Monday, 11 May 2015

Scotland 2015. Day 4, Glen Shiel.

An excellent day today: one of fantastic light interspersed with torrential showers and gale force winds.  We had a fairly relaxed start after the last three hectic days, but were ready when Peter and Linda arrived from the nearby Youth Hostel where they are staying.  Despite it pouring with rain, the forecast was for heavy showers rather than persistent rain so we decided to carry on with our original plan and go over to Skye.  By the time we reached picturesque Eilean Donan castle (famously featuring in the initial sequences of the film Highlander) the rain had stopped and the sun began to appear.  Once over the impressive Skye Bridge we were soon at Broadford and turned on to the winding single track road to Elgol.  The shores of Loch Slapin not only gave us great views of Blaven, an outlier of the 6 mile long Coulin ridge, but also proved an excellent spot for birdwatching.  Here, as elsewhere, were plentiful wheatears showing their white rumps as they flitted  low over the ground, cuckoos could be heard and one was spotted on a telegraph wire.  On the shore were unusually tame oystercatchers, common sandpipers and ringed plovers but the piece de resistance was the fabulous summer plumage black-throated diver out on the loch.  As we crested the hill above Elgol Rum,Eigg and Canna appeared to float over the turquoise waters of the Minch with Soay tucked into Loch Scavaig.  As we dropped into the small fishing hamlet the Coulin brooded under a lowering sky across the Loch.  What a great spot.
Returning to Broadford we headed north up the coast to Sigachain with excellent views of the islands of Scalpay and Raasay.  At the famed Sligachain Bridge we stopped for photographs of Sgurr Nan Gillian before carrying on to The Old Man of Storr, passing through Portree.  On the way back we stopped for tea in The Sligachain Hotel and Peter and I revelled in the memorabilia and associations with mountaineer Norman Collie.
Back at the site we had an exciting half hour rescuing friends Mary and Les's awning from the 50 mph winds before retiring to the local hostelry for a meal.

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