Most campsites in the highlands seem to be filled with cheap hired motorhomes and rows of gleaming plastic caravans, but Glenbrittle was noticeably different. Whilst we were there we saw a classic Unimog camper, a large and impressive overland camper build on a Steyr truck, and a couple of vintage land-rovers. I’m not sure what it is that puts off many of the traditional campers, but Glenbrittle has got everything we want from a campsite in abundance. The site is quiet and relaxed, there are no formal pitches or ugly patches of hardstanding, everywhere on the campsite is within 50m of the beach, and the views in all directions are outstanding. The view from the windscreen looked out onto Loch Brittle, with the isle of Rum visible in the distance, and the view from the bedroom and kitchen looked straight out onto the Black Cuillin.
We had planned to spend the following day climbing into the iconic Black Cuillin mountains. The rather foreboding mountains provide epic views over Skye and out to sea in good weather, but unfortunately good weather was in short supply whilst we were there, and everything above about 300 meters remained permanently in cloud whilst we were staying at Glenbrittle. There are many people for whom the sense of achievement when walking in the mountains is in reaching summit, but for me the enjoyment is in the views. I would get very little satisfaction from an experience which could be replicated by leaving a smoke machine on overnight in your living room, and doing a 900m climb on a stairmaster in the morning. Instead we walked south east along the coast to Rubha an Dùnain headland.
The walk was gentle and took us to a rocky peninsula, with great views of several of the nearby islands including Rum and Canna. There is evidence all over the headland of ancient habitation, in a relatively small area there is a Viking canal linking a small loch to the sea, and iron age dun (fortification wall), the remains of a 19th century Clan McLeod village, and even Neolithic cairns. Boris was more interested in chasing sheep than looking for pre-historic remains, but I think he was most happy about doing a walk with very little altitude change.
We returned to the campsite as the heavens opened again, and we spent the rest of the day enjoying the views from the shelter of Jim.
The following day we got up early to leave for a drive to the Quiraing on the other side of Skye. Our experience driving past the Fairy Pools on the way to Glenbrittle campsite, had taught us that the car parks near popular attractions in Skye would be likely to get very busy during the day. In a small car there is normally a good chance that you can tuck yourself off the road somewhere, or wait on the verge for a free space, but in Jim this would be harder, and it is likely that a space vacated by a small car would be insufficient in which to park a big truck. To avoid parking chaos, we left early and enjoyed the drive north in almost complete solitude. The last stretch from Uig to the Quiraing involves a very tight hairpin (which we saw a coach requiring a 3-point turn to navigate), and a single track road which is short on passing places. I was glad to have done this drive before the 17 plate hire cars hit the roads en masse.