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.
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.
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.
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.