Back to Skye

Sligachan on a sunny evening

Somehow it’s already a week into June, and my first enforced trip home is over. I spent 2 days getting there after my trip to St Kilda, and it has taken another 2 days to make the very long journey back to OS map 18, where I left off at the end of May. I still haven’t actually cycled on map 18 yet. That should happen tomorrow with an overnight trip out to the islands of North Uist and Berneray in the Outer Hebrides.

Maps 18 and 19, in particular, are hard to reach and hard to connect together. Since I am away for just 2 weeks this time, and there are so many “non-map” miles to cover, I have brought the car. I looked first at other options; but that didn’t take long! Public transport is very thin on the ground and bike spaces on the remaining Scotrail services are very hard to come by. Having cycled right across the busy Isle of Skye twice in May, I took pity on myself and decided to drive it this time. That decision will save me from at least 100 miles of main road cycling on Skye alone in this leg of the trip. I will also save at least 50 miles getting from Skye Bridge up to map 19, and another 50 miles getting back over to the ferry to South Uist for map 22. That all represent several days of avoidable tough cycling, so it has to be good news.

But as well as that, it has been the most magnificent driving experience today. I struggle to remember ever having such a stunningly scenic drive along empty roads for so many miles; certainly not in this over-crowded country. The sun shone all the way, the procession of mountains and lakes was awesome, and there was no-one to delay my progress. It was like driving though a TV car advert all afternoon and much of the evening. I left Edinburgh around noon and arrived in Uig in north-west Skye about 8.30pm, with a few well-placed stops, sometimes simply to take photos. The sun continued to shine brightly until about 10pm here. If only driving could always be like this!

Since all of this was simply to get the cycling back on track, I will refrain from long descriptions of the places I saw today. Most of them will in any case feature in future maps. But; I will post some photos in Instagram, because the amazing weather may not be repeated. I even managed to capture the missing view of the Skye Cuilin from Sligachan, which was worth returning for. Honestly, on long summer days like this, there cannot be many finer places in the world.