Graham Clark (zotz) wrote,
Graham Clark

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Back from Skye

South to Kylerhea

Midges and otters and seals (Oh my!)
Sunday morning wasn't clear. It was misty and, later on, wet. Very wet. Fortunately we weren't really planning sightseeing as we had to get back. After we'd paid up and thanked our landlady for a very pleasant stay, we headed south as far as Broadford, where we stopped to pick up food from the Co-op and investigate the possibilities for boat trips. We decided against, and in favour of visiting an otter sanctuary right by the Kylerhea ferry. First, though, we popped into a local hotel for tea and shortbread, which was very pleasant and civilised. After that, further south then right at the airport and over a hilly (and obviously very picturesque) road to Kylerhea. There's a turnoff left to the sanctuary, which is part of a Forestry Commission plantation and therefore done in their usual solid unflashy style.

We parked up and immediately hit a problem with midges. This was the only time on Skye when they got really annoying for me, but fortunately there were various sorts of repellent available, including a tube of what I understand has become the Royal Marines' favourite. Even without them biting, clouds of the little buggers are not pleasant things to be trying to avoid inhaling, so I tried to keep moving so they wouldn't catch up. I did end up getting some bites up my sleeves where I didn't put any cream (something to remember for next time, obviously) but I think my hands and head were fine. They were mobbing the toilet, too, which raised unfortunate possibilities.

Down the track, though, there was an enclosed hide with proper glass windows and binoculars to watch for otters, seals, and anything else that might pass. It didn't take long to spot a couple of otters out off the shore, floating around then diving, and soon we spotted the first seal head too (presumably there being a seal body attached just below the waterline, of course). The water was flowing westwards quite quickly as the tide ebbed, and a couple of boats were making very slow headway against it. We were there for an hour or so and then decided we should be heading.

Eireann and Sharon headed north towards Kyleakin and the bridge, while the rest of us stayed at Kylerhea for the ferry. Apparently it's the last manual turntable ferry in the world. What this means is that the deck that the cars sit on rotates sideways to let them on and off (the ferry doesn't approach the slipway head-on, presumably do to shallows or rocks or something). The crew of two do this. Interesting. There was another otter quite close as we waited for the ferry to arrive, and both otters and seals as we went over.

Home again

The road from the Isles

The road from the other slipway goes along a glen, over a saddle and joins the main road (to and from Kyle of Lochalsh) at the head of Loch Duich (Shiel Bridge, in fact). It's another lovely trip with a spectacular view and I spent part of it (and part of the Great Glen, too) wondering what it would be like to fly down the glens. Shades of 633 Squadron, of course. I think we lost Martin and Sandy somewhere in Glen Shiel, and soon after that we stopped above Loch Garry, as we'd decided that that's the one that looks a bit like a map of Scotland. While having tea and biscuits, a familiar-looking car went past, followed by a cry of "Eireann and Sharon - catch up with them!" So we did and followed them as far as Spean Bridge, where they went East and we went on to Fort Bill.

Lara filled the car up there, and then we went down through Glencoe and a very soggy Rannoch Moor, going onwards from Crianlarich through the Trossachs. It was fairly uneventful. I must remember to visit Loch Lednock at some point. Edge of Darkness finishes there and I'd like to know if it was actually shot there. It's not far from Crieff, so it should be manageable.

We didn't see Stirling or Bridge of Allan on the way back, which suited me just fine. Rain has its uses. I put my feet up for the rest of the evening, I think.

Tags: ferry, midges, otters, seals, skye, the storr
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