Outer Hebrides - 2007

Skye (17 miles) - Wednesday, 1 August

I realised that the next ferry was probably the one I was on, leaving from Uig twenty minutes after it arrived, D'oh.

A new plan emerged, stay on Skye, cycle across to Armadale, take the ferry to Mallaig and then the train to Oban. I could cycle for the rest of the day, use Thursday and Friday to cross the island and Saturday for the train, keeping Sunday as a contingency. After all, I'd been to South Uist and Benbecula so why not make more of a round trip? The boat was approaching Uig so I needed to decide and quick.

We disembarked and I watched the other cyclists head for the camp site at Uig, I decided there and then to stay on Skye and head for Portree. The ride to Armadale looked further on the map than Lochmaddy to Lochboisdale but new dramatic scenery and the prospect of adding train to my means of transport utilised seemed like a good idea.

The wind was again in the wrong direction and the very steep climb out of Uig was a bit much, however the view of the harbour was worth the effort.

photograph - Uig

I cycled on for about an hour with thoughts of locating a B&B in mind. I appeared to be making good progress so pressed on for another half hour or so. Either I reached Portree by 7.30 pm or headed for the first B&B with a vacancy sign.

Two long descents later I bowled into Portree, never realising that I had climbed that high to come down so far. I cruised around Portree for a while but every B&B had it's 'no vacancy' sign displayed proudly. The hostel was full but the guy on reception directed me across the square and up the hill to the left where many B&Bs were to be found, apparently. They had just resurfaced the road so with a strong whiff of tarmac in the air I set off.

The first B&B without a 'no vacancies' sign was the Oronsay on the left. Although the woman said they were in fact full, she rang her friend Chrissy who had a single room which turned out to be vacant. The young lad from the Oronsay, Ian who'd just returned from playing football (they'd won), showed me the way to Chrissy's which was at the very top end of 'Stormy Hill Road' near the Cuillin FM radio station (NG482441). The Foreland B&B was a haven for a cyclist who hadn't been washed in nearly four days. After a long shower, I put on non-cycling clothes and walked back into town in search of food, leaving behind several wet garments on the radiator to dry.

I went to Cappuccino's Pizza restaurant and had a very nice meal and two bottles of beer. Having walked back up the newly tarmaced hill to the Foreland, the bedroom's humidity resembled a sauna and smelled strongly of damp socks, so I opened the window for some fresher air. Then the rain started again.

At 10.30 pm I was clean, fed, watered, happy, warm and in bed. Full Scottish breakfast was ordered for the morning, much more appealing than muesli bars, tea and oatcakes.

Final day