Scotland's Islands & Highlands Tour Diary
Day 9 : Skye and over to Harris
The Cuilins on Skye
After a lazy morning then
some touring around Skye we took a ferry to our last two
islands - Harris and Lewis.
of an 11 day/page trip diary - click the links on the right
hand side for the other days in this diary.
Jeanette and her husband Ken
were on our 2010 Scotland's Islands and Highlands Tour, and
Jeanette kept a detailed day by day diary of the tour.
She has very graciously allowed
it to be re-published here, so as to allow you an unvarnished
view into what the tour was all about.
The text is hers, which I've
respected and not changed apart from a few subheadings and extra paragraph
breaks and some Americanizations of her English spelling (they
are from New Zealand).
I've sourced the pictures and
their captions are also from me, not Jeanette.
You can follow along with her
narration by tracking the tour on this
itinerary page and the linked Google maps.
I hope this will encourage you
to come on our
2011 Scotland's Islands and Highlands Tour.
Day 9 – Tuesday June 22nd
2010 – Portree (Isle of Skye) to Stornaway (Isle of Lewis)
Google Touring Map for the Day
The alarm woke me with a
start at 7am so I must have been sleeping well. We both had a
shower and I felt a lot better and certainly cleaner after
sweating half the night. The main impact of this 'bug' is that I
have now almost lost my voice and I still have a headache. My
sinuses seem clearer and my throat is not sore. We had breakfast
about 8:30am and I managed to get my emails on the internet.
A view of the shoreline at Portree, taken from by
the Bosville Hotel; the Royal Hotel is on the far right of
did not have to check out of our room until 11am so Ken went for
a walk after packing his bags and I had a sleep.
We were all loaded on the
bus from the two hotels by midday. We left Jeannette and Billie
Jo behind with Jeannette still in hospital with asthma and a
chest infection. She expects to be ready to travel back home
again in a day or two.
We made a quick detour to the Talisker
Distillery, the only one on Skye, so Malcolm (and others) could
get a photo.
The amazing emptiness of the landscape - this view
is from Dun Beag looking back to the coach (the little white
dot in the center) and beyond.
At 1pm we stopped at Dun Beag Broch, an ancient
fort for those willing to walk to the top of the hill to explore
the ruins. Ken said there were great views from there.
on the bus with a few others as it was getting rather chilly
with heavy clouds overhead. Ken said the walk was worth it to
see the defenses with a plaque describing the various layers of
the 2000 year old fort.
It was our turn to have the
front seat all afternoon so we got the best views of the rugged
countryside. There were 2 flat top mountains that were called
McLeods' Tables as Skye is the Isle of the McLeods. I did not
know that the Piper is the 2nd in command in the clan, a very
We arrived at Dunvegan
Castle at 1:30pm, the ancestral home of the MacLeod Clan. The
sun was trying to shine as though under water (rather watery)
and while we were inside the castle the mist descended so it
became very wet outside.
We enjoyed the castle as there was a
lot to see especially reading about Flora MacDonald, the clan
We bought 2 books – Dunvegan Castle Guidebook (£2.00) and
Samuel Johnson & James Boswell (£9.99).
By 3:45pm we were on our way
to Uig, on the northern tip of Skye, to catch the ferry to
Tarbart on the Isle of Harris.
A warning sign at the Duntulm Castle ruins, and one
of our group fearlessly beyond it.
We drove right through Uig and
took a single lane road to the ruins of Duntulm Castle. Some
hardy people went out and braved the cold wind and mist but Ken
and I, and most others, stayed in the warmth of the coach.
rain set in as we drove back to Uig. There was a lot of traffic
on this one lane road so the passing bays got well used.
We were at the pier by
5:20pm but the MV Hebrides did not arrive until 5:45pm. This was
the largest ship we had sailed on so far as she could carry 110
cars and 600 people. We were able to stay on the coach until we
were on the ferry, then we went upstairs to the observation
lounge where the seats were suitable for lying on.
We had a
muesli bar and a banana each then I stretched out and had a
sleep. Ken woke me about 7:10pm with a lovely hot chocolate
(£2.10). By 7:30pm we could see the Island of Harris and the
small town of Tarbert. We had a very smooth sailing all the way
in the misty rain.
The ship arrived at 7:40pm
(on time) and we were driving off by 8pm. We are now in the
Outer Hebrides. Harris has a population under 2000 with Tarbert
as the main port and capital village (no cities here). Lewis has
a much larger population nearing 20,000. Lewis and Harris have
always been one island, but with 2 names, connected by a small
isthmus. Harris is very hilly while Lewis is much flatter.
Harris tweed was first woven here in 1900. Unfortunately for
some on our coach, there are no distilleries in the Outer
The Royal Hotel in Stornoway.
We crossed over into Lewis
about 8:10pm on our way to Stornoway, an old Viking Centre. We
arrived at the Royal Hotel by 8:45pm and settled into our room
(28) which had a nice view from our bedroom and bathroom across
a small inlet to the Stornoway castle.
The room was a good size
with a large bathroom. We actually had a refrigerator and
Internet wi-fi in the room.
I rang Mum (on Skype) at 11pm then
lights out by 11:30pm. I still had a cough with the sore throat
back again and a headache so not too well tonight.
Read more in the rest of
See the links to each day
of the eleven day tour/trip diary at the top
right of this page.
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7 Jan 2011, last update
30 May 2021
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