backtracking to backpacking part 2

Posted on May 28, 2006. Filed under: Travelling |

I started reminiscing about my backpacking around the UK, and I thought I would pick up on the next leg of memories.

The post-Glasgow leg of the trip was entertaining to say the least. I hopped on the train (the rail pass was the best purchase I ever made) and headed to the Isle of Skye. The train ride there was gorgeous and we got to go over the bridge that is now famous because of the Harry Potter movies. It was actually pretty cool.

I stopped for the night at a hostel just on the other side of the water (after a brief ferry ride that I can’t actually remember at all right now, but it must have happened because there’s no other way to get there…no wait, I now remember walking up from the boat and hearing my first set of bagpipes playing and then continuing the trek up to the hostel where no one was there to let me in).

Since I had nowhere to go, I walked up to the bus stop, and soon learned that the times were posted about 5 years ago and no one went by them; you just have to flag a bus down. Feeling too timid and tired to do so I walked for a bit and stumbled upon a castle Armdale (or something close to that). It was in ruins, but still gorgeous. I meandered through it and through the museum there until the hostel was open and then returned only to learn that the only place to buy food was probably closed. After finding a tin of spaghetti, I returned to my room to find another girl unpacking. I was telling her the stories of Glasgow and the funny thing about meeting a girl from Queen’s and turns out that she also went to Queen’s (we really are everywhere).

The one person I remember distinctly at this hostel was a man in his eighties who used to be a sailor. He had been around the world a few times and had so many interesting stories. He was in the little town we were staying in to learn Gaelic. He had grown up on the highlands and was worried about the culture losing their language and heritage. I remember an anecdote he told us about a time when kilts were banned, but the boys in the highlands still wore them. When he started to go to school, he was bussed into town. He and another boy wore their kilts and they were told that they had a class the next day called PT. Well, this was gym class, and he still wore his kilt, not the uniforms that they were supposed to wear, and not the requested underwear, and was sent to the principal’s office because as they were participating in gynmastics, his kilt flew up and there was nothing under it.

Next stop in the story was Portree, a bit up-island, and a place that was gorgeous and fun and will have to wait until next time.

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