The Isle of Skye


I crossed to the island at 8:40 as the only foot passenger. Arriving in Armadale it became apparent why I was the only one. There were two buses a day from the ferry port, the first is brilliantly scheduled to leave just before the first ferry arrives and the second is at 4pm.

The road sign said that the town of Broadford where I was headed was 16 miles away and with nothing else planned I figured why not. Skye is a beautiful place but it was a grey, drizzly day and after a couple of hours drizzle turned to a downpour. I gratefully accepted a lift from Callum, a friendly retired builder who, like most people on Skye, knew most people on Skye. He took me to the hostel having told me all about the history of the family of the one person I half knew from Skye.

Broadford is much smaller than I had expected, and as usual the small town meant an excellent hostel. I was one of two guests and the three staff were a lot of fun. They were Cameron, Cameron's brother Ewan and Ewan's dutch girlfriend Eva. Ewan has the biggest plug earring I had ever seen in his left ear and a saggy mess of a right ear where another plug once lived. He is also heavily tattooed with four different girl's names and all sorts of random doodles including a Sainsbury's advert and a lightning bolt on his penis. He offered me a look but I declined because it was only 3 o'clock and I have a strict no nobs before dinner policy.

On the day I arrived both Ewan and Eva had their driving tests. They both passed but doing your test on Skye is basically cheating. There is only one road, no proper junctions or roundabouts and very little traffic. This results in a pass rate of 87%. The girl who took her test before Ewan and Eva did failed but this is because in the tough navigation up and down the one road she managed to hit the kerb three times.

Whether it is a fair test or not I was pleased they passed because they had been very friendly and took me on a drive out to Plockton, a beautiful village on the mainland where Hamish Macbeth was filmed. Ewan drove there and had most of the basics of driving sorted, Eva drove back and she was rubbish. She stalled, had no concept of what the gears were for and didn't understand national speed limits.

Although the weather was pish I enjoyed a walk on my second morning and didn't see another person. I imagine that in summer Skye is one of the best tourist destinations in the UK. In February it is just about the best place I can think of to go for a walk in torrential rain.

In the evening I went to the pub with Eva and Ewan who introduced me to Dundee rules for pool - instead of using a stick you use your head. After two shots I had a headache so we switched back to normal rules. Also chatted to a man who breaks in to banks for a living, on behalf of the banks.

And that was my time in Skye. A good one.