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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:36 pm 
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pjm1 wrote:
TheDocForgotHisLogon wrote:
VBall wrote:
The campsite at Sligachan is basic but good and it is right over from the Sligachan Hotel. Good bar food, great beer and stonking selection of whisky. They have a celidh on a Saturday I think.

Awesome. The quality of the campsite doesn't matter, we're in a dirty great big campervan.


In which case, on the east side of Loch slappin there is an amazing “wild” spot straight off the road - huge flat area with grass and beach and views straight across west to Blaven. Sunset in summer has the sun dipping beneath its peak. Spent five nights wild camping there a few years ago when doing the Cuillin.

Ah, every time I have seen good weather forecast when up there I drove to Skye to do the Cuillin and always the next morning was low cloud, damp and midge infested to the point of suicide. Only ever done Blaven which was amazing. One day maybe.


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 11:31 am 
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TheDocForgotHisLogon wrote:
Edinburgh01 wrote:
TheDocForgotHisLogon wrote:
Shamefully none of the three of us have ever been north of Invershneckie..........


Likewise, so Mrs W and I are starting to remedy that in May, starting with a tour of the Western Isles. Ferry from Ullapool then basically drop down through the islands and get a ferry back to Uig.

Outstanding. Ullapool to Lewis is on our tentative schedule so a brief trip report after your visit will be much appreciated.


We stopped north of Inverness at Coul House Hotel. Old country house now a family run hotel, very nice.

Ullapool to Stornoway was one of those 'the views would be tremendous if it was not raining and misty' trips.

Arrived in Stornoway on the May Bank Holiday Monday. Stornoway and most of the north of the island were shut. Apparently the fact it was a holiday Monday and the place was heaving with tourists made no difference to locals taking holidays. Check opening hours of attractions you are planning to visit. Even when they are open, some are only open limited hours.

It was May, and the place was struggling to cope. August will be worse. It was impossible to park at many of the more well known tourist attractions so a cavalier disregard for parking outside designates spaces is needed. Book ferries well in advance. Also book places you plan to eat at. The quality is very variable, so the good places get booked out early. I know you have a camper van, but if you are planning to stay anywhere to have a break from that, also book early.

Day one we went up to Port of Ness. It is a longish drive and it is nice enough, but there are better cliffs and beaches elsewhere, the lighthouse is a lighthouse. We went as much to go to the Morven Gallery (shut) and a specific tweed shop (also shut) as the scenery, so were not gruntled and that may have affected our opinions. The drive up was interesting as I have never seen that much bog. I'd not bother again.

Day 2 we went out to Great Bernera. Everything was shut. It only opens for the season on the 14th May, and then only for restricted hours. There is a walk that is a pleasant stroll round the island.

The loop that goes west from Stornoway and up the west coast through Callanish and Carloway is very worth doing. It was filthy weather when we went round, but the usual tourist places like Callanish and Carloway are worth seeing if busy. There are a lot of less well known historical things to see. It depends on your interests but there are little gems to be found if you just follow the brown tourist signs.

Lews Castle in Stornoway was decent. Museum, good places to take photos across the the town, and great walks if you have a dog. If you go at lunchtime a number of attractive young ladies run in the grounds.

We ate in Digby Chick which was recommended by friends, locals we met on the boat, and Tripadvisor. It was good, but not as outstanding as we expected. HS1 does good pub food, including the best steak my wife (sister of a beef farmer and butcher) has had in a very long time.

Next day we went to Harris. Loved it. Again the weather was an issue, but it was the kind of terrain that looks good in sun or storm. Even in that weather the beaches and sea are as absurdly impressive as tourist pictures would have you believe. Luskentyre is obviously a big draw, and is so big it soaks up the tourists and hardly notices. But there are others we found just by wandering off up single track roads*. Loved Scalpay and the North Harbour Bistro is sensational. The Anchorage right in the ferry terminal at Leverburgh is also good. We talked about going back one day and if we do, we'll get a self catering in Harris and explore from there. Harris gin probably had to increase production after we left.

We went down the west coast of North Uist. After a while you run out of superlatives for the beaches, usually with no one else there at all. Apart from that, the Uists and Benbecula are a bit dull.

Eriskay and Barra on the other hand were great. Do not eat in the Lochboisedale Hotel. It will not kill you, but is poorly produced processed crap.

Eriskay has hardly any roads, you need to walk. It's not very big and you can do most of it, and may see the ponies. Barra has a road round the island, but again you need to get out and walk to get the best of it. Views stunning from all sorts of places, and seeing the aircraft coming in to land on the beach is a must imho. The tea room by the Post Office in Castlebay is run by a Yorkshire couple and has the best scones I have had in ages.

Getting a self catering down that end is another option we discussed.

The ferry back to Uig was another of the 'this would be great if there wasn't a storm' trips. Even in appalling weather (even the CalMac staff said it was the worst conditions the ferry had sailed in) the views were good, on more clement days it would be superb.

In summary, having gone end to end, we may go back and if we do we'll largely ignore the Uists, Benbecula and north Lewis. The bits in the middle of Lewis, Harris and Eriskay and Barra were the good bits, and they varied from good to utterly outstanding.

Catering is very variable so use Tripadvisor as your guide. Some places cater for tourists by doing their best to showcase the best of the islands, quite a few are just milking tourists.

We'd not been to Skye in ages. It was jumping with tourists, and there is a good reason for that. I honestly think the islands are getting to the point of being overwhelmed by the tourists judging on what May was like.

Edit
*apparently Hushinish is the name of the beach we really liked. Near the house Madonna tried to buy.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 1:55 pm 
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BTW, since I have just discussed this, signs in Gaelic are a pain. It's not so bad where both languages are equal, but in many English is in small print. On some signs there are multiple lines of text and it is very hard to see and read the English.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 8:04 am 
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I did the NC500 last year in a camper van with the family. It was utterly fantastic. Best holiday I've been on with the family and the kids enjoyed it far more than any holiday abroad they've been (to be fair they are only 8 and 5 but it's still heady praise in their eyes).

Try these guys for a wee bit of something different. http://www.hamletmountaineering.com/
We took our boys rock climbing at Reiff with them which was amazing (the fact it was 20 odd degrees that day helped). It's out on sea cliffs that you can only access during low tide and you have the waves crashing behind you as you climb. Although our kids were younger its suitable for all ages as there are easier and harder climbs.

Oh, and the midges were not a problem other than an odd night when we went (end of June beginning of July) but would recommend the midge jacket and hat and a few bottles of Avon Skin so Soft.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 9:50 am 
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Edinburgh01 wrote:
BTW, since I have just discussed this, signs in Gaelic are a pain. It's not so bad where both languages are equal, but in many English is in small print. On some signs there are multiple lines of text and it is very hard to see and read the English.


how many scots people actually speak scots ? not a troll, but is it widespread? wiki seems to indicate not, 57 fluent, 87k some knowledge - would any of them speak it as a mother tongue ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Gaelic


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 10:12 am 
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backrow wrote:
Edinburgh01 wrote:
BTW, since I have just discussed this, signs in Gaelic are a pain. It's not so bad where both languages are equal, but in many English is in small print. On some signs there are multiple lines of text and it is very hard to see and read the English.


how many scots people actually speak scots ? not a troll, but is it widespread? wiki seems to indicate not, 57 fluent, 87k some knowledge - would any of them speak it as a mother tongue ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Gaelic


Scots and Scottish Gaelic are 2 different languages. It was mostly teuchters that spoke Gaelic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scots_language#Status


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 10:32 am 
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backrow wrote:
Edinburgh01 wrote:
BTW, since I have just discussed this, signs in Gaelic are a pain. It's not so bad where both languages are equal, but in many English is in small print. On some signs there are multiple lines of text and it is very hard to see and read the English.

how many scots people actually speak scots ? not a troll, but is it widespread? wiki seems to indicate not, 57 fluent, 87k some knowledge - would any of them speak it as a mother tongue ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Gaelic


Very few speak it at all, even fewer as their first language. In the west and the islands, some people do speak Gaelic as their first language, including some distant members of my own family. But it is also quite common to find natives of Gaelic speaking areas who can barely string a Gaelic sentence together.

There has been a bit of an increase of late, which is hardly surprising how much money is spent on it. There was a controversy recently when a new £10m Gaelic medium school was opened in Portree (Skye), population just over 4k though to be fair it caters for a wider area, whilst the old English medium school is dilapidated. Even a lot of Gaelic speakers wanted one school where pupils could be taught in either English or Gaelic, but otherwise mix. This has led to the absurd situation of facilities being duplicated in a small community, and fewer specialist classes in both schools as the class sizes are too small. Plus there is the generic issue of separating children whether by language, religion or whatever. Not surprisingly, some English speakers are now sending their kids to the modern, well equipped Gaelic medium school rather than the run down English medium one.

The big issue is largely that it has never been the native language for anywhere except the Highlands and Islands, it has never been a national language, so there is quite a lot of resentment on the money spent on it, especially in what were never Gaelic speaking areas.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 10:42 am 
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Edinburgh01 wrote:
backrow wrote:
Edinburgh01 wrote:
BTW, since I have just discussed this, signs in Gaelic are a pain. It's not so bad where both languages are equal, but in many English is in small print. On some signs there are multiple lines of text and it is very hard to see and read the English.

how many scots people actually speak scots ? not a troll, but is it widespread? wiki seems to indicate not, 57 fluent, 87k some knowledge - would any of them speak it as a mother tongue ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Gaelic


Very few speak it at all, even fewer as their first language. In the west and the islands, some people do speak Gaelic as their first language, including some distant members of my own family. But it is also quite common to find natives of Gaelic speaking areas who can barely string a Gaelic sentence together.

There has been a bit of an increase of late, which is hardly surprising how much money is spent on it. There was a controversy recently when a new £10m Gaelic medium school was opened in Portree (Skye), population just over 4k though to be fair it caters for a wider area, whilst the old English medium school is dilapidated. Even a lot of Gaelic speakers wanted one school where pupils could be taught in either English or Gaelic, but otherwise mix. This has led to the absurd situation of facilities being duplicated in a small community, and fewer specialist classes in both schools as the class sizes are too small. Plus there is the generic issue of separating children whether by language, religion or whatever. Not surprisingly, some English speakers are now sending their kids to the modern, well equipped Gaelic medium school rather than the run down English medium one.

The big issue is largely that it has never been the native language for anywhere except the Highlands and Islands, it has never been a national language, so there is quite a lot of resentment on the money spent on it, especially in what were never Gaelic speaking areas.


interesting. Although I'm not Scottish at all, my kids are one quarter haggis, so glad there has been a concerted effort to boost it. Having 2 different physical schools though, seems utter bonkers - would it not have been easier say just to have 'Scots only lessons in the morning, English only lessons in the afternoon' or some other kind of 50:50 splitting of time ?

sometimes, anything remotely resembling common sense, just doesn't seem to happen when any form of government gets involved with spending money !

although I did go to an all boys senior school, I don't really believe in separating kids for anything bar the extreme physical & special needs kids who I genuinely feel should have their own schools, saving the £50k on wheelchair ramps having to be installed in EVERY primary school.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:54 pm 
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Edinburgh01 wrote:
backrow wrote:
Edinburgh01 wrote:
BTW, since I have just discussed this, signs in Gaelic are a pain. It's not so bad where both languages are equal, but in many English is in small print. On some signs there are multiple lines of text and it is very hard to see and read the English.

how many scots people actually speak scots ? not a troll, but is it widespread? wiki seems to indicate not, 57 fluent, 87k some knowledge - would any of them speak it as a mother tongue ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Gaelic


Very few speak it at all, even fewer as their first language. In the west and the islands, some people do speak Gaelic as their first language, including some distant members of my own family. But it is also quite common to find natives of Gaelic speaking areas who can barely string a Gaelic sentence together.

There has been a bit of an increase of late, which is hardly surprising how much money is spent on it. There was a controversy recently when a new £10m Gaelic medium school was opened in Portree (Skye), population just over 4k though to be fair it caters for a wider area, whilst the old English medium school is dilapidated. Even a lot of Gaelic speakers wanted one school where pupils could be taught in either English or Gaelic, but otherwise mix. This has led to the absurd situation of facilities being duplicated in a small community, and fewer specialist classes in both schools as the class sizes are too small. Plus there is the generic issue of separating children whether by language, religion or whatever. Not surprisingly, some English speakers are now sending their kids to the modern, well equipped Gaelic medium school rather than the run down English medium one.

The big issue is largely that it has never been the native language for anywhere except the Highlands and Islands, it has never been a national language, so there is quite a lot of resentment on the money spent on it, especially in what were never Gaelic speaking areas.


Last Census had 57,000 native speakers and another 30,000 with some ability (so 1% and 1.5% of the population respectively or thereabouts).

Attitudes to spending money on Gaelic aren't so negative as you suggest though. It's not often surveyed but it's generally viewed positively. Also interesting to look at the variation in attitudes over decades, which this comparison study does

https://www.abdn.ac.uk/pfrlsu/documents ... Gaelic.pdf

When my father was a child in Lewis, they would be beaten if they talked Gaelic in the school grounds (even in the playground at break) as it was viewed as a heathen tongue. It's little wonder that speaking numbers deteriorated given that attitude, which was a result of the Education (Scotland) Act of 1872 (Gaelic was spoken by about 6% in the late 1800s and by 20% prior to the clearances). It is only since the 70s that Gaelic has been reintroduced to education on a wider scale and I for one am glad it's gaining traction.

There's another interesting piece here about the value of language in culture, which is worth a read

http://paperroom.ipsa.org/papers/paper_64811.pdf


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 2:03 pm 
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One of my mates (I have an awful lot of them) lived in Fort William. We went up Ben Nevis from there.

Ruddy marvellous.

It was a while ago but I did a handstand at the top. (Dad was a gymnast.)


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 3:04 pm 
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Duin do Ghob


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 3:23 pm 
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backrow wrote:
Duin do Ghob


Seo


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 3:34 pm 
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Was up there for the last bank holiday. Did Ben Nevis, then spent a couple of days on the Isle of Mull. Every bit as spectacular as Skye IMO with about 1/10th the tourists. Could happily spend a few more days there.


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