1 Thumb, 2 Feet and 122 miles

This is my first blog post and I’m going to tell you the story of yesterday.

After sitting in the ferry station in Uig, and talking to my cousin online I though to myself, how far can I get in one day. So as I lay in my tent that night I pondered and decided when I awoke I would set of and challenge myself. It had been after a leisurely walk to sky over the course of around 10 days that I started. I headed down the road from Uig to Portree, thumb at the ready for any car that passed, and pass they did. I was feeling let down, so i relived my pack off my back and sat, lazily thumbing for a ride when a 4×4 stopped.

This is Stuart. “I’m going to Portree, is that ok for you?” he asked, of course it was ok, i was challenging myself to see how far I could go. I placed my bag in the trunk and off we went. “I decided to leave civilization about 20 years ago and have never regretted it. I’m one of then smartest people you’ll meet and you know why? I read, I don’t have a TV, I read. I drive for a living and listen to debates.” Usually when someone says a statement like this they’re bullshitting but this man was not wrong. He talked on his work on a new energy converting building structure and then conversed about linguistics. I was surprised that he knew about the FoxP2 protein, one of my biological loves as it is known as the language protein in our DNA strand but our conversation was cut short as we had arrived. 15 miles down.

As I wander Portree a hunger developed in my belly so I sat down on the outskirts and made my favorite nomad meal, hobo risotto. basically cup-a-soup and rice and ate before heading on my way. Around 1/2 a mile of not really attempting to get a ride I put my thumb out and a mini bus pulled over. “This can’t be right.” I thought to myself, but it was.

This is Scarlett. “I’m only going to Sligachan, is that ok?” Is that ok, it was perfect. I didn’t expect to get a ride so quickly, let alone another 14 miles of my journey, so in I hopped. “I’m waiting for my walking group to finish up before I take them back to camp so figured I amble along, it’s nice to ride with someone. We spoke of her job as an instructor, she wasn’t from north of the border but had been here for years in the outdoors. She asked me how I had found the midges so far. “They’re not too bad, I prefer them to ticks.” “They’re the worst part, I had a friend once, went running around in a pair of shorts and got covered in them, over 200 he had covering him.” We casually talked for the rest of the journey until we parted ways.

In an uplifted mood I got back on the road and after about 500m I heard a tooting behind me, lo and behold a car.

These are the Australians. These two are a little harder to write about as when you sit with a couple in a car it tends to be a third wheel situation, the lady spoke to me but her replies were very short “Yup’s” and the chap seemed to have not too much to say. They didn’t really know where they were going. and had a little paper map that was free at the tourist information office. I got out my map to help them at least, the otter haven I was heading, luckily it was somewhere I had spotted on my journey to Uig so I gave them directions but got out earlier than necessary as i wanted some fresh air from the stiflingly hot car. Another 23 miles gone

I was in Broadford, a place I had enjoyed visiting on my outward and remembered the cafe that filled up my water bottle and gave me free sandwiches on my outward journey. I was low on water so thought I’d try my luck again. Walking in with the same tatty bottle and asking for water the lass looked bemused, before she could ask I replied. “Yeah, it was me. I survived the north of Skye.” Smiling she filled up my bottle and bid me a safe journey. I walked to the edge of Broadford and stuck my thumb out. No more than 10 cars had passed when a small blue car stopped.

This is John, John Mcdoanld. “Where you going?” he asked and I replied “Kyle.” He was a local so I needed say no more. He said he was passing past the Skye bridge and would drop me there. I find it fantastic when a local picks you up as you become privy to a little bit of their life, it’s only better when it’s an older local like John because you have a pride in their words you rarely hear. “Aye, I was born in Glasgow but my father was from Skye. My brothers were all born in Glasgow but we all got drawn back to Skye one way or another. There’s something about it. Community and peaceful, you don’t get that in a city. Aye all the young ones go to the city for college or for the thrill but always the come back to Skye.” I’ve never found so much history about a person’s family than from that man, if I had my notebook out I would have written it all down as it was spectacular but I was content listening. He asked me what I planned to do after Scotland and I said hopefully write as I’ve got my journal I fill daily and I’ve written some short stories on my way. He told me if I ever write about today use his full name, so there you go John Mcdoanld, your wish is granted. I got out in Kyle as he took me over Skye bridge out of his way, another 15 miles.

I walked to the edge of Kyle and saw I had competition, not only another hitcher but a lass with a sign, and me with my thumb, so I sit on the last bit of the roadway sticking my thumb out. 1, 2 and 3 I’m in a car, in a matter of moments I’m sitting in a car warm and on my way again.

This is Zen. “You been waiting long?” he asked. “No actually just sat down, where you going?” I asked him. Turns out that he was a man without a plan, just driving around after work. So we talked about what he did. “Basically I’m a dope on a rope, they pay me good money to hang off cliffs and screw nets to them to stop boulders falling.” Fantastic I thought, what a great way to get a living, “How’d you get into that?” He replied “I kinda just fell into it.”, what a fantastic choice of words. So we drove and chatted about travel, myself slightly envious of his job and him slightly envious of my travelling, then he suggested I write some adventures, so here I am.

Now I know I’ve been doing mileage but I’m not too sure the distance where i got out of Zen’s car and into the next so I’ll dump the together at the end.

After I got out I fancied a change of clothes so by the roadside I got my kit off and changed before walking. I stopped and looked and saw some wild horses, as I had been in a many cars so far I decided to walk the pony track for a little while. I walked the track for as far as I could until it rejoined the road near a lay-by, there was a car sat there with a woman asleep and I chuckled to myself as I walked pass. Apparently she was not asleep as moments after she sped away, oh well. I started walking and thumbing and saw a car stop about 400m ahead of me. I didn’t think they were stopping to give me a lift then it started reversing. Someone actually is reversing to get a hitch hiker.

This is Matthew. “I can take you to Spean Bridge if your going that way.” Of course I was going that way, I was trying to get as far as possible. ” I’ve just been hiking these hills, it’s been a beautiful day for it. Where have you come from?”, “Uig” I replied. “That’s quite a distance how have you done that?” I told him that I have been hitching the whole way, he was expecting that maybe it was one or two cars but when he found that he was my sixth ride he was shocked. Matthew and I talked about my journey and it turns out that a few years ago he had been made redundant and he did a similar thing and started touring the word, learing languages and cultures. It turns out that Matthew when he was young used to be an activity instructor and spent many years doing hill walks for tourists before getting a career. Amazing I thought, if only for a little bit of pocket-money what a way to live for a while. We touched on my living in Mexico and it turned out he had lived in the south of Spain for many years which spurred on our conversation into languages and linguistics and how warming it is when someone starts understanding you in their native tongue. We whiled away the journey talking about wild camping and looking at lakes. and the journey passed almost instantaneously. With Matthew and Zen I managed to ride 65 miles.

It was getting late and realised that I had left my water bottle in someone’s car along the way. With 10 miles left to Fort William and the day drawing late I figured I’d try to catch one more lift or walk the rest of the way, thumbing didn’t seem to work for the first few miles and I saw a car pulled by a t-junction. I didn’t think he’d be waiting for me so I walked pass until I heard a shout, “Need a lift?”

This is Alistair. I got in and he was on the phone, I was listening in on his conversation and it turned out he was a head of a building firm form what I could hear discussing his business with whom ever was on the other end. “It has to be her stealing, there’s no one else. It was a sham when she was crying by the Well of Seven Heads, we’ve got let her go. Another six months could cost us another £30,000.” It was like listening into a plot line of a soap story. eventually he finished his conversation, “Sorry I had to go over some business with my son, where you off to?”. I told him I was off to Fort William to set up camp and commended that I was wild camping, true to the spirit of my strong highland name. He told me about a nice place to camp on the way to Glen Garry and bid me fare well just outside Fort William. My last 10 miles.

I walked into town and bumped into a chap I met when I started my journey, we shared a couple of pints and he offered me a night in his camper.

A day well spent.

Welcome to my world!

Hi, and thank you for coming to my blog, it’s due to a comment by a chap called Zen I met yesterday that I started this. We were talking in his car as he gave me a lift out of Kyle of Lochalsh that I should write stories of my travels after hearing of my time in mexico and my plans for the future.

This blog is not for old memories but for new adventures. I may touch on where I’ve been in some posts but will not write extensively about them, instead I will write what I’m doing in the here and now.

To start you off here’s a story I wrote in Uig as I sat and gazed at the sea.

 

Four Elemens

On days like today you can see how the sea loves the land. With no wind to chase it into the arms of it’s lover you watch it kiss and caress the shoreline, tender and mild. The sea slowly laps at the teat of the cliff, gentle, never wanting to disturb the sediment, never wanting to see it’s love cry.

Some days it’s unavoidable, these are the days the wind gets jealous of the love it once had with the sea and chases it with a ferocious force. The sea bounds into the arms if it’s true love, these are the days the cliffs cry. Why you ask, should not the land be happy being with its love? Alas, no, for the land knows that there is a place, somewhere far away, away from mountains or cliffs. A place where the sea and the wind dance alone.

In this place the sea can love the wind once again, if only for a moment.  A place where the winds force excites the as it needs not be scared of hurting its love. The land knows this and made a decision long ago to no longer be whole, instead to break itself into many parts, casting eyes as far as possible onto the sea.

As any adulterer or adulteress knows, just like the sea, you can always find a place away from prying eyes but once your love comes to this stage it is broken. Your love is no more.

It’s on days like today you can see how the sea loves the land, kissing and caressing it. Trying to make up for the damage caused, trying not to make it’s love break any more. Not for the sea at least. Maybe it will love another some day, see the sea for what it is.

The sky waits patiently for the land and always will, it watches the sea and the wind and often sheds tears for the land. It waits for the day they can meet together on the horizon.

There will be a day when the land loves the sea, all it needs do is look up and see the sun, then the land can smile