28th March | Highland cattle at last!
Today was our planned trip south along the A37 from Portree, not being entirely sure what we would find along the way. We were conscious that it is day 10 and we still have not caught sight of any Highland cattle, so we were hoping to find coos. And we did!
We took our time in the morning, setting off at 10:53. Our first stop was very much a tourist trap: the Sligachan river and bridges with mountain backdrops. We arrived at 11:45 and I made my way to the only wooden bench in sight and sat down for coffee and a sandwich.
As you can see in the desperately fussy photograph below it is a dark, dull and cloudy day, which is a first so far on our trip. This picture provides, as us geographers used to say, the site and situation. This is the Sligachan Hotel and the old bridge; the new bridge is the rather utilitarian one on the right carrying the A37.
We did our best to take some pictures of the recently unveiled sculpture of local man John Mackenzie and mountaineer Norman Collie, two pioneers of climbing in the Cuillins. It was quite a challenge though as even out of season there were quite a few people around, and weather conditions and time of day were far from ideal.
The explorers are facing the Cuillins but I could not get a convincing photograph of them looking towards the mountains, which is a shame. However, the view they were gazing longingly at is more-or-less the one below, and in fact you can just about make out the sculpture on the bottom right – if you look very closely….
Incidentally, right behind the sculpture is a seating arrangement conveniently laid out for tourist photos. So I took a selfie of the three of us intrepid travellers…
A short drive on brought us to the falls at Eas a’Bhradain (yes, I have trouble pronouncing it as well..). Crossing the road with great care we then picked our way very carefully down a steep slope and into very wet and gooey marsh, doing our best to avoid the wettest parts, picking out rocks and dry plants for footfall. It really was not easy. We managed to get a few photographs, although I cannot say I am very pleased with any of them, again due to the cloudy conditions and poor light.
Tim went one better than me and even took his tripod, being far more experienced in its use than I am. He set it down in a precarious spot, and himself in an even more precarious spot, then took his time to get the photo he wanted.
On the way to Eas a’Bhradain we had spotted coos by the side of the road, and vowed to make our way back to take some photos. There were a few tourists about – including a chap from Montana who had some Highland cattle – or knew someone locally who did, I can’t remember which. The cattle were calm and aloof; they seemed to know they were better than us and took very little notice of us mere humans. I must say they are very pretty…
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