Glenthorne High School 2018

Pierce Harrison, Frankie Ramsay

The Skye Trail

Their story, in their words….

Victoria to Inverness, to Uig to Duntulm, stepping off the bus for the first time we noticed we were pretty lost. Turns out we missed our stop at Duntulm, we had no mobile networking and even then, Frankie’s ability to read a map was as good as his ability to revise, and it turns out he wasn’t good at revising. Nevertheless, now lost and more alert, we stumbled upon a hill that we could wild camp for the night. Without mentioning the fact that the ground was hard, or that we couldn’t see because it was so dark, it also began to rain. Alas, we managed to pitch up the tent with our hand torches and have our supper: chocolate crepes.

Walking during daylight was refreshing, not only was it brighter in the morning sun, but we were able to appreciate the land. Such sites of beauty captured in photos can only do so much, but to experience the senses; the wind in your ears; the smell of seaweed; the taste of salt, it was worth the troublesome start. Walking back we had realised that we were bound to the roads, barbed fence stretching miles on either side of the road caught outside of private property, the only way to go was forwards or backwards. We had originally planned to pass through the land but trespassing through farmland is against the law, which we weren’t prepared to do, we then made it our mission to walk as much of the Skye Trail as we could.

Walking on and on we found our way to Staffin, a pretty big town with a shop! We decided to pitch up early at about 8pm, having a Jaffa cake here and there. The next few days followed a similar pattern, wake up, munch on grains, look at awe at the sights, setup camp, avoid being frightened by the wind in the night, etc. Crossing off key landmarks on our journey was rewarding, it was like crossing off items on a Christmas list, it brought us satisfaction that is truly indescribable, because we know how far we’ve come. From a high school in Sutton we’ve wound up in the middle of a nature-rich park for adults. The pain of carrying heavy rucksacks was something we underestimated. The walking was tiring, although looking back we’re happy we did it, our legs look great!

We walked southwards, passing through towns, making use of local services and shops to stock our backpacks with yet more happy food. The scots people we encountered were always so cheerful and helpful, and never afraid of a little conversation either! We found this enjoyable; the sense of community was profound and is one of the reasons to visit again. Of course it is impossible to mention community without talking about our two heroes, Christina and Mike. Christina helped escort us to the nearest town at 11pm when nobody else would, without her we would have arrived at the next town gone 1am. It was so dark we had to use our torches just to see the road in front of us. Mike, an awesome and genuinely inspirational leader and guide, runs a hostel in the town of Broadford and took us in for a night when we were absolutely spent. These are memories I will look fondly on.

A few days in, we stumbled upon an old quarry dig site, littered with boulders of varying sizes. “What better place to cook some spam?” we thought, so that’s exactly what we did. Frankie was hard at working frying our first wild-cooked meal, whilst Pierce supervised the camera. The large dig site offered a hideaway from the motorway we had been following, though the faint whizzing of cars could still be heard, the area was serene.

Not once though, did it ever get boring, never. This whole trip was anything but boring, it was exciting, it was thrilling and it was pure, unfiltered adventure. Anytime we visit the path on Google Maps we remember the odd conversation we had about girls, but more than anything we remember the experience we had, battling the weather, fighting our own bodies to keep moving, and above all we can say: “we’ve walked that”, and I think that’s fantastic. We as individuals feel confident and more able heading towards adulthood, and we are most definitely inspired to conduct similar trips. We were also comfortable in silence, not because we’re good friends, but because we were both knackered. This presented many an opportunity to look out onto the landscape, and inhale the fantasy.