Date: 9 September 1999

Subject: Isle of Skye

The next day we headed out for the Isle of Skye -- after buying a few raincoats, ponchos, wool socks and a wool shirt; Fort William is just a row of outdoor stores. We took the train to the town of Mallig on the water. It was a very pretty train ride, and rather interesting too! The wind was fierce, and the power kept going out, which kept the switches from working so the train was rather late into Mallig. The wind was so fierce that all the ferry runs for the rest of the day were canceled. We quickly booked ourselves into a little bunkhouse (again, above a snack bar)... we along with an English couple who arrived with us got the last 5 beds!

We played cards with a couple of Germans on the porch while the rain pounded down around us. Unfortunately my very nice Pike Place market wooden Cribbage board disappeared sometime between Bonn and London (sob!) so we have had to improvise! Later on we went for a long walk around the three block town, and up the hill nearby.

The next morning the ferry was running again and we had a fun, bumpy ride to Skye. We had heard that the busses were expensive on Skye, but it was a bit Portree of a shock to pay $8 for a 20 minute bus ride! Next time I would hitchhike. Portree was a nice small town and the hostel had an Internet terminal!

We wandered town and the headed out on a path along the beach. Eventually, as we sat on the rocks in front of the Salmon pens in the wind, we were looking up at these two beautiful hanging meadows above the water just beyond us. Most of all were looking at the waterfall coming down the cliff behind them. The wind was so strong that the water was blowing UP. It was really amazing -- this was a waterfall about 300 feet high, in 4 cataracts, and the bottom of it was about 1500 feet above the ocean. The wind would die down a bit and we could see the water on all four cataracts, but then the wind would kick up again and the water would disappear from the top cataract, and then slowly from each successive one. The rocks would be dry and the water was blowing straight up in the air!!! It was the coolest thing!

We decided to walk up to the meadows, which was a fairly easy walk and very pretty. But once in the upper meadow and still mesmerized by the waterfall we decided we might try the accent. It was only about 1000 feet from where we were to the top of the cliff (or at least the top of what we could see!). The climb was steep and hard and a lot of fun and when we got to the bottom of the waterfall we filled our filter water bottles -- when there was water coming down it! Then we climbed to the top of the cliff.

A very heavy rainstorm blew in right as we topped the cliff. We started running for some kind of cover -- but there was none, just a gentle slope up another 300 feet or so. Finally we threw ourselves on to the heather behind a tiny rise until the storm passed (about 3 minutes). We were all soaked, but the wind was strong enough that it dried us quickly. Of course we went and stood above the waterfall and got wet as it blew up at us! We descended the other side of the mountain and hitchhiked into town. We tried to use the Internet that night but it was VERY slow and they shut it down early, so it didn't really work out.




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PRESENT PHYSICAL LOCATION: Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Univ, Bonn 

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