Black Cuillin, Grey Skies.
Sligachan Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
The weather was a little better as I crossed the bridge and onto Skye, which had been the original objective when I had first set off from Wilmslow. My initial plan had been to try and hook up with a like-minded fellow imbecile and attempt a traverse of the Black Cuillins ridge in a day. The weather had already put paid to that, it just wasn’t feasible. The ridge is a serious proposition in any conditions and one I’ve completed twice already, one of those solo, but you need to have luck on your side and be well prepared. A couple of sorties to drop a couple of caches of food and water, and an overnight bivvy just under the summit of Garsbheinn are considered de rigeur. However even I have a degree of common sense, maybe not a great deal but this wasn’t to be my week.
I was however still extremely pleased to be on this wonderful island once again and determined to potter about and have a great time all the same. I stopped off in Broadport for an hour or so, to have a coffee and cake and then headed off to Sligachan Hotel to sort out my overnight accommodation. A short drive later I arrived and booked into the bunkhouse for that evening. The receptionist (who later turned out to also be the manageress) seems to take bit of a shine to me, a pretty Australian girl over here on a visa, she said she’d given me the best room, with the best view and I had it all to myself, I went off in search of my room with a view.
After dropping off my overnight stuff in the bunkhouse, I jumped into the car and drove over to Glen Brittle campsite. The roads were quiet and almost a pleasure to drive upon................ I said almost, I still hate driving! I had a wander around the foothills of the Black Cuillins for awhile, looking up all wistfully and thinking if only kind of stuff, but in reality they were all ‘clagged’ out and it my sudden rush of sensibility was well founded. I popped into the shop at the campsite to stock up on some essentials, though essential for what I can no longer quite fathom. I then headed back along the valley following the River Brittle until it tumbles down in a series of waterfalls from the Allt Coire a’ Mhadaidh. These are known as the Fairy Pools, very cold and very clear and great for taking a little wild water swim on a humid day. I had a quick look around to ensure there weren’t any small children to scare the living daylights out of. I seemed to be on my own, so I stripped down to my icebreakers and slipped in for a dip, it took my breath away but in a kind of pleasant way and it was great for a few minutes, but only a few minutes. I soon clambered out shivering and towelled myself dry quickly to set off back to the Sligachan.
I had a shower and read a book for a short while and then headed down for dinner. I had intended to try the restaurant but on reflection I wasn’t really that keen on the menu, so I settled for a pub meal in the bar. I tried to explain that I wanted some local sausages and mash with wholegrain mustard gravy changing slightly the sauce on the described dish, but it must have lost something in the translation as I ended up with both! Fortunately I enjoyed being an adventurous eater and the flavours although not exactly complimenting each other, didn’t overpower either.
I sat down for awhile and started to read my book, waiting for the football to be put on. I chatted to a group of Spanish off and on for awhile, amazingly it turned out they weren’t aware that Spain were playing Germany in the final of Euro 2008 that evening! They quickly changed their minds about heading off into the wilderness for the evening. Though I’m not totally convinced they really meant the wilderness, I think they’d mistaken the hotel car park for Everest Base Camp. They were a really great bunch though, very exuberant and vocal, and that was just when the television channel was changed!
The footie eventually kicked-off, and much to the sheer delight of the Spanish contingent their team played really well, their class overcoming the efficient hard-work ethic of the Germans. My Spanish friends cheered every time their team won a throw-in, let alone when they eventually scored the goal, which brought ecstatic and unbridled outflowings of national pride. They were obviously big fans of Cesc Fabregas, but then show me a true footie fan that isn’t. It was shots all-round for us all when they eventually won one-nil, after the second round of these I decided it was time to make a sharp exit. The only low point of the evening; the manageress hadn’t made an appearance, then again might have been good if a few German comrades had been present also, can’t beat a bit of banter!
I retired to the bunkhouse and enjoyed a pretty comfortable and restful night’s sleep. The bunkhouse is pretty good seeing as you ask, with a number of rooms, fairly clean, well equipped, the only slight gripe was that the shower wasn’t the best, but hey it was better than many I have stayed in. This was the first time I’d stayed in here on my last visits I restricted myself to the campsite and an overnighter high up in the hills, this was sheer luxury! I got up pretty early and set off to the hotel to see if breakfast was possible, I was apparently still a bit premature but the manageress had a bacon sandwich and a coffee rustled up for me in a jiffy (said she had taken a shine to me). She brought them over to me and I sat in what seemed to be the lounge enjoying the view. I’m not totally sure she appreciated her position, she apparently hadn’t appreciated just how isolated the place was, each to their own I guess.