Day 203: Ratagan to Kyleakin

Distance: 19.12 miles

Ascent: 2109 feet

Weather: OVercast but Dry

Accommodation: Skye Backpackers


I had finally found somewhere for my rest day which was in Kyleakin just on Skye. This would mean a 19 mile or so, flat, road walk. The weather was still quite bad when I was having breakfast but by the time I was ready to leave the rain/drizzle had stopped and thankfully bar a couple of very short patches there was no more rain.

I set of on the quiet road down to Shiel Bridge where I would be joining the busier A87 pretty much for the whole day, fortunately at this point it had a pavement. Not long later as I was passing the Kintail Lodge Hotel I bumped into the Canterbury lot again who were just getting ready to drive to the airport and fly home. I must say I have been very impressed by their whole DofE set up with great remote routes and better organised than anything I did during DofE.

The next 6 miles were a mixture of pavement and verge walking along the side of the busy road with the many campervans, coaches and general tourists until Eilean Donan, the picturesque castle on the loch. I was stunned by what I was seeing at Eilan Donan as coach after coach after coach turned up and there were marshals directing the cars out of full carparks and into other carparks further down the road. The sheer number of tourists was like nothing I have seen anywhere else in Scotland so far and was on a par with some of the big tourist locations around the world. I took a quick photo and just wanted to get out of there because there were far too many people.

Just across the river I saw a sign for a bakery, and it was on my route and when I got there it was a brilliant mix of fantasy, wobbly cottages but the actual baking was incredible. I treated myself to one savoury and one sweet as a treat after yesterdays exertions.

After this it was much of the same following pavements or the verge alongside the A87 bar a little attempt at a nicer route through Lochalsh Woods and Gardens which involved sqeezing through the fence at the other end (which lots of people had obviously done) as the gate was shut, all the way to Kyle of Lochalsh. This was a big town and I stocked up at the Co-op before heading for the Skye Bridge.

I had just crossed the first bridge when suddenly there were police driving on the wrong side of the road with lights flashing forcing and telling cars to pull onto the verge. I was intrigued by what was coming and then as I was just getting onto the main Skye Bridge coming towards me were a convoy of 3 massive blades form the wind turbines. In this setting on the bridge they seemed absolutely ginormous and were twanging up and down a lot as the trucks came over the rougher parts.

Once over the bridge I turned left and into Kyleakin where I was going to be staying for my rest day. All beds were booked in Skye Backpackers but they also allow a small amount of camping which I did and you can use all the facilities.

An easy day today, with pretty much no rain, brings to the end a tiring but generally great week.

charles compton