Touring on Skye

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
jadakabj
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Touring on Skye

Postby jadakabj » 6 Jan 2020, 11:04pm

Hello,

We (my wife and I) did the Outer Hebrides last year, going back again in a different format this year.

I've a trip planned for June where we'll be staying at Glenelg and using the little ferry to Skye for a 2 day jaunt. Originally planning to leave the car at the B&B but now looking to "car assist" to Kylerhea to give us more time to get back and drive to Skeabost on the return leg.

Overnight parking at the Otter Hide is discouraged and there doesn't seem to be anything in Kylerhea itself. A little bit of waste ground by the ferry has been mentioned.

Any comment on just leaving a vehicle by the side of the road for 2 days? Any contacts up there who might oblige us with a parking space?

From Skeabost we'll be leaving the car and cycling to Uig for a few days in the Outer Hebrides. Via Staffin. Coming back will be direct on the A87, despite its scary reputation. Again, any comment?

Thanks, John

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Paulatic
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby Paulatic » 7 Jan 2020, 9:30am

Last year I came back from the Hebs via Skye.
Admittedly I took a direct route to Armadale using A87.
My thoughts: Uig to Portree the ferry traffic passed me going up the hill and the road was quiet...
Until I got near to Portree when traffic increased...entering Portree was a rude awakening and welcome back to the real world. After a week in the Hebs seeing all those people was a shock and I thought I was in the Lake District. :lol:
The A87 from Portree was busy in waves. I always seemed to accumulate a queue behind me on the brow of every hill and before every bend. Pulling into a lay-by to let traffic pass me a farmer greeted me with the words "you must have a death wish" :)
I stayed at Broadford that night and my only encounter with midgies on the trip.
Turned off the A87 next morning for Armadale and it was lovely and very enjoyable.
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ambodach
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby ambodach » 7 Jan 2020, 2:06pm

I would go with your idea of leaving the car at the B&B. Far better to have it where somebody can keep an eye on it.

robing
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby robing » 8 Jan 2020, 9:03am

I also returned from outer Hebrides through Skye in 2015. I didn't enjoy it. The main road from Uig to Kyle is busy and had a headwind all the way. The road to Armadale was much nicer. It's a large island so I'm sure once you get off the main routes it's much quieter.

gloomyandy
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby gloomyandy » 10 Jan 2020, 9:48am

Main road from Portree to Broadford can be busy (and scary, cars can be very fast at times). Not sure about general parking, but I've left my car at Uig (in the long term ferry parking) lots of times (for up to a couple of weeks) with no problems at all.

philsknees
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby philsknees » 10 Jan 2020, 11:39am

I very much agree with Paulatic's comments above. I made many visits to Skye in the 1970's & 80's, climbing, fishing and walking but became disillusioned with the place after the bridge was opened and many of the wonderful old single track roads were "improved" to accommodate(attract?) the increase in traffic. I cycled through it from Uig to Armadale around the same year as Paulatic after a trip around the Outers and frankly, don't care if I never return to an island I was once very fond of. It certainly wasn't the wonderful place I remember, though the appalling bad weather and busy roads on that last trip didn't help. It was more the increased commercialism and loss of the special relaxed atmosphere that was noticeable and, for me, the last straw was the string of traveller encampments with their associated mounds of rubbish spread along the lay-bys near Broadford.
That said, the Armadale road still holds something of the old atmosphere of the place, particularly if you time your ride to avoid the worst of the ferry traffic. As with much of the western Highlands you need to plan and time your route carefully if you seek the old time Scottish experience. On the other hand if you grit your teeth and just go for it Skye can be a quick way to get back from the Outers to a railway.

ambodach
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby ambodach » 10 Jan 2020, 3:42pm

I certainly agree with the comments regarding the roads on Skye and as they campaign for more and better ferries from Mallaig the Armadale road can only get as bad. Skye was the only place I have been refused when asking to get my water bottles filled.
The days of carefree cycling here are long gone and I certainly would not go back due largely to the increase in trying to suck every penny from the visitor.
Leaving a car at Uig I think is probably still safe enough.

brynpoeth
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby brynpoeth » 10 Jan 2020, 4:17pm

We have had this before
Any Isle only reachable by ferry is much quieter, there are plenty of them
Maybe it is ok to 'sacrifice' Skye so the numerous other Isles remain 'undiscovered' :?
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Mike Sales
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby Mike Sales » 10 Jan 2020, 4:21pm

What is the Glenbrittle road like these days? I was warden of the climbing hut in about 1970.

It is a dead end road, but if you like mountain views it gives a good look at the south Cuillins with a short walk.

philsknees
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby philsknees » 10 Jan 2020, 6:44pm

Some interesting stuff here. In my earlier post I was very tempted to make a comment along the lines of ambodach's but was reluctant to "light the blue touch paper". However, what he says is most definitely true. Much of the local generosity of spirit which I found so charming "back in the day" has clearly disappeared - I'll say no more for fear of offending old friends.
I actually got into few arguments with local acquaintances who disputed my observations that they were signing a marvellous lifestyle away by demanding the bridge and may live to regret it. I eventually stopped engaging on that topic but sometimes wonder what they think now? It's immediately clear that things have changed - not locking doors or cars was never going to last and eventually I had an expensive sleeping bag stolen from an unlocked car parked in the tiniest village you could imagine.The rot had set in.....
I had to chuckle at Mike Sales enquiry about Glen Brittle. I haven't been there recently but Google Earth shows the same old single track road with those deep drainage ditches is very much as it was - until you get to what was the Fairy Pools parking spot which could accommodate a handful of cars. I really couldn't believe what I was seeing on the aerial view! I know the pools feature regularly in the Sunday papers but for me that view typifies the demise of the place. I'm only sorry that I was unable to download it here but do have look. The road must be a nightmare carrying that amount of traffic.
And yes brynpoeth, you're right about the harder to reach islands which have largely retained their character but the OP asked the question about Skye and I think there's always space for a few updated views especially if they present a negative opinion of a possible destination.

Mr.Benton
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby Mr.Benton » 21 Jan 2020, 3:24pm

In 2018 I arrived in Skye on the ferry from Tarbet to Uig. I chose to cycle south on the A87 towards Portree but turned west at Borve to on the A85 to Dunvegan. The A87 had light traffic and the road to Dunvegan was quiet but hilly. Dunvegan is a nice place for an over night stay. The next day I cycled
to Sligachan which again was quiet.
At Sligachan I joined the A87 which was busy until Broadford, the road is narrow in places and there were lots of busses and campervans. There is a quiet road which turns off just after Sconser and follows the coast round, this misses out the big hill but this was marked as closed. This would have been a better route had it been open.
From Broadford I took the A851 to Armadale which was quiet. There are still stretches of the old road in place which are really quiet. With a bit of thought the council could eaily turn these into a dedicated cycle path.
I left by the ferry to Mallaig from Armadale.

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andrew_s
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby andrew_s » 21 Jan 2020, 5:35pm

Mr.Benton wrote:From Broadford I took the A851 to Armadale which was quiet. There are still stretches of the old road in place which are really quiet. With a bit of thought the council could eaily turn these into a dedicated cycle path.

Last time I took that road (2015?), the old road seemed to be in use as a cycle track (suitable gates etc), but the signposting was non-existent, and if you didn't spot the gate, just before the top of the first hill, a lot of it's far enough away from the road that it's difficult to get on to.
The Armadale end is off the layby near to the Drunfearn road, again, only noticeable if you know it's there.
There's a short section on the way down where the old road crosses the new road and the remaining layby bit isn't worth using, but otherwise it's excellent.

I knew about it from an earlier trip where I'd failed to get onto it, and was on the lookout.

Fairy Pools car park (for philsknees)

dodger
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby dodger » 21 Jan 2020, 7:14pm

I too have fond memories of Skye back in 1970, friendly and quiet. Fantastic climbing on the Black Cuillins, especially the Inacessible Pinnacle and the ridge walk, followed by the Alisdair Stone Shoot scree run and trying to escape the midges. My friends were in Glenbrittle Youth Hostel and I had to sneak in through a window to escape being eaten alive in my tent.
2018 was my first visit since then and, like others, coming off the Outer Hebrides, Portree was a huge shock. Full of tourists and traffic from early in the morning and the road to the bridge was also very busy.
Next time I think we will stick with the Outer Isles.

brynpoeth
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby brynpoeth » 21 Jan 2020, 8:04pm

Saw a film made on Skye, 'Seachd, the Inaccessible Pinnacle' (2007), Gaelic with English subtitles, very good
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Hobbs1951
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Re: Touring on Skye

Postby Hobbs1951 » 22 Jan 2020, 9:43am

When I read threads like this it makes me appreciate all the more the memories I have from touring Skye in the 1970s (with the school cyclo touring club) and in the 80s with friends - always using the Glenelg Ferry (then it could only take two cars).

Although I will add the very Outer Hebrides (Barra, Harris, Lewis etc) are relatively traffic free (I did get a shock when visiting Mull a few years ago, coaches stopped for no-one on the road to the Iona ferry !

John.