Skye Trail day 2: kindness over sunshine

Boreraig – Torrin

I woke up multiple time during the night to check that the river hadn’t come out of its bed. I could hear it all night. It flowed fast and heavy and I was having nightmares of my shoes being taken away by the water. Thankfully by morning they were still there and so was my tent. The ground had become totally saturated with water and one corner of my tent was in a puddle. Inside the tent, the walls and ground were wet but only from my stuff having dripped. I can’t say much water got in from outside. Still, my quilt’s toe box was looking all soaked and sad. I was very grateful for my Zlite mat being waterproof – something I’d just found out the hard way!

I tried to figure out how to get organised to start the day. I needed to pack my tent and my bag while keeping its content dry (or not any wetter!). I also had to go pee and do my business, something which I’d delayed as much as possible because I knew I’d get rained on and didn’t want to go back inside the tent with newly wetted stuff. But nature can only wait for so long and on top of that, I had my period, so I took a very sad and rather comical wander outside bare feet with nothing but underwear, a t-shirt, my rain poncho and my “loo bag” in my hand. I figured there was no point putting leggings on when they were just going to instantly get wet.

Once back in the tent I had something to eat and organised my pack. I was going to have to just stuff my partially wet sleeping bag and double line it with a bag. But first, I needed to place the sleeping mat inside the bag and that would involve having nothing dry to sit on. I realised I did not have a choice and proceeded to remove the mat from under me, place in the bag and sit down bare legs on a very wet tent ground. Once everything was in the back, I got dressed with the previous day’s wet clothes, socks and shoes. Then I got out of the tent, placed my pack somewhere mildly sheltered and took the tent down before placing it in one of my pack’s external side pockets. I’d made sure to take my Gossamer Gear Gorilla rather than a smaller one in order to pack out my wet tent that way.

I decided I would get to Torrin, situated 12km away, and before setting up camp past the village, find somewhere I could dry my stuff. I knew there were no cafes or hotels there but I was hoping there would be a B&B with a drying room. That or basically anything that would provide me with a bit of shelter. I was not just “determined” – I was the “Cam kind of determined”.

Just 2 mins after leaving my camping spot, I had to cross my first river. I’d already crossed it twice last night when looking for places to pitch and I’d hopped on stones with no difficulties. This morning the stones were nowhere to be seen and I ended up crossing in thigh deep waters. A great way to wake my body up and set the tone for the day ahead!

Despite my series of misadventures, I must point out that I was very grateful for the temperatures being actually quite mild for September. Putting on wet clothes and getting straight into the river at 9am was not as cold as I’d expected.

I proceeded to walk along, above and below the coastal cliffs, past screaming waterfalls, through rivers, bogs and a trail that was flooded in most parts. I started thinking I’d have been just as wet swimming in the sea all the way to my destination.

I came across no one at all until I reached Camas Malag, where a group of geology students were researching the landscape. Then followed a section of road walking which I thought would give me a break from the constant wetness underfoot but I was wrong! The tarmac was covered in up to 30cms in places.

Upon arriving in Torrin I spotted an older man by a house. I asked if he knew any B&Bs or hostels in the village and pointed me to his neighbours who had self catering cottages. I went there but they were closed and no one answered the phone. I tried a couple more closed places until I reached this self catering chalet by a house. The house had lights on so I knocked and a man opened the door. I gave him my best smile and asked if he had any accommodation spaces left. Failing that, I said I’d be really happy with any kind of shelter. He did not hesitate once and told me to follow him to the shed: “Come on, let’s get you out of the rain!” he said.

He opened two big sliding doors and revealed a big shed big enough for 20 cows in the winter. The smell was quite strong but the place was made welcoming by a bunch of wedding decorations. I asked what that was about and he explained he’d gotten married the previous week! He got me a rope to hang my stuff to dry and showed me the toilets which he’d installed for the wedding. There I found all one could wish for: a clean seat, paper, sanitiser, deodorant, sanitary products, pain relief medicine and even fresh breath mints! How lucky I was to have arrived at such a place and right after a wedding too!

Now I’m just waiting for my duvet to dry out a little and then I’ll get myself ready for dinner time 🙂 The shed even has electricity! The rain is still pouring very hard outside and I’m trying not to imagine what tonight would have been like if I’d spent it in the tent…

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