Thursday, 17 March 2011

Kyleakin and long days of long ago

There are some journeys that we will never forget during our lifetime. One that I will never forget, was my first visit to the Isle of Skye. It was in 1975 and I travelled from Ayrshire with my elder brother and a friend. Our transport was by our motor bikes which were among some of the first Japanese machines to hit the UK.

I drove a Yamaha DT175 Trail bike and felt like I was sitting on an Easy Rider hog special. It took from very early morning to late at night to reach Skye. In those days it was still an Island. Access was by a ferry from the Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin. In fact we went on a couple of ferries as the bridge at Ballahulish was not yet built.

There was always long queues of cars waiting to cross by ferry and we loved driving past them on our bikes because the ferry crew fitted us between the cars already on board. However it didn’t stop harassed drivers still waiting in the queue from throwing us the dirty looks much loved by rebellious youngsters

In those days, time seemed to last forever, just like that journey to Skye. Now it only takes around five hours to do the same journey in this modern fast paced world. Sadly, those long days of old when time seemed to stand still also seem to go much faster.

I cant decide whether it is because Im older or whether it is the modern pace of life that has shortened my days but I want to find a way to slow things down again so I can enjoy the scenery passing by instead of watching just a blur flash by. I have had enough of fast cars and fast foods to last the rest of my life.

I work in an industry where everyone wants everything done yesterday and they start throwing tantrums if its not done. Its all my fault that it wasn’t done even though Im positive they didn’t know what they wanted done in the first place. Im sure if I can get rid of that stress then my days will slow down to a pace that I can enjoy again.

Nowadays Kyleakin is just a quiet backwater. In fact many visitors to Skye hardly see it. In the days before the bridge, it was one of the busiest town on the Island as harassed drivers threw dirty looks at bikers as they queued the length of the town waiting on the ferry.

Looking across the harbour at Lochalsh towards Kyleakin on Skye. Most drivers turn right when the cross the bridge so don’t even know of its existence.

The ferry ramp is often covered in lobster pots and fish boxes. The queuing cars have long caught the last ferry home.

The local inhabitants must still reflect on those days of old. The passing visitors brought their bread and butter.

Now they have to fish for it. Its still a busy little fishing port on a good day

The ruins of Dunakin Castle must have see a lot of boats at anchor since the days the Viking longships moored in its shadow, before heading for the battle of Largs. That would have been a long slow journey too. I wonder if they suffered from industrial stress ?


Douglas Wilcox said...

Hi Donald I can't believe that fantastic trip was 36 years ago! Here we are, flat out after the long journey to Glen Brittle in Skye.


Donny Wilcox said... remember that journey too Douglas :-D If only we could turn the clock back...

I dont know what it was about those early trips to Skye..but we always seemed to get great weather too..

I will mention the chain link once I get to the Cuillin posts ;-D