Day 219: Portree to Broadford
Distance: 30.74 miles
Ascent: 3406 feet
Weather: Cyclic Showers and Sun
Accommodation: Camping Skye, Broadford (Kindly Allowed)
The pitch spot had been good and after a good nights sleep I was ready to pack up and leave. I got my bag ready, got everything out of the tent and was about to depitch when suddenly a proper downpour started. I quickly threw my bag under a tree and got under the tree myself and waited the 10 minutes or so for the rain to pass and then depitched and got on my way. The rain did mean that Portree was framed by a beautiful rainbow.
It was going to be one of those days where in general it was nice with patches of sun but with these heavy downpours just drifting though every so and often. I had decided to extend today to Broadford (a 9 mile or so extension) to help with the 5th day this week which I thought would be very tough and the terrain today should be fairly easy. I set off, looking down towards the very colourful and quaint harbourside cottages and I had decided to give myself a rare treat of a sit-down breakfast in Portree but unbelievably nowhere with seating appeared to be open so I grabbed a tea and a bacon roll and ate it standing by the road as all the benches were sodden.
I was going to be following the route of the Skye Trail for the first part to Sligachan, and after leaving Portree by the road, where the pavement stopped, a path had been formed that dropped down to the foreshore and followed the edge of Loch Portree up until the bridge where it joined a single track road that headed towards the Braes. I was on this scenic road for about 6 miles right to it’s end where there was a little parking area and table.
At last it looked like the weather might be clearing properly for a while and the sun was out, and after having yo-yoed on and off with my wet weather I was glad that it looked like I might get a good distance without it. There was a path from this point which cut across the slope, occasionally dropping down to the beach and at each stream or river crossing though not always completely simple it was possible to cross without taking boots off. I really enjoyed this section which culminated at the campsite and pub at Sligachan.
It had been apparent there was an issue on the roads, because as I walked the previous section on the path, the road on the other side of the loch was gridlocked. This was now the section I was having to walk which is the main road through the island to Portree. Being gridlocked for me was good as it meant the road was slow moving for the 3 miles until my turnoff, but unfortunately there had been 2 serious crashes on the road to Portee, which had led to the road being closed and very sadly there had been a fatality of a local.
I turned off at the Isle of Skye Golf Club onto the Maol road, this is a public road but you would get a shock if you drove it as it is in a bad state in many parts. It did though make for a lovely walk (apart from the now more regular rain) mostly very close to the loch edge and I was sad to leave it after 6 miles to re-join the busy main road.
This next part was essentially my extension for the day to Broadford, and I was not looking forward to it as I would be following the main road for the whole 9 miles. There is not much to say about this stretch other than it was verge walking, with many vehicles including coaches/HGVs flying by at high speed. But about a mile and a half short of Broadford at the forest car park, finally I joined a path that took a lovely route through the fir trees to the outskirts of Broadford.
Camping Skye had very kindly offered to let me pitch for free, even though they are not actually open to tents until 2020 (only campervans at moment) due to just having opened and grass needing time to grow and settle. I will firstly say this is an amazingly designed campsite and all the facilities are amazing and by 2020 it will be great for tents. But due to the grass areas not being allowed to pitch on I was shown to a very boggy/muddy looking area and I should have just politely declined but I did the stupid British thing of just politely accepting as they had been kind enough to offer. I hoped this wouldn’t come back to haunt me in the morning. I feel bad slating the pitch spot after the ladies kindness and she let me use the fast internet in the reception too, as well as the facilities free of charge.
A long, but successful day which should set me up well for the rest of the week but I am going to sleep very anxious about what state I will wake up in the morning.