Hitch-hiking to Skye

13 October 2005 Off By nonsavant

Two fantastic things:

(1) Hitch-hiking

I left Tiree yesterday morning at 10am, hoping to hitch all the way to Mallaig before the departure of the last ferry to Armadale (at 5:45pm). A tallish order. Well, I made it, with 5 minutes to spare! Things weren’t looking good at Fort William, standing in the rain at 4:20pm with 46 miles still to go. In fact, as I stood on board the ferry I couldn’t quite believe I’d made it.

At times of stress, pressure or helplessness, I think you can experience a heightened awareness or state of mind. I certainly had it for most of the day yesterday. It is (for me at least) an unusual experience to put yourself completely into the hands of fate. Lady Luck was obviously happy for me to get to Skye last night. There were a good few times yesterday when I felt that hitching was a ridiculous idea. As it played out, I’m now well-chuffed that I even attempted it.

Also, the scenery from Fort William to Mallaig was just breathtaking. The early autumn colours here are fantastic, even on an overcast day like yesterday.

(2) Rubha Phoil

This place is a beautiful, mysterious, inspiring paradise! A guy on the ferry reckoned it was populated by “tinkers” who didn’t have the use of “electricity or running water”. ‘Sounds like my sort of place,’ I thought.

There is electricity, although running water is limited to a communal outdoor tap. Never mind the creature comforts, or lack thereof. The “Ru” is 15 acres of woodland, nature paths, herb gardens, caravans and a couple of log cabins – and it is magical.

Sandy (owner/manager… guardian/gardener) and I went on a salad-picking stroll this afternoon. On the menu tonight was: Buckler leaf sorrel, black peppermint, variegated applemint, nasturtium leaves, rocket, onion shoots, mustard flowers, mustard seed pods and fennel flowers. All delicious, and what satisfaction there is in eating something you picked only a few hours previously.

Spent last night in a cosy little caravan shack. I’m now sitting in front of a large wood-burning stove in the log-built workshop, looking forward to getting to bed and, in the morning, getting some work done. Plenty of stuff to do, will report on it after I’ve done it!

(The writing of this diary entry was brought to your screens with help from Radio 1’s John Peel tribute evening. Thanks to Lisa for the tip-off – Taunton, Somerset seems a million miles away… come to think of it, Edinburgh seems a million miles away…)