Saturday 26 August – Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland
This is also a Tender port, so Barbara and I have booked a private 5 hour tour through Skye Tours with a stroll through the town.
WOW! Where do I begin?
The Brochure: You will board your bus in the main square and travel North towards “The Old Man of Store, traveling parallel to the Loch. You will experience a rugged land of magnificent peaks, fast flowing rivers and isolated moors….and I love the last line….which states; “all vehicles air-conditioning systems may….(be just open windows – my comment not the brochures) which was our case.
Unfortunately, the above is NOT our bus and driver!
We boarded the 30 passenger Diesel powered Mercedes mini-bus at the square at around 11:15 am, after some concern that there were more passengers than could fit in this vehicle. I would not say it was a “vintage” bus but close to that age. There were times during the next 5 hrs and 30 minutes that I had my doubts to its ability to maneuver the terrain without breaking down.
I’m not quite sure why, but our Dutch immigrant driver, Koss, decided to not stay to the advertised itinerary but to go off-route at times to places where the signs indicated it was not advisable to do so, and at speeds that were (to me) only advisable to be used by a sports car. I was sure that he was a distant relative to our Dutch Friend, Yvonne. Nuff said.
As we sped over hill dale and moor they’re was fresh air poring in through the manually operated window vents above our head. They could have been closed, but there was a certain gender of guests that sorely needed their cooling effect. The rest of us we left to cope with the temperature on our own, without complaint. Thankfully I had Barbara’s fleece jacket to cover my knees, and a hood on my jacket to keep the draft off my neck!
After a much needed potty/lunch bread at a roadside grocery store, we motored on to what would be the hair-raising experience of the day.
For those who have ever visited the Olympic National Park and driven up the twenty mile stretch of “Park” road to Hurricane Ridge….envision that same road as a one-lane road with no restrictions, with occasional dirt “pull-offs” to avoid oncoming traffic. Now that you have that in your minds eye, envision again no restrictions to the number of people on the road at any given time, do this on a Saturday, continue the road past the Hurricane Hill parking lot and take the old abandoned road down to Whiskey Bend Ranger station on the Elwha River. Add in several hair-pin switchbacks with cars lining the corners and you are almost there. Now add in an idiot who thought he/she could turn the vehicle around at the top and get stuck, blocking the road.
All of the above descriptions are for the purpose of including a digital image of our drivers dilemma when he had to turn the bus around and head back down the mountain. In the picture you will note the close proficiently between the side of our bus and the car with its rear end sticking out on the roadway at one of the hair-pin curves. There was so little room between the car and the guardrail that our driver had to back up several times, and the roadway so steep that at one point we all had to get off the bus to give the rear of the bus clearance off the roadway, so he could make his final maneuver. How was your day?
After we made our way safely back to the main (one lane road – with paved pull-offs), and I had thought we were done with “adventure roads”, Koss had another secret off-road experience for us….”The Ferry Glen”. Apparently thorough the use of google maps, this little off-road secret was not so secret any longer.
Here is another mental picture for you: 30 people, some who can barely make it to the Lido for breakfast given the opportunity/challenge to ascend these Fairy Mounds/peaks on slippery grass and loose stone paths….for a view of….more Fairy Mounds! Of course the road to the unusual attraction, being a one lane track, cars were parked everywhere, at times blocking the road. And of course there were a couple of folks who (for their convenience) lose track of time and are late returning to the bus. A downside to group travel.
As it was in our last port, the country side is dotted with very fat sheep, grazing the hillsides….and roadsides….ops, we almost got one there….or was that a backpacker?
I guess I would have to give this port a 5 star rating for the beauty of the countryside, and a sad star, because its stark beauty is bringing overuse for the current state of the infrastructure.
Part of the plan was to “Stroll though the Town” – That part broke down into walking the several blocks uphill from the tender landing, pas a 160 lb brown as a bear Newfoundland dog to the transportation center and back down again at the end of the tour…..past the Nufie, who looked like it hadn’t moved all day
Jack W Cummings VOV 2017 – At sea heading to the first of three ports in Iceland – Djupivogur
Note: As I mentioned earlier, I will be moving most of my pictures to OneDrive and if you want to see a particular set, let me know and I will send you a link by email.
One thought on “Porttree – Isle of Skye, Scotland”
Dad I really love this post! I can almost imagine being with you as you explain your dilemmas laugh out loud. All in all this will be a memorable experience!