Day 220: Broadford to Plockton

Distance: 15.54 miles

Ascent: 1459 feet

Weather: Sunny Spells & Heavy Showers

Accommodation: Camping Beer Garden Plockton Inn (Kindly Offered)


I had a weird dream last night, that my tent had floated away in the night with me in it and the reason it was a dream and not a nightmare was because somehow the currents had drifted the tent all the way to Plockton so I wouldn’t have to walk today. Unfortunately, and predictably, the situation I woke up in was more of a nightmare. I would hazard a guess at it’s worse there was a an inch of water in the bottom of my tent and quite a few things were soaking, bizarelly one thing that was not too wet was my sleeping bag and my guess for this was that my inflatable mattress had actually floated meaning the water stayed beneath it. It is actually quite lucky that I have so many routines each evening, my waterproofs go down first, then my dry clothes balance on them in case any water comes through, my electricals go on top of a bag which is balanced on a book in case water comes through, and last night I went one step further as I was worried and got two stones in the ‘porch’ part of my tent and put a black bin liner on top of it and balanced my rucksack on top, up till now bar a tiny bit of dampness no water has come through. But even with this I was still lucky not to have lots of stuff ruined, of the electricals only my laptop case had touched water at all, and fortunately the case was damp but the laptop was pretty much dry.

In a brief lull in the rain I decided to pack anything dry in the rucksack and carry that straight down to the drying room. Then my sleeping mat, sleeping bag and any wet stuff was carried down and hung in the drying room and finally the tent which was also hung in the drying room. The only fortunate thing was that I had got all this done before an absolutely torrential series of rain came through. I had to decide what I could do and was considering sacking of the day and just resetting of tomorrow, but this didn’t appeal as I just wanted to move on. So, I decided to leave everything to drip the worst of the water of for 2 hours and then pack up and leave, so I would be departing around 10 though guessing it might be more like 11. I went down to reception to type up yesterdays diary, and then decided to walk the short distance to a little café to have some breakfast as I needed a treat to calm me down.

I was so angry at myself for accepting the pitch as it was obvious as soon as I saw it yesterday that you couldn’t pitch a tent on it. It was literally a bog and I would slowly sink into it over night and thus the tent would fill up with water. I should have just moved on and politely declined the pitch but for some reason thought that would be rude so just pitched. I will not be making that mistake again on the walk. I have always been such a stickler for finding good pitch spots even when wild camping so I was even more annoyed with myself.

Anyway, enough about that, around 11 I was packed up and off and hoping the rain would not roll in as heavy as about 10am this morning. I headed out of Broadford on the main road and at Waterloo I joined a smaller dead-end lane, which at the end had a path that joined up to another lane in Lower Breakish. My first lot of rain hit at this point but fortunately it was not too heavy.

It was at this point that I would have to join the main road out of Skye for the next 3 miles or so. This was not going to be fun and would involve verge walking whilst being sprayed by the vehicles that would be heading by. There was an old road that was shown on my map that I tried to follow a few times, but it always ended up completely overgrown and I would have to return to the main road, so I just got my head down and carried on and fortunately the rain barely returned.

Finally, I joined a pavement just short of the Skye Bridge and I was mighty relieved and the sun was even starting to come out. I crossed over the bridge which bought to the end my time on Skye, which had been both beautiful (Cuillins, Sea Eagles, Flodigarry Peninsula, and general kindness to name some) but also brutal (scree, ascents, weather, lack of food/signal). I will hopefully return again one day as I loved the island.

Just across the bridge I reached the Co-op and was surprised how good a time I had made (over 9 miles in under 3 hours in not ideal situations.) I grabbed some stuff for lunch and some snacks and literally sat on the ledge outside and ate it. From here I only had 6 miles to go to Plockton my proposed finish spot and I was beginning to believe there may be no further rain and some of my stuff would dry out a fair amount.

I had cheered up by now and the quiet roads made for nice walking and the sun was out and I would only get hit by one more small shower. All the villages along this stretch were very quaint and I was enjoying walking between them and finally about 4pm (earlier than I had expected based on the late start) I reached Plockton.

The Plockton Inn had kindly let me pitch in their back garden and I got the tent up straight away as the sun was shining at this moment and it could begin drying out. The tent inner I knew with a bit of wind and sun would likely dry out mostly within an hour so I chilled out and after an hour I returned and indeed the inside was pretty much dry (due to rain the outside was obviously wet) and blew up the mattress and left that inside to dry and then finally the sleeping bag was put on to dry out. The barman told me the hotel down the road had a yachting shower that you could pay a small amount to use so I headed down and had a lovely warm shower and got into fully dry clothes.    

After all this somehow, and I don’t know how, most stuff is either dry or almost dry which appears quite miraculous and a bit lucky. I had assumed I would have very wet stuff up until next rest day. So, a tough start to the day, but somehow it feels like a win by the end of it.

charles compton