A Life in the Slow Lane

Where have all the mountains gone?*

Where have all the mountains gone, Pete Seeger didn’t sing. But he might have if he’d not been too busy warbling about flowers and had been on the Isle of Skye today!

In essence we went to sleep last night with clear views of the Red Hills and when we awoke this morning they had completely disappeared, as had anything else more than a few hundred metres in the distance. Typical Highland rain, heavy but fine at the same time, had set in and, together with gusty winds, has stayed with us all day.

Since the best things to do in Skye are walking and looking at the scenery while walking or driving, our options for today were somewhat narrowed. We decided one thing we could do was visit the island’s capital Portree.

Portree Harbour

We parked up in specially constructed motorhome bays and went for a wander. Portree is the size of a small English town and so it didn’t take long. It does have a rather pretty harbour still full of working fishing boats, although the rain reduced its scenic charms somewhat.

Portree Harbour

While we were exploring the harbour we came across a boat unloading boxes and boxes of crabs, all caught this morning. The large ones were familiar as the type of crabs we tend to eat is crab sandwiches, crab salad etc. However special treatment seemed to be reserved for some crabs which seemed too small to eat – they were being carefully sorted by hand. I asked one of the fishermen what the smaller crabs were and he told me that they were Velvet Swimming Crabs and that they were worth four times the value of the standard large crabs. The Swimming Crabs are exported to Spain and in particular the Atlantic coast around Vigo.

Fishermen sorting Velvet Swimming Crabs

We were amused to see coach borne tourists wandering around Portree in thin ponchos bought from the local shops. They had obviously not done much pre trip research on the weather they were likely to encounter in the Scottish Highlands.

While in Portree we had good 3G coverage and so we took the opportunity to book our ferry to the Outer Hebrides. Having not planned this properly all the ferries for the next two days were full but we are now booked on a ferry from Uig to Lochmaddy in South Uist for Wednesday.

With the necessity of emptying our cassette we opted to stay on a campsite tonight and have set up on the Uig campsite, a basic little site which I think is exploiting the lack of competition and its proximity to the ferry terminal. £19 a night to park on a rough carpark, albeit with electricity, and the most basic toilet and shower facilities we have come across in the UK. Tomorrow I think we will be wildcamping again!

View from Uig Campsite

Anyone who read last year’s blog will remember me saying that the Germans are the most adventurous motorhomers in Europe, with us coming across them in large numbers all over the continent. Tonight us Brits are outnumbered by German motorhomes in our own country!!

The weather looks no better tomorrow and so we may just try to find a nice free spot and hunker down for the day.

* Where Have All the Flowers Gone – Pete Seeger