31 May 2011

The Isle of Skye, Inverness, and Loch Ness (25-30/05/11)

Trip up to the Highlands with UCL's Hiking and Walking Club. There were five of us: two leaders (Ryan and Napoleon) and three girls (Emily, Liucija, and me). The photos are a bit out of order since I used two cameras (my good one in good weather and my crappy one in crappy weather). 
We flew from London Luton to Inverness - we were really afraid our flight would be cancelled because of the volcano eruption in Iceland, but fortunately everything worked out fine. We rented a car in Inverness and headed out to the Isle of Skye. 
First stop en route from Inverness to Skye.



And now we jump to the middle of our
eight-hour hike the next day. The weather
was crap - rainy and windy all day.
I mainly used my little camera during the
hike so my nice one wouldn't be damaged.
This is where we stopped for lunch - at
the top of a hill.

There were deer.

The rain runs down the mountains in little rivulets.
We had to cross so many of them.

This is the place where legends are made.

At Skyewalker Hostel. The hostel was very friendly to hikers
and outdoorsy people - there was a drying room specifically
so we could hang up all our kit to dry - VERY necessary after
our long hike.

Our rental car.

The hostel came complete with a glass dome in the backyard.
We spent one evening in there with some Scottish beer and
various games.

Wheelbarrow in the hostel yard.

What would a trip to Scotland be without a visit to a distillery?

Is that the sun??

Ryan - our trusted driver.

Two days after our hike the sun was shining (briefly, anyway).
We stopped by the beginning our hike to get some photos.



Napoleon photographs me. I photograph him back.

A loch from the car.

Napoleon is also a photographer.

Eilean Donan Castle.

Castle and Emily.


Napoleon, Ryan, and Emily.

Urquhart Castle at the edge of Loch Ness.

There were walls that were PERFECT for climbing. ;-)

After a few days in Skye we went to Inverness for a couple days.
We went for a short hike around Loch Ness.

Emily keeps an eye on the weather.

Ryan is optimistic with shades.

Liucija takes pictures of us.

Napoleon helps Emily figure out which
path we should take.

Teamwork - Ryan and Napoleon,
plus GPS and map.

Ryan on the bank of Loch Ness.

A tree grows at the edge of Loch Ness.

A portrait within a portrait.

No monster sightings. :-(

Delicious meal at a restaurant en route. 


Inverness Castle.

The souvenir shop had a great Nessie hat.
Ryan was happy to pose in it for me.

Our fellowship in Inverness - the capital of the highlands.
L-R: Liucija, Napoleon, Emily, Ryan.

Inverness. It was after 10pm here.

Napoleon taught me how to use some
fancy settings on my camera. Ryan complied
with my photographic demands as I tested
them out.



Photographing Napoleon photographing me.

Look closely - Napoleon's photo of me photographing back.

Liucija and Napoleon look through his photos. Ryan organizes.

Back to the hike (crappy camera). The path.

We decided it was very much like being in LOTR.

The river that stood between us and the continuation of the path.

Ryan and Napoleon found a bit further down the river that
was easier to cross. Here - helping Emily across to safety.

The river snaking through the glen.


River Number Two - Ryan and Napoleon find a suitable part
to cross. This one involved Ryan crossing, Napoleon throwing
our bags across to him, us jumping about three feet across to
the opposite bank where Ryan caught us.

We were debating that morning about whether we should go
on the hike. We decided it was better to attempt it and turn
back if necessary (saying we'd tried). We decided it would
be 'memorable' - one way or another.

'Waterproof' hiking boots are only so waterproof. They were
good for the first half but by the return trip they were quite soggy.
Crossing back over the rivers really did them in. Fortunately
the hostel had plenty of newspaper to stuff them with so they'd
dry quickly.

Cold and wet. I wasn't expecting it to be this cold. Napoleon
lent me a scarf and, soon after this photo, a hat. He also provided
the little hand warmer things.

At this point we asked Napoleon how we were getting back,
meaning: were we going to complete the circular or turn back
the way we came? His response was to point down into the
glen and say: "Actually, there's a bus stop right down there.
Buses every half hour. We just have to get down to the stop."
We were very much in the middle of nowhere.

Where we stopped for lunch.
You can't travel to rural Britain without seeing sheep.
Or 'dinner', as Napoleon affectionately called them.

There was mud along the way that was quite
literally ankle deep.

A castle!

With a waterfall!

Stopping to see some castle ruins.


Oh hello there.

Sheep and Emily. 

The port in Portree - the biggest 'village' in Skye. It was a 30
minute drive from our hostel - and contained the closest
grocery store.

Liucija playing Jenga in the glass dome.

The hostel had a painting of a hairy coo on
the wall. I saw a few real hairy coos (with babies!),
but we were in the car and I didn't get a photo.

Sunny! But windy. Outside the distillery.

No comments:

Post a Comment