November 2, 2019

Soaked on Skye

Wet cycling around the Minginish peninsula.

I went to Skye to do some mountain biking. However, the weather forecast predicted heavy snow/hailstorms for higher elevations, so I decided to stay low. This is what I came up with:

Just over 50 Km / 31 Mi loop around the peninsula. Map source: OpenStreetMap contributors

Outside the mountains, it was supposed to rain. But that's okay; we are in Scotland, after all. Off I go. Starting in Glenbrittle ("A" on the map above), I stopped by the local beach, as that place never disappoints.

The conditions were better than expected, just mild drizzle. Still, the beach was entirely empty; I had it all for myself. Sounds of the coming tide, lovely views, and a bike. Yey!

Traces of happiness.

The next step was to head up north towards Loch Eynort.

At first, the trail doubled as a proper stream, but surprisingly, the traction was good all the way, so cycling through was not only possible, it was actually fun. So were the outlooks:

The path soon entered the Glenbrittle forest and changed to a maintained fire road.

From Loch Eynort, I joined a paved road to Talisker Bay.

I tend to avoid paved roads, so I forgot how fast one could cover the ground when riding them. The progress was good until the predicted precipitation came. And it hit hard.

Torrential rain complemented the wind of equal strengths, and these plains offered no cover whatsoever. No picture would do it justice. I was wishfully thinking about the Munros Bar, a nice pub on the other side of the peninsula that I visited earlier this year, or any possible shelter. No luck. Bucketloads of water, cold wind, and multilingual swears. Nothing else. By the time I started my descent to Talisker Bay, the rain had begun to decline, but the wind wasn't. It was coming from the sea, right against me — never mind the downhill gradient, I didn't have to touch my brakes at all.

Down at the bay, the weather finally calmed down.

I wrang my drenched outer layers, refuelled with biscuits, and kept up towards the north.

There, a redemption came. A neat unpaved trail, riding goodness.

I even had a company there.

The trail linked Talisker Bay with Fiscavaig, a settlement atop the peninsula.

It is the least touristy portion of Minginish, yet, the views it has are beautiful. There are some fancy houses in this area, giving the residents calm and picturesque settings.

By the time I got past them, the sun had broken the clouds and coloured the surroundings in vivid hues. Being on a beaten path again, this was the highlight of the journey.

The path took me all the way to the northern tip of the peninsula, where's this lighthouse:

A good lunch spot.

Later, I decided to get down to the shore, to use a different path than the one I came with.

This wasn't the best call, unfortunately. The rock was so slippery, it proved non-cyclable. Oh well; it was adventurous, nonetheless.

Once the hike-a-bike chapter was over, I got on another asphalt road through Portnalong. That's where the mentioned pub is; but the weather was still all right, so I kept going towards the most populated village here, Carbost.

That's where the Talisker Distillery is located, and so the level of tourists increased. For many of the international ones, Skye is the first place they visit in Scotland — plenty of them aren't used to the left-hand traffic, let alone the singletrack roads. Avoiding people who drove in the opposite direction was annoying at best, but being honest with myself, while I didn't run into others, it also took me a bit to adapt when I moved to the UK a few years ago. And technically, I was just as much of a tourist as these people were. Thankfully, I didn't have to worry about these mixed feelings for too long; a portion of the paved road ahead has a parallel gravel one, going through woods. That was better. Lastly, descending back to Glenbrittle was business as usual:

Downpour, and pretty scenery in every direction.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy my previous articles from Scotland, such as:

Cairngorm on a bike

Cycling up and down the Cairngorm Mt.


Photos of Skye's most iconic landmark

Alternatively, browse my Blog Archives for more topics and categories. Thanks for reading!

Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Stories


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