June 22 – Portree to Armadale: The hostel

Sign on Kitchen Door of Hostel In Portree. Brand new the morning I left. Not the same vibe at the one I was going to.

Sign on Kitchen Door of Hostel In Portree. Brand new the morning I left. Not the same vibe at the one I was going to.

At 8am I boarded a bus from Portree to the Flora McDonald House in Armadale at the Southern part of the Island. I had to go Saturday as all of the bus friendliness stops on Sunday. But – this and the other buses I took were covered by my Britrail pass.

“No problem”, I thought, because I had been  assured when I made the reservation, that the hostel was just up the hill from the bus stop, and my walking issue and 4 months worth of luggage would be no problem.

The bus ride offered dramatically beautiful vistas of green and/or rocky hills and/or mountains and all sorts of windy water inlets that I am sure have specific names that I don’t know. A huge variety of greys and greens as it rained a little then a lot all the way down.

About an hour and half later, it was still raining when I was left off of the bus at the bottom of a pretty steep country road. It was actually a wee bit beyond the stop as the driver had forgotten to stop at the stop. There are miles between them at this part of the Island but I had been alerted when I caught glimpse of a small Flora McDonald sign behind a tree as we whizzed by.

Once I got back to the stop, I dragged my stuff up this hill and to the first house I saw which looked suspiciously not like a hostel. Leaving the big suitcase at the end of the drive, what seemed in the rain a half block distance, I went to the house and knocked.

The road up to Flora MacDonald from the Main Road. This doesn't look steep but it is. You can see the top of where I stopped. The ride they gave me continued up that little bit off to the right.

The road up to Flora MacDonald from the Main Road. This doesn’t look steep but it is. You can see the top of where I stopped. The ride they gave me continued up that little bit off to the right.

Guess what: -It in fact, was not the hostel. The hostel is “just up the road and to the left”. The man of the couple at this house was brother to the man that had told me the hostel was just up the road. Fortunately, he had pity on me and my limp and drove me up there. And I am quite thankful as their “just up the road and to the left” was quite a very windy   and very up”up” and several roads went  to the left and some roads went to the left off of those. All of this was lined with rather shrubby hedges. With out the ride this would have been a much more interesting adventure.

Once deposited in front of this long shed  structure,  I walked into one end of a very long thin room with lots of windows  along the left wall and a clump of handsome young men gathered around a computer watching a match of some sort- rugby I think  involving Ireland and Australia. Out of the window are horses.

looking out the window towards the horses, then the mainland.

looking out the window towards the horses, then the mainland.

Turns out they,(the young men), are geology students here for the summer studying this part of the Island . As there is quite a bit of geology here. Up from U of Industrial English City, I think. Turns out the 5 or 6 of them stayed at the cabin behind this main house – where I had one of the three rooms to myself: and my own half bath. The kitchen in the cabin looked like one would expect the kitchen of 5 college students studying in the summer to look like. Fortunately I had carried my leftovers from Portree down.

Once there I called Patricia Shone the potter as we had arranged. So I spent the afternoon involved in one of the best parts of my whole trip and that will be what the next entry is all about.

The evening back at the hostel was pleasant enough, wifi on one side of the room and the company of the young men and a young couple from the Norway? who had biked from Portree in the rain, and the obnoxious racist proprietor, who kept insisting he wasn’t racist as much as he hated one group of people because he had no problem with another group of people. But he did light the wood stove so it was rainy out and cozy inside.

more of the horsesl The only photos I took of this hostel.

more of the horses l The only photos I took of this hostel.

The next morning I got to meet an Indian family visiting from Newcastle and had fun looking at the horses with the little girl.

But I was very glad for what would be my third free ride of the week end when Peter’s wife – I can’t remember her name, took me to the pier where I would eventually catch the ferry. But not before another adventure.

The  Pier

The Pier

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Note from Now – September 16, 2013

me at a cafe in Shrewsbury owned by Texans from Austen and served by a Pgh Penguin loving amateur hockey player

me at a cafe in Shrewsbury owned by Texans from Austen and served by a Pgh Penguin loving amateur hockey player

I just want to say to those who follow – You may notice that I’m behind. I do have the goal of finishing June before I leave the UK October 3, and having sent all of my postcards so they arrive in the states before I do. But I am finding one of the benefits of writing in retrospect is that I can enjoy the remembering. So I look forward to remembering this time when I am back in the states. And the next entry is an example of one of the many days I am humbled to tears, (more or less depending on how inebriated I might be),remembering the generosity shown to me by strangers – like many of the days before.

I just noticed that my visitors may see ads. Its 99 pounds to upgrade to adless. Please let me know what ads you see. Especially if they are vodafone which is a thoroughly dispicable business to deal with. – I’m not even talking about how they take the UK money and put it off shore or screw up the health care 111 line, I’m just talking about how lousy and not user friendly the fone is.

And one other thing – So thinking about Marlene.

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June 21st on Skye

midsummer on Skye

DSC01765So in planning  this trip I had it in my mind that come the longest day of the year I would be on the most Northern part of the Island. Me standing on a beach or a rock just looking north. Maybe taking part in a wood fire. Well that didn’t happen. To get there or anywhere near it  would have been an ordeal, I was to leave for the south of the Island the next day so couldn’t overly exert myself. Besides, it was mostly cloudy and rainy.

But I did have a special surprise from the day. There is a great big section in the middle of the maps of Portree called The Lump. But somehow I couldn’t find my way there. – Ans when I finally did ask directions. The folks I asked had no idea what I was talking about.

Well I did find out how to get there – by finding an enchanting path on the harbor side of it. But by the time I walked around The Lump my legs were too gone to go to the top part, given what I had ahead the next day especially. So I will need to come back.

I set out for an after dinner, before going to the pub walk, following a small road behind the hostel. At the end was a stair up the cliff, then this enchanting wooded path jee-ust around the edge of the lump.

The sort of scrubby area that I could see from the hostel. I decided to investigate.

The sort of scrubby area that I could see from the hostel. I decided to investigate.

down the hill behind the hostel

down the hill behind the
hostel

back road

back road

across what one map called the muck

across what one map called the muck

further along

further along

someone's yard

someone’s yard

So I come across these stairs

So I come across these stairs

half way up the stairs this is in front of me.

half way up the stairs this is in front of me.

this is behind me

this is behind me

Sign at the top of the stairs. Good thing as I certainly would have done some of these things had they not mentioned not to.

Sign at the top of the stairs. Good thing as I certainly would have done some of these things had they not mentioned not to.

Please notice how tiny and slanty the path is

Please notice how tiny and slanty the path is

To the left

To the left

To the right

To the right

you can see the area I did not get to. I actually thought of climbing up there but my concern was coming down.

you can see the area I did not get to. I actually thought of climbing up there but my concern was coming down.

the straight drop down added a bit of punch to this beautiful view.

the straight drop down added a bit of punch to this beautiful view.

steadying myself on the trunk

steadying myself on the trunk

What you can't see is the silence except for the birdsong and the smell of the pine.

What you can’t see is the silence except for the birdsong , the smell of the pine and the very gentle breeze.

And while I was scaling this the sun peaked out a bit. So I had a quite enchanting moment on the 21st of June, 2013 in Portree Scotland.

Isle of Raasay.t lies between Skye and the Mainland of Scotland. I Can you see that little bit of sun?

Isle of Raasay: It  lies between Skye and the Mainland of Scotland.  Can you see that little bit of sun?

Further along: the left side of the path

Further along: the left side of the path

 The path itself. I'm quite fond of this railing

The path itself. I’m quite fond of this railing

and to the right another view of the Isle of Raasay.

and to the right another view of the Isle of Raasay.

What was really amazing was that a person of my limited ability, with no transportation in this small town, could find an hour of nature and adventure with the only sign of humans being a few small boats.

Now I see the other side of Portree. I had taken a walk along that hill directly across few days earlier. Sorry I didn't have my camera then. Especially when i came across the waterfall.

Now I see the other side of Portree. I had taken a walk along that hill directly across few days earlier. Sorry I didn’t have my camera then. Especially when i came across the waterfall.

the path ends behind this church. They were having some type of social hour.

the path ends behind this church. They were having some type of social hour.

Post behind the church with moss on top.

Post behind the church with moss on top.

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Portree Special excursion – the MS Center – June 21

This wasn't the easiest way to get there from the bus stop

This wasn’t the easiest way to get there from the bus stop

In The UK they have a number of MS Centers, each offering a variety of services and information. Most having a hyperbaric chamber. It is the MS Center in Portree that initially drew my attention to The Isle of Skye. So I got a bus that went sort of near by – actually its not that far but it was in a sort of industrial kind of area.

View from the parking lot.

View from the parking lot.

 

So A massage therapist was there but I didn’t have cash. So one of the volunteers took me to the grocery store with her and back. And after a short wait I had a massage. Which felt great. Meanwhile before and after I got to chat with the other MS folks and learned how the system works there and what was involved with “taking a dive”. I would report on these things but I’m not sure that I remember correctly.

Before a dive. Some very friendly and funny (humorous) people

Before a dive. Some very friendly and funny (humorous) people

The space was small but very cozy. and of course I was offered tea ad biscuits

The space was small but very cozy. and of course I was offered tea ad biscuits

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Portree: Special excursions: Shilasdair

Shilasdair is a yellow Iris ans it is one of the plants used for yellow dye

Shilasdair is a yellow Iris ans it is one of the plants used for yellow dye

Shilasdair (http://www.theskyeshilasdairshop.co.uk/) is a yarn shop specializing in wool that is dyed with natural dyes. When I called for directions I was told to get off the bus at Faery Bridge and the proprieter – Judy  -would pick me up. The bus driver said ” Do you know that’s the middle of nowhere?” Indeed it was.

Front of the Bus stop at Faery Bridge

Front of the Bus stop at Faery Bridge

 Behind The faery bridge bus stop

Behind The faery bridge bus stop. Similar view in the other directions.

I'm sorry this is the best picture I have Judy picking me up. But you can see a picture of her and the shop at the web site. See the link.

I’m sorry this is the best picture I have Judy picking me up. But you can see a picture of her and the shop at the web site. See the link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Judy picked me up and took me to the  store where I looked and shopped. We talked on the way about how the land and sea scape is never the same one minute to the next.

View from the shop garden

View from the shop garden

more garden views

more garden views

view from the shop

view from the shop

When I was done shopping she took me to a place to have tea then came and got me and took me to wait for the next bus. (How nice was that?)

Where I went for tea

Where I went for tea

in front of where I went to tea

in front of where I went to tea

 

 

 

 

 

I had a half hour wait and it was the last bus and it was raining so that was a long half hour. On the other hand I didn’t feel that hitch hiking was totally out of the question.

my picture taken by the school bus driver waiting for his charges

my picture taken by the school bus driver waiting for his charges

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Back to Skye – Portree, June 18 to 22, In General

The Pub from the Hostel

The Pub, (the white one), from the Hostel

The Hostel from the Pub,(The Yellow One)

The Hostel,(the yellow one),  from the Pub

 

 

 

Portree is just to the left of Hydro’s photo on the map of Scotland there. The very best part of Portree to me  – not counting the location and surrounding scenery – was that the hostel  was right across the square from the pub that had music every night. So I could have my pint , or a half or two, listen to music even use the wifi, and just walk across the square to my bed.

the space between the two. Including a nice tea place and bakery

the space between the two. Including a nice tea place and bakery

The town itself is very nice little tourist town with a few stores that would make it a year round place to live, It has the center bus place for the Island to get to the many places I did not get to, I did get a nice walk out of town to a beach and up a hill with a view but forgot my camera.

the kitchen and eating area

the kitchen and eating area

The view from the kitchen

The view from the kitchen

The Hostel: This was a very friendly and brightly colored place. The kitchen dining area was huge and allowed for lots of interactions with all the nice foreigners like me or the traveling Scottish people. I was on the ground floor in a four bed female bunk room. There were several women from several places all traveling on their own except for two young women traveling together. The main drawback to the hostel was the lack of wifi. However thanks to that I now have a Library card to the Portree Library. But that was the beginning of the end to my keeping up with the blog.

The view from my bunkroom

The view from my bunkroom

One of my bunkmates but can't find where I have her name written.

One of my bunkmates but can’t find where I have her name written.

The Pub Across: A mix of international  tourists and local folk. For two nights had a three piece – 2 accordions and a drummer, which were marvelous and the 3rd had a singing guitarist and I got to share a sing with a woman at the next table when he did “Take me Home Country Road.” The fourth night – the 21st -what I had thought would be a transcendental night for me,  – was not great music but I had a great time having a laugh with a very handsome man who is the last with no cell phone let alone a computer. He said he liked being in Portree because he could be in a remote part of Scotland and still meet people from all over the world.

around the corner from the pub

around the corner from the pub

Jamie Robertson

My Solstice friend, Jamie

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Back to the future: where I’m at now

Where I live from Sylvia's balcony. The skylights are my room.

Where I live from Sylvia’s balcony. The skylights are my room.

Alex and Gabe on the back balcony

Alex and Gabe on the back balcony

 

So As I said I am recounting my trip from where I am living in  Stroud.  I am lucky to be  living in the home of Alex as her lodger. Living with Alex and until  recently her son Gabe – who just went back to school in Brighton and Ozzy the cat. I have the loft room. with great light. One of the many positive things about being with Alex and Gabe is that they both have American experience, to put it mildly, and are able to translate for me and explain the things I just don’t get.

Alex in the kitchen. Me in the mirror.

Alex in the kitchen cooking. Me in the mirror documenting.

 

Gabe keeping up with the news so he can explain it to me.

Gabe keeping up with the news so he can explain it to me.

where I work - a clay area in the antiroom.

where I work – a clay area in the antiroom.

where I sleep

where I sleep

Where Ozzy sleeps when in my room

Where Ozzy sleeps when in my room

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