Having left Glasgow mid-afternoon, we made our way north and ended up in Glen Quaich, a stopover we had used before, and settled down for our first night of our latest road trip.
As we drove west towards the Kintyre Peninsula, we headed along Loch Tay, and this photo was taken looking towards the west.
We found a good spot for our overnight stop near Inverary beside woodland and slightly off the main road.
Heading on to the Kintyre Peninsula via Loch Awe.
Our next stopover spot, on the shores of Port an Ceardaich, near Tarbert.
We woke early to capture the sunrise and were lucky enough to be provided with a worthy example!
We stopped at this little cemetery near Kilberry as we headed south towards Kennacraig.
We found this fabulous location with views out to the Isle of Jura just south of Kennacraig, from where we were to catch our ferry to Colonsay the next day.
We set off from Kennacraig at 9:45 am and stopped at Port Askaig en route to the Isle of Colonsay. On arrival at Colonsay, the captain was unable to get the ferry to the pier due to weather, and so we headed back to Kennacraig via Port Askaig again! Once back on the mainland, we headed up to Oban (55 miles) as the next ferry to Colonsay was due to depart from there the next day. Once in Oban, we had a pleasant curry and walked around the town in the evening before driving out of town to park overnight in a layby nearby.
Here we go again! Heading off to Colonsay to see if we can get on to the island this time!
Approaching Colonsay pier.
We cycled around the main road (approximately 9.5 miles) and stopped off at Kiloran Bay.
The day started very wet and windy, and we walked up to headland to blow the cobwebs away! Then the sun came out again, and we enjoyed another bike ride before heading into the hotel for dinner.
Revisited Kiloran Bay and walked along the beach.
And so we said fair well to Colonsay, having stayed an extra night due to our original ferry being cancelled and returned to Oban! After a pleasant lunch, we set off to Fort William, where we bought a charger for one of the bike batteries and then drove on to the Isle of Skye.
We arrived on Skye just as the sun was setting and met up with friends who had booked a cottage on the island for a few days. After sampling a Skye gin, we walked into Broadford and found a restaurant where we had a pleasant meal. The rest of the evening and night was a bit of a blur as we sat, chatted and quaffed into the “wee sma’ hours”!
For our first day on Skye, we headed to the west coast and had a cycle ride, although it was very hilly and so we only did about five miles! We then parked up at Loch Ghabhsgabhaig near Tarskavaig.
After breakfast, we walked over the hill to view the Cuillins and then returned to Iona and got ready for a bicycle ride.
We cycled to Tarskavaig and had a lovely walk along a coastal path to see the views to the west of Skye.
In the afternoon, we ‘struck camp’ and drove east across the peninsula towards Armadale and then headed south to a great spot near Ardvasar.
Once we had sorted the van for the night, we walked for about twenty minutes to the Ardvasar Hotel, where we enjoyed a beer while watching dusk gather and then had a pleasant dinner in the restaurant before strolling back to Iona for the night.
After another early rise to capture that special morning light, we set off on a pleasant cycle ride to Aird, a leisurely 5-mile round trip. Then in the afternoon, we again walked to the hotel and enjoyed a pint in the beer garden, in the sun. En route, we passed the Scouting for Buoys enterprise, which was open for viewing!
Our next port of call was over on the east of Skye at Balmeanach overlooking the Sound of Raasay and the Isle of Raasay. It was such a pleasant spot that we decided to stay for a couple of days.
From this location, we had a great cycle ride along the not too busy, single-track road to the main road and back again, some ten miles.
And the sun comes up again, casting its glorious glow over the Sound of Raasay.
We had arranged to meet up with friends who live on Skye, and they suggested that we climb up the hill at Camustianavaig, which was a pleasant walk and afforded some damn fine vistas! It was great to catch up with our friends, and we enjoyed the exercise and the views.
Moving further north, we ventured into Staffin and took a look down by the beach and harbour to see if there was an overnight location. However, the place was “hochin” (as we say around these parts), and so we moved on, but not before taking this wee fella’s photo down on the harbour slipway.
We found a good night stopover stop with a fabulous view and settled down for the evening, watching the sun play out on the adjacent hills. The following morning, we walked along a farm track up to a deserted structure and stretched our legs and filled our lungs with fresh air from a bracing wind!
We took a few photos of the early morning sunset before going to bed and rose early in anticipation of an incredible sunrise. Sadly, it did not turn out that way; hey ho! However, we were rewarded with a whirlpool when we walked up onto the adjacent cliff-top after breakfast!
After lunch, we drove a few miles further north and found another excellent stopover spot. From here, we had a short cycle up into the hills and also had a stroll up into the hills behind our parking space. In the evening, we were visited by a colony, or a fluffle, of rabbits who casually bounded about outside Iona!
We took a walk in the hills and saw some local wildlife. We also found that part of the route was down a cliff face and back up! However, we gave it a go and were really chuffed that we managed to do it! All-in-all, we walked 4.3 miles, climbed down 591 feet and climbed up 577 feet, all in 2 hours and 14 minutes.
After our walk, we drove around the top of Skye and headed down the west coast, stopping for provisions in Uig where we spotted this fella!
We now made a ‘schoolboy error’! We turned up at our prebooked campsite and discovered that we were a day early! To make matters worse, the site was fully booked, and so we had to leave with our tails between our legs! However, as a consolation, we found a pleasant spot by the ‘Fairy Bridge’.
Today we had a great cycle ride from the Fairy Bridge to Stein and then onto the end of the road and back, a trip of some 16.5 miles. The hamlet of Stein was lovely, and it boasts a Michelin Star restaurant in the Loch Bay.
After our bicycle trip, we packed up Iona and headed back to Dunvegan and our campsite at Kinloch. As we were just a short walk from town, we decided to stroll in to see what we could get for dinner and found a small restaurant serving fish suppers or pizza. Fish and chips for two it was! Once back at the campsite, we were once again to bear witness to a spectacular sunset before we turned in for the night.
We enjoyed a good 18.4 mile cycle today from the campsite to Milovaig and back; however, it was not without incident. On the journey to Milovaig, a car failed to stop in a passing place to allow us to pass, and as a result, we were forced to move into the side ditch, at which point I was jettisoned off my bike and into the grass verge. To say that I was raging doesn't cover it, but luckily there was no real harm done!
Once back at our base, we showered and set off into Dunvegan for a couple of drinks before going to the Dunvegan Restaurant, where we had a table booked for dinner. The staff were friendly, and the meal was very good with an interesting Argentine twist/fusion due to family connections! On the way back to the campsite, we witnessed an incredible sky as we headed ‘home’.
Neist Point lighthouse and cliffs.
Neist Point Lighthouse.
As we headed east towards the Skye Bridge, we were stopped at a set of temporary traffic lights and we took our last photo on our visit to Skye while awaiting the green light!
Here we go again, another Fab sunset on it's way?
Vapour trails at sunset.
After a reasonably quiet night, given that we were on the NC500 route, we had a morning coffee and then took a 3.6 mile walk into the hills. Once back in Iona, we had a small lunch and then moved on north.
So here is our next stopover and the views keep coming!
Time for another walk! This time we walked over the hills to a loch high up on the top of the mountain! And boy, was it windy but worth it!
Time for another ferry trip! We worked our way up to Ullapool and found a great local hotel, the Morefield Hotel, who allowed us to stay in their car park overnight for the cost of a beer! So we had a couple of pints and then headed into town for a fish supper. Now if you are not British, a fish supper may be an unknown concept! It is basically our national dish and comprises a piece of cod or haddock deep fried in either a batter coating or breadcrumbs. It is served with chips, now in our humble opinion, the best Fish Supper we have had is from the Seaforth Chip Shop, Ullapool! If you ever find yourself in town, do yourself a favour and go for it! So, come the following day, we headed to the ferry terminal and boarded the ferry to Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, a bucket list journey for me!
The ferry journey to the Isle of Lewis was uneventful, and after a couple of hours, we were disembarking in Stornaway, the island’s capital. As it was mid-evening, and so we had phoned ahead to the local Indian restaurant and ordered a curry (our other national dish here in Scotland!) which we collected and headed west to our campsite in Shawbost.
We woke on our first morning, and I pulled up the blind and lay watching the clouds scudding past high above. I then suddenly realised that something was odd about the sun, and it was then that I realised that I was witnessing a partial solar eclipse!
Our first trip on Lewis was to Port of Ness up at the northernmost part of the island, and we found a lovely cafe where we enjoyed a coffee and the stunning views.
After our coffee, we drove up to the Ness Lighthouse located at the very top of Lewis and had a bracing walk along the cliff tops.
As we left the Butt of Ness Lighthouse, the sun made its first appearance of the day, and it made the beaches ‘sing’. This beach is just along the road from the lighthouse and is called Port Stoth.
Our next port of call was the fabulous beach at Eoropie, and it was deserted except for a few local sea birds!
We rounded off our short trip to the north of the island by stopping off at the quaint Cross Old Barn Bar, where we enjoyed a tipple of local gin before returning to the campsite for the evening.
Today we explored some of the west of the island and found more stunning views. The interior of Lewis is generally flat and rugged, and by contrast, the shoreline throws up fabulously colourful stunning vistas.
Next up, we visited the famous Callanish Standing Stones. In fact, there are three sites of standing stones, but these photos are from the main area, and these stones are arranged in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. They were erected in the Neolithic area.
We visited the Blackhouse at Arnol, but unfortunately, it was closed due to Covid-19. These traditional houses were called Blackhouses due to the smoke from the centrally located fire that burnt all day, every day. The inhabitants shared the house with their animals and it made for an intimate, cosy environment!
Just along the road from Arnol, we visited a renovated Shieling, which is tiny accommodation for farmers to live in during the summer months while they worked on the land, tending their animals. As can be seen, they are compact and functional but provide the essentials for living on the land.
Today started out wet and windy. Actually, every day so far has been windy; however, by late afternoon, the skies cleared, and so we took a walk around the small town of Shawbost and found a few interesting sights.
Time to visit Harris! So today, we set off early and arrived in Tarbert, Harris, at around 10:00 am. From there, we drove around the ‘island’ in an anti-clockwise direction and stopped off in various places to absorb the vibe. Fantastic.
Some more images as we toured up the west side of Harris.
We stopped off here on the road back to Lewis and had a pleasant walk by the loch and adjacent woodland on the duckboard walkway. A pleasant stretch of the legs!
Our final drop in on the route home, a Blackhouse village near Carloway. This conservation site was very impressive, and it looked as though one could hire one of the Blackhouses to stay in. Several appeared to be occupied.