So I’m starting to write this one before we’ve even finished the day. Partly because I’m in a pub with Wi-Fi and partly because it’s been a bit eventful.
We woke up this morning and it was much like yesterday morning apart from the fact I had a decent nights sleep! The sun, then blizzard, then sun seems to be a thing here. We packed up the van, had the first experience emptying the toilet of which I’ll spare you the details and made our way a short way up the mountain to the car park for the walk.
Well we tried to make our way up the mountain. We pulled over to let a car past, as it’s a single track road and then got stuck. Very stuck. The rear tyre on one side sunk out of sight and while the front wheels are on the road, we are a rear wheel drive vehicle! Knowing without evening trying that we couldn’t push the van out, but trying anyway we were a bit stuck. A lovely german lady walked past us and stopped to help, but Ruby is probably pushing 3 tonnes, was fairly submerged and on a steep hill so it was going to take a lot more than 3 people.
Lee stopped the next car that drove past in the hope that eventually we could stop enough people to give us a very big shove. I accosted a random walker who didn’t seem particularly keen. Fortunately the guy in the car not only had a tow bar, but a rope and with his help and everyone else pushing we dragged ourselves out of the bog. A massive thank you goes out to this man, who even let us keep the tow rope just in case.
So we made it to the top, where Ruby decided that the stress of the bog incident was clearly too much and nearly overheated. I say nearly as I cut the engine in the middle of the road and then waited for her too cool down before we tried to find a spot to park. The car park is very small and there was nowhere obvious on the first drive by. I decided to stick it on the end which was a bit lumpy but we have pretty good ground clearance. As I got out of the van and walked around just to check it wasn’t hanging out I realised that the front wheel wasn’t actually touching the floor and she was a bit likely to roll down the mountain pass we’d just driven up. Still having adjusted the parking, been towed out of the bog and cooled the engine down we started out on our walk which was incredible.
This is a circular walk and pretty popular, which we were relying on with no map or directions. We started out on a clear cut path along the hillside with spectacular view across the west of Skye to the mainland. We could even just about make out the lighthouse on the mainland opposite just down the road from where we stayed a few years ago in Melvaig.
Looks like I have inadvertently put a weird filter on my camera, but kind of looks cool.
If you look in the picture below, you can just see a silver car parked in the valley below to the left of me. This was the spot we parked up in the night before.
The path continues fairly level along the hillside and towards the end climbs back up and over a ridge. Here you can turn right to walk down to the end of the cliff or turn left to begin to loop back on yourself. Here the path ascends fairly steeply up the side of the mountain until you reach the top. It’s worth the climb!
From here you follow the cliff edge along and the path becomes evident again by a gate in the fence running across the cliff top.
The descent from here requires care as in the current conditions with melting snow the ground is very wet and muddy so picking your way down the hillside takes a little while. Soon though you can see the view back to the car park at the top of the ridge below (just).
As we descended we noticed several cars parked unmoving on the road and other cars who had been driving up to the top, reversing back down. The view is hidden however by the edge of hill. As we got to the bottom we saw the problem!
A guy with a rather kitted out type of ATV came to try and tow the lorry out but it was jackknifed at an angle that made it impossible for the van to get round the corner. I have no idea how the driver thought he would get round. The slightly worried owners of cars parked next to him hovered about, clearly worried about how close it was.
So we had to drive out the other way and back to Portree. Clothes loaded into the laundrette and to the pub. We’re a bit smaller than the others.
From here we then headed south towards Elgol in the hope of doing a walk through the Cuillins in the morning. We got most of the way there and then the engine started running very hot. Pullimh over I checked the fans were working as they are a little erratic at times. I then noticed the radiator is stone cold with the engine running at about 110 degrees. Turns out a pipe had sheared of ythe front heater matrix and we had lost all our coolant. To be fair to Ruby, she did pretty good with no coolant and I do cary spare. We had to park it up on the lay-by overnight, with the plan to wake up and fix it the morning.