Sunday, 17 May 2015

Over the sea to Skye

When o was young I remember my Mum singing me to sleep with "Speed Bonnie Boat like a bird on the wing, over the sea to Skye" for some reason that has stuck in my head and yet it wasn't until very recently that I actually visited the island. Today was the first visit by ferry. It's amazingly atmospheric, just half an hour on a little ship, but it makes a real journey.
Mallaig is an insignificant little harbour but  it is the gateway to Skye.
Unfortunately my phone was nearly flat so the photos I have of Mallaig and the crossing are on my camera, and not able to be published yet. The crossing was rough and windy, in spite of lots of notices asking drivers to disable their car alarms, the ferry had barely left the dockside before the first started, to be followed all the way across, by a sympathetic orchestra. Some drivers confessed their failure, others I'm sure, resolved to brave it out.
On Skye and battery topped up, this was the view back to the mainland.

Dark and brooding with a hint of blue sky.
Too much to take in.

My original plan included a circuit of Skye. The revised realistic one has a very short blustery stay. With a reluctant goodbye at Kyle of Lochalsh. While the bridge is convenient and stunning, somehow it's not the same as the ferry.
North now with the prospect of the highest pass in the UK over to Applecross.
I have ridden the pass before, both times in glorious summer sun. Today was windy and wet. On the whole the wind has not been a problem, but once or twice, in an exposed position, I have had to fight it, as a result I was a bit wary of the pass. It has narrow roads and tight bends. In the end it wasn't a problem. The awkward climb was for the most, sheltered from the Westerly wind, at the top it was blowing enough to keep most people in their cars, and there were a couple of exposed points on the way down, but nothing which caused a serious wobble. Interestingly I found two of the sharp uphill hairpins near the top more of a challenge this time than previously. I had not needed to stop for the bends on my BMW, on the Triph I had to put my feet down twice, both controlled and without problem, but somehow I wasn't able to drive through the bends as I should have. I have tried to work out why. It seems that there could be several explanations:
The weather
The fact that I am less experienced at riding the Triumph and don't have the same confidence with it as I had with the BMW
Something about the nature of the handling of the bikes
Or possibly a combination of all three.
No pictures of the ascent I'm afraid, too much concentration required, but the sun shone on top.

I am warm in my pod now. Sun is shining and tomorrow's route is planned.

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