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Calamity Shane on the NC500 - Part 11 - Bealach Na Ba to Isle of Sky - Coffee, No Space at the In...

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

Calamity Shane on the NC500 - Part 11

Bealach Na Ba to Isle of Sky

Coffee, No Space at the Inn and Onions

All adrenaline from the pass now diminished, and our minds at peace with our surroundings once again, we continued our journey along the NC500 route, towards the Isle of Skye. I was excited about visiting this place, even though it was off the official route, as I hope to pump into the legendary Danny Macaskill, a world famous trials rider who lives there. Well for that reason and its sheer beauty of course!

We went the scenic route to the island, which had us following a railway line which if I'm honest, would have been a safer bet to drive along as this particular road was treacherous! Potholes that resembled small bomb craters made for a pretty eventful drive! I was feeling grateful for the BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres. The road eventually smoothed out and we climbed a 3rd gear long drag of a hill I caught a glimpse of the word "coffee" and immediately went on high alert, scanning the roadside for said coffee establishment!

And there it was, on the other side of the road. On our side, opposite, was a huge lay-by and I had to jump on the anchors and swerve in, hit a crater the size of a small country. After the crashes and bangs from in the back stopped, we had a quick game of "Guess what smashed this time" and Kerry was still playing as I jumped out of the van and legged it faster than a leopard chasing its dinner!

The coffee was divine, and I genuinely wish id bought several cups. If you're passing it was a small landrover truck on the A890 near Stromeferry. A little company called Coffee Rescue. If you don't buy one you'll be missing out massively!

Onwards we travelled, and eventually, there in the distance was the Skye Bridge. Majestic in the bright sunshine, it stood proudly and welcoming. I was so excited as I drove across, like a kid when he got his first proper bike! Kerry was on the lookout for sea life below us but as per usual we didn't see anything.

I pulled over into the first lay-by so we could have a look for potential campsites. We really didn't plan anything! We found one and decided to drive straight there rather than call ahead, hoping to use the might of stranded camper and my charm, as leverage to get a spot. The drive there was a scenic one. Huge mountains looking on the horizon with heavy clouds clinging around their waists like one of those squeazy koala bear things from the 80's on a pencil. The sky surrounding them was a deep blue that made me feel like I was in space looking down at the planet.

We both kept our eyes open for campsites along the way, just in case my dulcet tones and grey/blue-eyed stare didn't work.

When I pulled into the campsite though we both instantly saw that there was no way we were getting pitched there tonight. It was gorgeous! And full. I enquired in the office anyway, just in case but nope. No room at this inn. The lady did, however, hand me a list of campsites and phone numbers so I headed back to make our way down the list. 16 sites on the list and 16 sites were full.

On the way there we had noticed a small independent campsite that had a sign saying full out the front but we decided to try our luck anyway.

I parked in the entrance and rang the bell that was attached to a stick in the ground and a guy came out. "I know your sign says full, but I was just won..."

I was interrupted with "We're a bit fussy hence the sign but you guys are welcome!"

The site was small, and built over a long period of time in a "sustainable" way. A polite way of saying leftovers. But it was unique, secluded, quiet and had everything we needed! We were in! We were pitched up the end by the vegetable plot and free roaming chickens. Eggs for breakfast it was!

We showered and decided to explore Skye the next day and chill for the rest of the day. We raided my change pot for 20p coins and both had long hot showers, watched the chickens peck the ground for a while and I got dinner on the go.

Kerry was ages over at the washing up stall (I cooked, so...) and apparently had to wait for this guy to wash up 16000 plates, cups and pieces of cutlery. She was walking back as I was wandering around to look for her and we sat and watched this kid that had dug up some onions from the plot and was busy finding various ways to pulverise them. He was absolutely fascinated with the process and we just laughed. He had some connection to the site owner so we left him to it and went back to the van to settle down for the night.

Morning came round too fast and we woke up sweltering with the sun beating down on the van making us feel like turkeys in an oven. No morning cuddles were to be had as neither of us could breathe already, so I threw open the door and gulped in some fresh Scottish air. Kerry went off to shower and I got the van ready for the days' adventures.

The Fairy pools were the days' agenda and Kerry was uber excited for this bit! She'd secretly had this planned in her head and I do feel her every movement so far was coerced in such a way to end up here! I never said but I wanted to see them too...

When we eventually found the area we were left astounded by the number of people that had the same idea! There were hoards of them, both car parks full and overflowing out onto and up and down the roadside. Cars, vans, motorhomes on every bit of verge. We contemplated just parking somewhere but the line of soldier ant-like people walking down to pools was absolutely horrendous. We both agreed we didn’t want to join the swarm and decided to leave them to it. "I'm sure we will find a more beautiful place that's not so crowded," I said, seeing the sad look on Kerry's face.

We left Skye behind us with a mixed bag of memories. For me, it was worth it just for the scenery alone. We made our way back down the route we used to get to Skye and picked up the NC500 once again. We were pretty much on our last leg of the trip, and really didn't want it to end. We agreed that if we found somewhere beautiful, which wouldn't be hard in the Highlands, We'd stop and stretch out one more night.

Thinking of doing the NC500? Check out Destination NC500, the most in depth guide available on the market!

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