Another glorious morning.  This is getting monotonous.  I am not complaining though, honestly.
I take a photo from my bedroom window just to start the day.
Breakfast is exceptional.  Predicatbly huge (I don’t know how many eggs I got as they are scrambled but it looks like half a dozen) but also great quality.
I have stayed in more bed and breakfasts and hotels on this walk than the rest of my life put together (being, as a general rule, too mean to pay the rates) but this is the best.  Beautiful spot, comfortable room,  very friendly landlady, fantastic breakfast, and it is the cheapest of the entire walk too.  Some achievement.
There is also conversation at the breakfast table which I share with three guys, divers who are staying while working on a floating jetty for Raasay. They are friendly and interested in my walk and one of them used to live on Lewis.
I am in no hurry to get off for once because the first ferry is at 10.00 so I pack, refill my water bottles,  pay and say good bye and stroll off.
A ringed plover explores the shingle shore, and as I walk a little further,  a seal idles through the placid sea, but dives before I can get a decent photo.

Just before the pub there is war memorial, and I take a photo of it as it is a perfect example of a “quean in a nightdress”  excoriated so memorably in Lewis Grassic Gibbons,  A Scots Quair.  Returning servicemen after World War One are appalled by the memorial erected by uber patriotic types who made money during the war but stayed safe in Scotland,  seeing no relevance to their suffering and the waste of life in angels and slogans about glory.

Glenelg is a pleasant little village but I am soon through it and I take the path that leads to the ruined Bernera Barracks.

Beyond the Barracks the path leads over a flat glen bottom, crossing a wooden bridge to gain the road which goes a longer way around.
There is virtually no traffic and not a breath of breeze.  The light is magical this morning and everything would be great if I did not need to use the facilities.  I doubt that there are toilets at the ferry so am on the lookout for a secluded spot.
But there is none as I come across a campsite with tents and camper vans at one end of a beach,  with a house and more vans at the other end. 

Beyond that the road rises and there is bit of scrubby land on the coast side which I make use of, gratefully.
Now I can stroll in comfort as I still have half an hour or so before the first ferry and I am nearly there.
I could not wish for a better morning for taking photos.

Birds are singing in the morning sunshine all around me.  Willow warblers in particular seem to be everywhere.


When I get to the ferry it is moored out in the straights, a couple of men are working on it having apparently rowed out in a rubber dingy.  Two collies are waiting for it.  I guess they belong to one of the men but it is amusing to see two dogs at the end of the jetty waiting impatiently for the ferry and not another human in sight.

There is a little lighthouse affair with a notice saying you can get coffee or tea and pay an honesty box, but I am too early.  The older dog comes and has a sniff at me and shuffles off.  The younger one is more exitable.  Not aggressive, but excited dogs make me a bit nervous and I am happy when a passing seal distracts it.  The dog runs down to the end of the jetty and even into the water for a way, barking furiously.
The seal does not take any notice.
Then a car arrives.  A couple with their own dog who says hello to the collies.  A little later the ferry engine starts up and, at last, it chugs over to the jetty.
The exited dog runs on and off and on again,  I walk on and chat to one of the men.  There is apparently no charge for foot passengers but he asks me to make a contribution in the box on the other side.

And then we are away.  I last used this ferry as a child.  My dad had bought a chocolate brown comma van and we came on holiday in it,  my mum and dad in the front,  my three sisters, myself and masses of camping gear, packed into the back.
I remember it as exciting.  Would the Comma van get up the steep road that I now know to be Mam Rattegan?  Would it get over the equally steep road on the Skye side.  Would we all have to get out and push (again!)?

But I have been to this place since.  Sailing up from Troon to Stornoway around 1989 with Eddie, who I mentioned was involved with the rescue of the skier on Ben Nevis.
The straights at Kyle Rhea have an extraodinarly fast tidal rip.  Eddie was in his seventies and both canny and cautious, so we waited for the slack tide to go through.
It was magical,  we were surrounded by common seals who bobbed around us as we floated through the straights on our way to Plockton.
The ferry seems to disdain worry about tidal currents though because I can see that the water is hurtling along.  Cormorants sitting,  idly floating are  whizzing by at six or seven knots.
The ferry men know their business, however and they takes us across this current with practiced skill.  And soon enough I am stepping onto the Isle of Skye.

 I set off and it is up hill immediately.   The people with the Landrover slow as they catch up with me and ask if I want a lift.  Once again I have to decline but the man driving has heard me talking to the ferry guy about my walk so understands.  They cruise at walking pace for a little while as we exchange pleasantries.
Once they have gone I soon pass a sign post for an otter watching hide and regret I do not have the time to check it out.   I have to pass one house on the fringes of Kyle Rhea and a guy with an English accent shuts a dog away, explaining to someone I cannot see that someone is walking past.  But he does not greet me.

And then I am out of the village on a road that promises to be quite tough.  There is some forestry ahead  but before I reach it I spot something at the side of the road.
It is a snake. In fact, it is an adder. Surely?  If I have ever seen an adder before it was in the New Forest when I was about ten (not sure if it is a true memory).   But here is one,  on Skye of all places,  just over the water from where I saw the slow worms and the lizard.  What is it about this part of the world that makes it so good for reptiles.

My adder is small, nine inches to a foot long at the most.  I put my bag down on the other side of the road and start taking photos, using the zoom so as not to disturb it though I am really desperate to try the macro setting.
Then a car comes and I have to get out of the way.  Too late,  I realise that the driver will move over to avoid my bag and, if he goes too far, might run over the snake.
Fortunately, he does not and the snake is still there, so I move my bag right off the road and take a few more photos.  Eventually,  I do unintentionally disturb her and she coils into a striking posture which would make a fantastic photo...
But I am not quick enough,  as I am adjusting the camera settings she sets off into the grass.
I am disappointed and sorry I disturbed her,  but still very happy to have seen and photographed an adder.
Now the road climbs steadily.  Past the forestry it gets much steeper.   Already it is hot and the incline is every bit as steep as I remember from that Comma van holiday.  But there are great views back.
As I get higher I can see smoke coming from the direction of Glen Sheil and remember that the landlady of the bed and breakfast said that there had been a fire over that way somewhere.
Cars come now and then.   A couple at a time from the direction of the ferry,  individual vehicles going down to it.  Not all the drivers are sensible and considerate, in contrast to those on the road to Kinloch Hourn.

There is a radio mast at the bealach and I am very glad to get to it. Not just because I am getting hot and tired but because,  almost as soon as I reach the pass I can see miles ahead to Broadford, and the  Red Cuillin hills beyond it.

I am hot and my feet are hotter and I think I deserve a break after getting up that hill.  But the landscape is bare, without a hint of shade.  I am wondering what to do when I come across a little bridge and have an idea.
Though you cannot see much sign of shade from the road I check it out and there is a magic little notch where the burn goes under the bridge.  Shade, cool water and even primroses.  The only problem is that it is hard to find somewhere to sit without squashing the flowers.

But I do and have another breakfast bar whilst dipping my feet in the cold water.  This has become a pleasant ritual in these boiling days.

Refreshed I set off down the road, views of Skye including glimpses of the Black Cuillin,  opening up in front of me to entertain me.
And further down small islands off the coast of Skye enhance the landscape.

There are still some stupid drivers though.  Most are fine but some you realise have no idea how to drive on a road this narrow.  They even wave as they hurtle by.  Freindly and quite unaware that they are driving far too fast and that I cannot get off the road to avoid them because of a cutting or embankment.

It is not just me that is at risk.  Just before I reach the main road I see another snake. This one must be a grass snake as it is almost black (it is not, I later find that it is in fact a male adder) and it has been run over and squashed.
I prod it with my stick. Where it is uncrushed the flesh is resilient and firm.  My guess is that it has just been killed this morning.

 And then I am at the junction with the A 87 and any problems with bad drivers are about to be put into proper context.
At least there is a sign for Portree.  Portree!  The last place that you can call a town between me and Stornoway.
I have a break and breakfast bar before setting off along the road.  It is not too busy but the traffic is horribly fast when it does come.
Fortunately, I soon get to Ashaig and Upper Breakish, where there is a pavement. Something I have been anticipating as I have checked this leg out on Google street view.
All too soon the pavement gives out, though and I am back on the road. At least there is a decent verge of cut grass that I can step onto to avoid the cars and lorries hurtling towards me.
There is a long straight stretch where they go very fast indeed.  I don’t understand it really as there are houses lining the road here too.  Why don’t the residents of Skulamus rate a pavement and speed restrictions like those of Broadford and Upper Breakish?
Eventually I get to pavement again,  after the A861 joins my road.

But Broadford is a very stretched out place.  I see a sign for it long before I get to my destination which is the co-op.  This was once a petrol station that sold other things but it is the one decent shop between Portree and Kyle of Lochalsh and it has grown and grown over the years.  Now it is a good sized coop supermarket.
The last mile or so is hard. I am hot again and feeling very tired. My shoulders hurt and so do my feet.  These last few days walking through the sun have been relentless and I know that I should have had a rest day to give my body a chance to recover.
I buy some water in the supermarket and some food.  The B&B that I am booked in has a guest kitchen and there is nowhere else to eat in Luib.  So I need to buy something  to cook tonight.  But my overstuffed rucksack has been rubbing on my shoulders and there is no room to put food anyway.
Eventually I decide to get tomatoes, onion and some rolls to make “pizza” with the cheese I have brought with me.   Oh, and a bottle of wine which seems essential even if it is heavy.
In the car park is a bank that overlooks the sea.  It is not really a pretty spot but I am too tired to explore and sit on the bank and eat some rolls before repacking.
I get the bottle in the bag, drink half a litre of water and put the rest of my shopping in a plastic coop bag which I attach to the back of the rucksack.
Then I set off again.  Immediately I walk through gardens on the other side of the coop which would have been the ideal place to picnic.  Bugger!
I have to go on the road for a spell.  There are paths through the forestry beyond Broadford but they are not marked on my map so I dare not try them.  However, before long one rejoins the road and I spot a bit of parallel ashpelt. 

This is clearly an old road and I remember spotting it on Google satellite view.  Great. This gets me off the road just as it is getting really fast and takes me almost all the way to the cemetery where the road meets the sea again.

There is another section after the cemetery but it is much more overgrown than the bit of old road I have just come down.
Still, I do not fancy the now very fast A850 at all, so I decide to risk it. 
And it soon starts to look like it is a bit risky, veering away from the road there is thick vegetation, dwarf trees all intertwined, between me and the road. It looks all but impenetrable, at least without a machete.
The path is not getting any easier either.  It is more and more obstructed with vegetation and there are horribly boggy bits.  Just as with the old railway lines before Crianlarich,  where there is a cutting the water has collected and once the drains have clogged it becomes a bog.
Eventually, there is no path at all and no prospect of going further.  To my left the scrub looks impossible. To the right it is thick too but not quite so bad as it slopes down to the fore shore.
It is try that or go back and I do not want to go back,  almost to the cemetery, so I set off trying to force a way through to the shore.  Soon I hear a rip an tomatoes and onions tumble into a stream.



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