Day 214: Milovaig to Waternish
Distance: 25.74 miles
Ascent: 3392 feet
Weather: Overcast, WIth Light/Moderate Rain
Accommodation: Wild camp Waternish
Neil had produced me the most enormous breakfast of porridge to start and then a huge Full Scottish Breakfast which was lovely but I had eaten so much I had to slightly delay my leaving time. On top of this Anne had made me a packed lunch that I would only find out later contained 8 albeit small sandwiches. I had had such a lovely time at Clach Ghlas and everyone had been so kind.
It was misty again today and still raining a little as I left so I went for full waterproofs. Within a few minutes of waking I knew this was a mistake as I was boiling and already sweating this may have been partially due to leaving too soon after eating a massive breakfast. I decided not to remove the waterproofs until I had done the short off piste part from Milovaig around the end of Loch Pooltiel and to the road on the other side but as soon as I was across they all came off and I downed a load of water. I have to admit I was slightly worried by how hot I had got as it did feel a bit unnatural given that the temperature was not that hot.
Anyway, the single-track road I was on now would take me through Feriniquarrie before climbing up and over a heather clad plateau to Uig. From Uig I followed a different road south vaguely following the edge of the Loch all the way to Skinidin and then after a left turn reaching Dunvegan. Up until this point on Skye I had been surprised by the lack (almost completely devoid) of touristy cafes, shops, restaurants etc. but in Dunvegan there was everything several cafes, a hot food van, a couple of restaurants, gift shops to name a few.
I did not need any of these as I had my packed lunch which I ate (well what I could of it) down by the loch in front of Dunvegan. After the hot sweats earlier I have to admit I was starting to worry a bit more as my body was not enjoying eating and I actually had to force myself to eat which never happens. But I was not too bad so carried on but something was definitely not quite right as my stomach was very tense and I had gone quite lethargic, this has happened on the walk before once or twice and is quite disconcerting and I am not sure why it happens. Though this was the worse I have had it on the walk, I randomly thought a fizzy drink may help so had one of them and then slowly carried on. After an hour or so it started to ease a bit and I was able to walk more freely.
From Dunvegan I headed up to just outside Dunvegan Castle (have to pay to actually see it), before turning onto a path that slowly became a lovely forest track across to the other side of the peninsula. This was a lovely relaxing part of the walk. Towards the end of this I came across the tiniest highland cattle calve and his mum, he cannot have been more than a few days old.
I had a brief section on one of Skye’s main roads the A850 before crossing the Fairy Bridge. As with everything on Skye the Fairy Bridge has a story which in brief goes that the chief of the MacLeod Clan wanted to marry a fairy and Oberon allowed it before the fairy had to return to her own people after a year and a day having yielded the leader a child, but when the child cried one day the fairy returned and placed a fairy shawl over him which has been preserved and is the Fairy Flag of the Macleod Clan which still flies at Dunvegan Castle. From here I followed a quiet single-track road heading north. I started to get quite tired along this road and still had a couple of hours to go, so I decided if there was a café or pub open in Stein a small village I would stop for 20 minutes to try and get myself going again. Fortunately, there was a little café in a yurt and after having the most calorific hot chocolate and a piece of brownie I honestly couldn’t imagine walking so asked the girl if there may be a possibility of pitching on the site (it is called Skyeskyns and is one of only two sheep skin tanneries in the GB). She went and asked but the owners weren’t on site, so the manager didn’t think they could let me without their permission.
At the time this was a bit of a let down but was actually probably a blessing, as my next 2 days already totalled 54 miles and would have been even longer if I had stopped short. Having spoken to someone in the café who had walked up the path to Unish today they said it would not be possible to head back down the other side from their to Geary (which I had proposed to do off piste tomorrow), I do not always listen to people regards paths as most of the time on this walk when people have given advice about paths it has been wrong but they genuinely did seem to know what they were talking about and had been there today so I quickly looked at maps and shifted the route a bit.
I had chosen to turn off at Halistra and take the small road across to Geary instead and would do that this evening and pitch just after the village. This was an easy walk and on leaving Geary to the south on a farmers/timber lorries gravel track it became clear finding a pitch spot may not be too easy as it was a boggy, heather clad area. So, as it was dry I decided to continue on the track until I found somewhere suitable and after a mile and a half I found a narrow patch of grass by the gravel track only a meter or so wide and long enough that would just about take my tent.
I was relieved once I got my tent up and was straight in it and I am sure I will sleep well tonight. It also started raining only 10 or so minutes after pitching my tent so it was quite satisfying to be inside.
A weird day as the actual walking should have been easy but my body was not feeling quite right. But by the end if felt fine so hopefully after a good nights sleep everything will be fine in the morning.
NB - though today turned out not to be too wet in the end, camera had been placed in my bag so not the greatest shots.