Thursday, 11 August 2011

Skye and the sandy bay of Harlosh Island

Refreshed after my coffee and fish breakfast, I went for a wander around the north end of Harlosh Island. The wind seemed to drop as quickly as it had blown up and the sky slowly started to clear of low grey clouds. I noticed the wind was now coming from the south which was the forecast of calm southerly winds and sunny skies. I was hopeful that the squall was the passing of the weather front which would allow the high pressure area to settle.

The beach that I had landed on was one of the few sandy bays I have seen on Skye. It was flanked with large round pebbles at the high water mark and sheltered on the western side by a rocky cliff.

It was possible to look around the north of the island as there was a breach in the cliffs that surround the other three sides. It would make a great wild camp spot, in fact there were a few fire pit remains that proved it was quite popular.

It was a very peaceful little bay, far from the stresses and strains of my working life. I felt completely at home here in the solitude, not like the fish out of water feeling I get being in the claustrophobic cities.

Beyond the cliff to the west end of the bay was a rocky raised beach, and in the long grass at the top was the remains of a ruin croft. I wondered what the people who lived in it were like and what they thought when the left it for the last time, perhaps to live in the cities or to emigrate to America or Australia as a lot of the crofters did during the clearances. I wondered if they ever regretted leaving it in their later years.

I climbed to a high vantage point which overlooked the northern aspect of Harlosh island and the mainland Skye. Took three photographs in succession and joined them together to give this panorama view of the scene. It is worth clicking on it to see a larger version.

A couple of kayakers arrived as I was wandering around the cliffs. I chatted with them before I left the island and discovered they had paddled all the way down from Neist Point the day before. They had never seen a coast line like it and were full of enthusiasm at the sea views on their route. Their tales of discovery made me determined to see the sea maidens for myself.

When I left the sandy beach behind, the sun was shining and the sea looked far calmer and far more stable than when I arrived. The high was finally arriving and it heightened my spirits as the temeprature started to rise too. I was ready to cross Loch Bracadale to head for the cliffs on the western side then hopefully onto Idrigill point and the Maidens.

But first I went for a closer look at the small sea stack off Harlosh point on the mainland.

Just to make sure the sea was going to be kind to my journey, because I knew once it started, I was going to be very exposed... if the wind should rise again...

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