Saturday 18th August 2018
After an early start, we were in the ferry queue at 7am ready to depart Castlebay at 0755. Once on board, we positioned ourselves near the restaurant ready to beat the rush for breakfast when it opened. That rush didn’t materialise, and wandering round the ship later we found out why. Many people had brought their pillows and duvets and were catching up on sleep! When we got to the top deck, we were amazed to have it to ourselves most of the time. The howling wind might also have had something to do with that …
More or less on time, at 1240, we approached our destination, Oban.
We didn’t linger, choosing to drive to a pub outside town for lunch, and then to make our way home to Glasgow. Our Hebridean Hop was over. Some thoughts:
- We drove just over 1000 miles, a seemingly modest amount for three weeks, but once you’re on the islands there aren’t a lot of places to drive to! The roads are greatly improved since our previous visits, but most of them are still single track and consequently slow. Being impatient to get straight from A to B just doesn’t work.
- Other infrastructure – museums and cafés – has also improved greatly, enhancing the tourist experience and, it is obvious, bringing greater prosperity to the islands. It’s probably selfish to feel that this diminishes the charm and makes the islands feel less remote. However, I’m glad to have caught them at this point before they become overrun, as seems to have happened to Skye.
- We were lucky with the weather – and I mean that, despite having written about some terrible downpours. It could have done that every day, whereas most days were reasonably fine and some were sunny and warm. However, if you must have guaranteed sunshine, the Hebrides will not be for you!
- We walked, on average, seven miles a day, much of that on beautiful, golden sands. This was enough for our collection of dodgy knees and feet!
- It’s 25-30 years since we last visited any of these islands and we can’t understand why we left it so long. This year, current thinking is that we will visit some of the Inner Hebrides, but they don’t lend themselves so obviously to a “hop” and will involve more route planning.
- Thinking of going to the Outer Hebrides? Yes, I think you should! Find all my posts with the tag Hebridean Hop for inspiration.
- Finally, I’m linking this post to Cathy’s On returning home invitation. Check the link for details: Cathy’s current post is about leaving Japan after teaching there for a few months.