleaner for only 10 minutes on Wednesday resulted in me straining my back and now I'm confined to quarters and popping the Ibuprofens. Looks like our week in Skye later this month will be a sightseeing tour rather than an opportunity to assault some classic ridges and peaks.



Well, I have plenty of time to watch the events on the box as I'm pretty much a captive audience. Anna's down The Smoke right now on a school-trip, she was in the basketball arena this evening watching Team GB v France and Team USA v The Czech Republic, where the Beeb's camera caught her and her friends doing their bit of a magnificent Mexican Wave. After overnighting at Eton College she'll be spending the morning in Greenwich Park watching the equestrian events.



I have plenty of time for this too, but the weather's been naff at night. On the odd occasions when it's been cloudless the jetstream has been playing havoc with the seeing - the last time I imaged the Moon it looked like someone was pouring water over it:




Hailstorm damage

The Loss Adjuster's been around and we have agreed terms. We've already been paid out for damage to the outbuildings, primarily because I'd done the pricing-up myself, but we're still waiting for builders to provide quotes for the repairs to the house roof and the windows. There's so much property damage around here that we're on a long waiting-list for repair-work, we're looking at mid- to late-September at the earliest.


Ah well, never mind, things could be worse.

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