23rd July 2010

Nat’s big walk – Isle of Skye to Gairloch

Viv Alexander

The Isle of Skye was disappointing, but I think the reason for that was the weather rather than

Kilt Rock Skye

Kilt Rock Skye

the place itself. For three straight weeks I have had rain nearly all of the time. When doing something like walking the coast, this spells bad news.

It is not only the irritation of visibility and slippery paths – you expect both in Britain! – it is more the packing, unpacking and repacking of wet gear. I guess I have been lucky since January that, as bad as the rain has been, there’s generally been a break between days to dry off. Not so recently.

Camping out means you never, really, get dry. The tent, the kit, my clothes and me, it all remains damp. This raises the prospect of mould, of increased wear and of general discomfort. Wetness is not a problem as long as you can dry out. When you can’t, the gear and the soul both start deteriorating.

Electronics gear also suffers badly, my standard phone (I have three) has unfortunately died and cannot be resuscitated. For those with iPhones, however, so far it has been admirably resilient.

Leaving Skye

Leaving Skye

My boots, with me since the start, are also not taking kindly to water. Worn and beaten, my feet are in a constant bath of muddy water. But this is my problem, not the weather’s, as I want to see how far they can get. They have been loyal friends and, as anyone who has done this sort of thing will know, you stay true to loyal friends.

Portree

Portree

Back onto the mainland now and things are going to speed up. There are less ins and outs ahead so progress should be faster – I hope to be at John O’Groats in three weeks.

The good thing is that, today, the sun has come out. I’m feeling fit and positive and am really enjoying the walking again.

Nat Severs

website