So things didn’t exactly go according to plan regarding the updating of my blog pages. A distinct lack of mobile phone signal and an even more distinct lack of time meant I was unable to post each day. I have decided therefore to write it up post-adventure. This may be a better way of doing it as I will be able to tell the story as a whole having had some time to reflect upon it. So to begin, chronologically:
Helen and I parted company in the middle of Glasgow. Her to catch the train back to Leeds and everyday life. Me, to continue my journey up to the Isle of Skye. The trickiest part of my journey by car was getting out of Glasgow. Once achieved the road opened up to me. Being a bank holiday Monday the traffic was light and my progress swift. A quick pit stop was made at Fort William for food toilet and a drink. The drive between Glasgow and Fort William is stunning, the Glencoe region being one of my favourite in Scotland. The scenery is stark and brutal, mountain architecture on a grand scale. The land scape from Fort William to Skye is more subtle, as it flits from Loch side hugging roads to dense woodland to open glens and steep passes. Every corner reveals a new visual delight, you catch glimpses of hidden castles, fishing boats, a whole variety of wildlife. I approached the bridge to Skye with an increasing amount of tension as I was still quite unsure as to what I had let myself in for. I crossed the controversial bridge ( Constructed in 1995 it was met with some resistance and after completion with out and out resentment as a £5.00 each way toll was levied. Peace ensued as a few years later the bridge was purchased by the Scottish government and the toll waivered) I was in Skye. What a magical place, so different to the mainland yet only separated by a few hundred metres of water. The road followed the coastline, passing through small towns and villages. I resisted the urge to pull over every 500 metres to take photographs as I felt I would have plenty of opportunity during my week of adventure. My final destination was the Sligachan Hotel, sitting proudly at the foot of the Cuillins. As I pulled into the car park I caught my first glimpse of the infamous black ridges. Was I in the Isle of Syke or Middle Earth I wondered as I gladly jumped out of my car. I grabbed the keys to my room and freshened up. Over the course of the afternoon the various personnel who were to either take part in or facilitate the trip arrived into the cosy bar. We had brief introductions and whilst enjoying a pint or two of the locally brewed beer ( the hotel has its own microbrewery) we all began to relax and get to know each other. For the trip itself we were a party of 8, made up of:
3 fortunate amateurs who had been selected from hundreds of applicants, namely Myself, Thomas and Sebastian. The latter two coming from Belgium and Germany.
1 National Geographic Adventurer of the year and instigator of the micro adventure concept, Al Humphreys.
1 Mountain bike specialist, native of Skye and all round adventurer, Alex Glasgow.
1 specialist adventure photographer, Lucasz Warzecha.
2 Fantastic hard working diligent organisers and facilitators Kyla Orr and photography assistant Joel.
Also there to send us on our way were Rebecca Hill representing National Geographic and Several key members of the Talisker Distillery team.
Down to business, a detailed briefing conducted by Al was followed by the distribution of our kit. This took us a little by surprise the kit was of exceptional quality and lots of it emblazoned with “Talisker Storm Adventure”, well we were there to represent and promote this wonderful drink ( I had yet to taste the Talisker Storm, I had heard it described; peppery taste, an oomph in your mouth, floral tones drunk neat it gives you a kick, add a dash of water and it opens up its unique flavours. I couldn’t wait to try it but felt I wanted to earn it first!)
Following kit distribution we had a team meal followed by an earlyish bed as we were to meet for breakfast at 7:00 prompt. First challenge, a 5 mile Sea Kayak setting off from outside Talisker Distillery. The Adventure had begun.