Route: Dornie – Badrallach, via The Isle of Skye
Weather: Overcast with heavy showers
Distance: 184 miles (353)
Drop Counter: Jenny 1 (3) / Ian 0 (2)
The Isle of Skye
Another day of grey skies, high winds and heavy rain. Fortunately the morning stayed dry for our foray onto Skye. Taking a turn at random on Skye, we ended up on the A851 which leads down to Armadale. We stopped a little way down this road at The Gaelic Whiskies and had a wander round a local gallery before trying a very wee dram of a few whiskies.
Local artist Derek Robertson showed us his current field study drawings of an otter and let us use his telescope to see some porpoises he’d seen across the bay. His artwork was stunning, although sadly we could only afford to take a few cards home with us. The whiskies we tried were all very tasty, and not being connoisseurs couldn’t taste the difference in quality between the single malt and the blended. So, naturally, we bought the cheapest, “Té Bheag”, which according to the label is pronounced chey vek and is the affectionate term for a wee dram!
From here, we filled up and bought some food for dinner in Armadale before heading round the road which passes through Ord, on recommendation from a local. Somehow, we managed to miss the ruins of both Armadale Castle and Knock Castle during the ride, which I can only attribute to the poor weather limiting visibility!
Back on track…
Leaving Skye, we headed for Shieldag, to pick up the NC500 where we left it yesterday. The rain started up again, and by the time we reached the small town, we were both hungry and very wet. A warm welcome was afforded to us at Nanny’s a wonderful little cafe, where we ate a very late lunch. We also bought a lovely NC500 tea towel, designed by the pupils at the local school. A bargain at just five pounds, I think this shows exactly what the NC500 was promoted for; encouraging enterprise and promoting tourism. As an added bonus the tea towel was far nicer than any of the “official” ones we found for sale! Check out an article on the schools enterprising success here.
The rain had petered out again, leaving just high winds to contend with as we journeyed on. The roads around here are simply stunning, climbing and descending between peaks and sea level. In between, numerous Lochs add to the beauty of the area. The weather made it all seem quite bleak, but also but the mountains into contrast with one another, producing a layered greyscale effect, which couldn’t really be captured on camera! Whilst the inclement weather didn’t ruin the beauty of the area, it did make it hard to get the camera out as often as we would have liked.
Our riding came to an end, with a fantastic piece of single track up to Badrallach, a collection of a one or two houses, a campsite and a bothy. This Bothy was more akin to the mountain bothies and huts you can find dotted around the countryside. One room housed a living space, table, fire and sleeping area, whilst a smaller adjoining rooms, a kitchen. Thin rugs over the concrete floor marked sleeping spaces, with additional space on a mezzanine above. Sleeping mats and bags are not provided, nor is any cooking equipment or fuel for the fire. We went for a small walk and found plenty of dry standing deadwood which we carted back. We found that the axe provided was of little use, so ended up using a large vice randomly situated inside!
As we were preparing the firewood, we were joined in the Bothy by a lovely couple from the Czech Republic. We spent a wonderful evening under the soft glow of gas lanterns, swapping tales of the road and sharing a drink or two. There is a small shelf that encircles the entire of the main living room – just wide enough for a bottle of whisky. There are over 100 different empty whisky boxes, proof that Scotland has a vast array of distilleries! The night came to a natural close when the firewood ran out. The stove had done a wonderful job of heating the bothy, so combined with our winter grade down sleeping bags, we were luxuriously cosy!
A short film…
Again, we have some footage from the day: