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Day 4: Trials and Tribulations

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Our first not-so-great day, weather and experience-wise.

We woke up to fog and a very fine rain. We had a ferry to catch so we didn't dawdle during our morning routine. The drive back to Tarbert didn't take us very long and we were some of the first people to arrive.
We had learned our lesson about being late to the ferry. Well, the ferry people seemed to be behind schedule this time. We still made it out of port on time even though we were running behind.
This trip was a lot less crowded also and had a stop in the middle of the journey. We made our way to the local ferry cafe for breakfast. Ashley got a full Scottish breakfast and Katie had a stuffed hot roll. We both got tea. Black pudding was included in Ashley's meal, and we both tried it and found it quite good (if you don't have a weak stomach, look it up!).
We then found an upper lounge area that was wrapped in windows. We couldn't see much on this trip due to the fog so we settled in for the next three hours.
Ashley took a nap while Katie read. Our stop-over was at the Isle of North Uist. Once we finally docked at Uig on the Isle of Skye, we made our way to the van and got directions to the next stop.

We wound up into the hills overlooking Uig on more single track roads and made it to the car park for the Quiraing hike. We quickly ate our lunch, packed an array of snacks in our packs, and donned all the layers we would need on this chilly, windy, misty hike. The first part of the hike was the busiest. Tourists frequently stopped here to take pictures of the amazing views. Most of them turned back not long into the hike. Our camera died at the very beginning of the hike, and neither of us brought our phones since we had no service. The first third of the hike is along a path that is carved into the side of the mountain. There were several steep areas to navigate up and down as well as some streams and fences that needed crossed. Just before the halfway point, the trail led through a beautiful valley meadow and we paused here to replenish with snacks. From there to the summit was a very difficult climb with not much of a clear trail to follow. Katie followed footprints through the muddy areas to know we were still headed in the right direction. The fog and mist got worse the higher we climbed. And the wind. The wind had suddenly become our worst enemy. At times the gusts were so forceful it would push us sideways a few steps or knock us down. Once we reached the summit, the wind took our breath away with its force. The mist had turned into more of a sleet up here. It had leveled out into an expansive meadow with no clear trail across it. You don't know fear until you are alone on top of a mountain with gale force winds and no visibility. We tried several times to pick the trail back up across several parts of the summit, but with the wind and being very close to several cliff edges, we decided the best choice we could make was to turn back the way we had come. This significantly lengthened our hiking time as we had made it 3/4 of the way through the hike. Not many people made the entire circuit so we didn't run into many hikers on this side of the mountain. About 5-6 hours after our start, we made it back to the van wet, tired, and irritated to see that the weather was starting to clear up.

After our disaster of an afternoon, we decided that we needed an actual campground for the night with hot showers and electricity. We made our way to the southern end of Skye. There was a blip of cell reception that we were able to look up a campground near our planned hike for the following day. We arrived at Glenbrittle Campsite and Cafe after reception had closed and just picked an empty spot to set up for the night. We were both tired and crabby and soon found out that we needed a code for the shower building which we couldn't get until the next morning. This day just kept getting worse. Our day ended in tears. It was Easter, and we had no cell service long enough all day to be able to call home. It was day four, and the homesickness had hit full force.

Tomorrow had to be a better day.

PS - These are the only two pictures we got from the hike.

Posted by kdpitt08 12:19 Archived in Scotland Tagged mountains hiking camping mist ferry isle

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