Soon, we're away again. We're off to Glen Affric. Traveling at a steady pace, we arrive in the Glen in good time for dinner and I repack my rucsac.
In the morning, we bid farewell to Chrissie and Pebbles and me an' my little canine pal set out on the track up the valley. It's Saturday. It's, sort of, day 2 of this year,s The Great Outdoors Challenge (TGOC) in which foolish/intrepid hikers attempt to walk right across Scotland, from a variety of staring points on the west coast. They converge, hopefully, at Montrose, in the east, a couple of weeks later. So, it was no surprise that I met many "Challengers" trekking towards us as choccy paws and I walked west. We shared many pleasantries with, mostly, Americans as we wandered along. Islay attracted most comments being younger, fitter and infinitely more beautiful than me.
After 8 miles or so, of walking in great weather and even better scenery, we arrived at Alltbeithe Youth Hostel, which must rival the SYHA's Loch Ossian site for the title of best located in the network.
Needless to say, and despite the impression in my pic, the place is buzzin'. Fully booked up for the next two nights. Ya can't take dogs in anyway so we find ourselves a nearby nook to erect our traveling home and settle down for coffee, biccies and Bonios.
We pass a peaceful, snory night and emerge to a slightly overcast sky. We breakfast in bed. Luxury.
Islay's very well behaved now as I pack the tent. She sits, obediently ... waiting.
We take the same track back, so far, then turn to follow the opposite shore of Loch Affric.
The weather's turning a little. I don waterproof jacket but it's nowt more than drizzle.
After a stop for lunch we're soon back at the van with our fellow travelers. Plan is for Chrissie and Pebbles to hike through Glen Affric all the way to Morvich on the west coast, But, alas, Chrissie has stubbed her toe, badly, on furniture in the van. It's bruised. She's limping. She's not hiking anywhere, today or tomorrow. So it's coffee, cake and off we go, continuing our journey. Our sights set now on Skye.
On the road down towards Cannich we see a familiar face (well, backside really). It's Alan Sloman, blogger extraordinaire, scourge of Twitter, and pal, Phil, both veterans of many TGOCs. We take pity on them with coffee and cakes and share pointless banter, before kicking them out to carry on their Challenge.
And after a sneaky overnight by a Loch en route ...
... it's not long before we're crossing the bridge to Skye.
It's gloomy but we're seeking some low key exercise. We find it, in the form of a short walking circuit from the town of Portree.
Refreshed, we head off to keep an appointment with our Twitter friends Andrea and Peter who are kindly allowing us to park by their lovely cottage near Uig. Not only that, but they ply us with dinner, wine and malt whisky. Scottish hospitality at its finest. Thanks so much you two.
The following morning we enjoy a damp walk with our hosts and their tribe (well, three) miniature Schnauzers. The dogs have a fine time. Then, we're off, in the rain, exploring some byways in the van.
We spend the afternoon and evening sheltering from rain, reading, eating and sleeping.
The next day we enjoy an amble with mining history before spending a final night on the island.
Now it's a short hop down to the Caravan Club's site at Morvich. Next day, we're meeting up with yet another Twitter pal David and Moss; the intelligent one.
More sooner ... or later.