Sunday, 30 May 2010

Pitlochry to Oban

May 17 Pitlochry to Oban
On arrival at Oban, my first time here, we sat and ate fish and chips on the pier. Delicious! We booked an open ticket, a hopscotch ticket taking you to all the main islands in the Outer Hebrides. At £ 250 it seemed a bit expensive but the open ticket flexibility is great. We booked the first ferry to Barra, and then would be able to ring and book future ferry crossings whenever we wished, especially at this time of year, when it’s relatively quiet.
Following Ron and Tricia’s recommendation we booked for two nights at the Oban site, within a five minute walk to the passenger ferry across to the nearby island of Kerrera. It was a lovely site on different levels, raised up with stunning views over the sea and across to Kerrera. After a BBQ, we sat in the evening sunshine, out of the cool wind, and chased away the ducks and the hens, watching the odd ferry and sailing boat travelling across the channel. Very relaxing.

May 18 Kerrera Island
We woke up to yet another beautiful morning. We walked down the hill and caught the little ferry across to the island. We got talking to another couple of exiles from England, who have been living in Aberfeldy for about 20years. Rita came from S.England and Mike from Yorkshire. We stayed together throughout the 6mile walk around the island on tracks and grassy paths. It turned out that Rita was 73, astonishingly. She’d begun walking the Munros at the age of 57 and completed them 9 years later. Amazing. What a fit couple! It made me think that our ambitions to undertake various physical challenges were quite reasonable and desirable. They both clearly loved their walking and were great company on the walk.
Only 4miles long and 2miles wide, you can walk around this roadless island in a day. In 1249, King Alexander II died here, trying to rid Scotland’s western seaboard of Vikings. One of the most memorable sights on the island is the castle at Gylen built in 1587, partly from granite. In 1647 it was torched by Cromwell’s troops during the Covenanting Wars, when the rebels were starved and deprived of water. When they eventually surrendered, they were brutally murdered.
As we move onto the islands we will come across lots of villages, whose names reveal their Nordic roots eg on Vatersay, Bernaray, Eriskay. Can’t Wait!

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