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Published: August 25th 2006
After a full Scottish breakfast, cooked by Liz after dropping Finn at nursery, we packed the car and headed for the M8. After skirting around Glasgow we crossed the Erskine Bridge and saw the Waverley paddling down the Clyde towards Greenock.
Moving on we had a very quick trip into Lomond Shores, where we popped into Hawkshead and Misty Glen (the little jewellery shop), and to the tourist information office. (where surprise surprise we picked up some leaflets!!)
We drove on up the western shore of the Loch, stopping in a couple of places for photos and a spot of stone skimming. (Toby is a lot better at that than me!) It had been arranged that we would meet Mum and Dad for lunch, and after a couple of phone calls through the morning plotting our respective progress it was agreed that we would meet in Tyndrum, where we had booked a campsite for the night.
It was a slow trawl around the top part of the Loch and towards Tyndrum as we were stuck behind a number of caravans, and there is a part of the road, where there is permanently traffic lit alternate file
traffic which leads to a bit of a queue.
Superb fish suppers for lunch from the ‘Real Food Café’ during which we heard a bit about Mum and Dad’s holiday in the borders and then in the last couple of days in Fort William, Inverness and Pitlochry. After saying our farwell, Toby and I headed to the campsite to pitch our tent.
The weather remained bright, so after a walk to explore the local area, we decided to take the car out and see things a little further afield. A single track road with passing places took us along the Glen of Orchy (amazing views and just so peaceful) and then we took the A85 out to the west through Dalmally and past Loch Awe to Taynuilt, where we found a small road down to Brachroy (with jetty you could walk out onto, we were completely surrounded by the Loch waters and great views, the scale is not quite done justice by the photos, but they give an indication). On the return journey to the campsite we fancied the challenge of a little windy road, and what should we see, but some Highland Cows.
After returning to
camp, we had dinner of tinned soup and fig rolls and coffee, after which we had to retire to the tent to escape the midges. We did a couple of those arrow words that you and I have tackled in the past (the ones in the orange book!) and then slept soundly in your tent.
An early start as the West Highland Way walkers who were in our campsite were up early too. A quick breakfast of coffee at the campsite, and then on the road towards Fort William, through the pass at Glencoe. The weather was ominous and as we sat in the car eating our tin of fruit cocktail and drinking our fruit juice we were surrounded by low cloud and shower rain. The pass was impressive and a little threatening (due I think to the dark skies).
After leaving the pass we arrived in Fort William in the late morning and after stopping for a coffee in Morrisons we bought tickets to take the railway from Fort William to Mallaig on the scenic West Highland Line (we thought that although dull the weather might be looking up.) A packed lunch was procured from Morrisons
and we boarded the train. The journey to Mallaig was impressive and in particular the sight of the Glenfinnan viaduct and Neptune’s Staircase (a series of 8 locks on the Caledonian Canal) but the weather was going downhill and by the time we reached Mallaig at 13.30 it was steadily drizzling. We explored the coffee shops, book shop and Spar shop, went for a bit of an explore through the back roads, that brought us up to someone’s back garden, and then admitting defeat retired to a bar for a well deserved pint while waiting for the train to be departing at 1610.
On arriving back into Fort William we took the car and booked into our B&B ‘Fernbank’ the room was a bit chintzy, but warm and clean. After a freshen up and unpack we headed into town to find somewhere to eat, the owner recommended the local Brewers Fayre, but it was full and we fancied somewhere a bit more local. We ended up in a Chinese restaurant after finding all other eateries full (we found out later from Mum and Dad that this was because an enormous place with a few restaurants in it had burnt
to the ground a couple of weeks previously). A short walk took us back to Fernbank and then to bed.
We were booked in for breakfast at 8.30, where we both had a cooked breakfast and then regretted it (it was very greasy!), the owners recommended a trip to Eilean Donan castle north on the A87. We had no accommodation for the evening, so decided to head north and see where we ended up.
There was plenty of rain on the way, and we also caught up with a mad Belgian driver who we had the misfortune to come across out side Tyndrum (where he parked his car up on a bend in the road to take photos!!) Driving on through the rain, we passed Inverary, Loch Gary and paused to take some snaps at Eilean Donan castle. The weather held for the photos, but we decided not to pause for a tour, but press on towards Skye.
We crossed the newly un-tolled Skye bridge and drove into Kyleakin which was surprisingly busy. Turning around we headed north on the island and stopped for coffee and a cake at the Skye serpentarium where they have 50
odd lizards, snakes and frogs (a number of which have come from seizures by HM Customs at Heathrow). We didn’t see the animals, but the coffee and cake was very nice. We headed towards Portree (the main town on Skye) and upon arrival found that the Skye Highland games were taking place on the day, so booked into the Torvaig campsite while we could. After a quick lunch we headed back into Portree to take a look at the games. There were a couple of pipe bands playing, and we also caught the tossing of the caber. (very Scottish!!)
In the evening we explored the north of the island in broken sunshine, and Toby had a big gang of sheep rush out onto the road in front of him!!
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