Day 215: Waternish to Uig
Distance: 31.05 miles
Ascent: 3001 feet
Weather: Overcast, Frequent Rain Showers
Accommodation: Uig Campsite (Kindly Complimentary)
Though I had struggled to find a pitch spot last night, the tiny patch by the forest track I had found worked very well and I had a good night’s sleep. It was raining when I woke up and on looking out of the flap it did not appear it was going to stop so I had to depitch in the rain. I did this as quickly as possible and then was on my way.
The first six miles or so would dictate how the day would go (or that was what I was expecting) as after a couple of miles of forest track walking I was expecting several miles of off piste to head across to Diubaig. I was hopeful that the forest track may now go further as based on the contours if they were going to chop part of the fir forest down they would extend it in the direction I was aiming.
After the 2 miles the track did indeed carry on which I was very glad about, and I actually carried on along it for an extra 2 miles or so before it started to head in the wrong direction, so I had to head off piste. At this point it was trying to follow the cleared alleys through the trees using deer tracks to avoid the worst of the ground conditions, and though boggy and quite uneven I fairly easily made it to another forest track shown on my map. I then descended down this for a bit before I had another half a mile to head off piste to reach the bay at Diubaig, a deserted settlement. Randomly there was a very old way marker (it was now white as all colour had faded off for an idea of age) here pointing down where I wanted to go. This gave me hope but it shouldn’t have as this section was the hardest part (though not too tough by recent standards), with above head bracken and a few trees to navigate through and around before finally reaching the bay. I had one final obstacle which was to cross the river but as the boots are new and fully waterproof (I hope!) I could risk walking through slightly deeper water and got across without issue and stopped for a well needed break.
This first part had gone smoother than expected and after taking a little path I reached the road at Greshornish. I would be on roads for most of the rest of the day. I reached Edinbane fairly quickly and as I was a little short on food and I thought the shop in Uig would be shut either if I reached it today (too late) or tomorrow (Sunday), I stopped in the Inn to grab some food.
I was essentially following the busy A850 for roughly the next 10 miles to Skeabost Bridge, with a few little diversions, but fortunately I barely had to set foot on the road because there were a mix of pavements and little paths and routes locals had made all the way.
It had been a day of rain showers coming in every 15 minutes or so and it had started to take its toll being rained on, on and off, constantly for the last 4 days. But I had been formulating a bit of a plan to extend today by a long way, 11 miles, to Uig. This may sound mad as I was already tired, but it would help with the food situation and also help me getting to my rest day location earlier tomorrow which would allow me to get everything dry, and also give me time to head to Portee on bus if needed for internet or food.
So, I carried on from Skeabost Bridge, following the road mainly and I realised fairly soon I was really tired. I had no snacks left only food to cook (or I could eat one of my emergency military rations cold) so I could not give myself a boost. But I carried on along the road until the metronome of walking sort of kept me going, this was not enjoyable as I knew I was on my physical limit but then about half way along this stretch I saw a sign on a house saying eggs (very common and not a lot of use uncooked) but more importantly home baked goods. I was seriously hoping there was something in the shelves and halleluiah there was. I bought the three remaining baked goods; 2 large slices of fruit cake which I ate straight away, and some Irish Drop Scones (I know I hadn’t heard of them either) for breakfast and a little jar of raspberry jam and all for £5 which felt quite good value.
This had rejuvenated me and I must thank Isle of Skye Pantry for this little honesty food station. I was getting very tired but finally made it to Uig and saw a sign for a campsite and unknown to me though the shop was shut as expected, the petrol station was open and had a quite good shop, so I stocked up on a couple of bits and then headed to Uig campsite where the lady kindly let me pitch for free.
There was going to be one last challenge of the day getting the tent up as a little squall came through, it was literally the only time of the day that the wind got strong and this combined with the rain made putting the tent up a little tough, but I got it up maybe not quite as good as normal. I was truly exhausted and made sure I kept my sleeping mat and bag dry as everything around it, including the tent would be quite wet. But once in the sleeping bag I felt so content and happy and ate such an unhealthy dinner, of two steak slices, a large dairy milk, three 4 bar kitkats, a bag of crisps, a can of coke and literally must have fallen asleep immediately as the next thing I remember is the morning.
An exhausting but successful day, and hopefully it has set me up well for tomorrow.