Okay, so my concerns were justified. Our tent DID nearly blow away!
Our original plan was to wild camp on Skye, essentially find a nice patch of grass and pitch up. You’re allowed to do this all over Scotland so long as you abide by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
I had visions of a bit of rain, a nice grassy spot, a creek burbling away and dramatic mountain backdrop. Fast forward to reality, where it had been raining solidly all day and an extreme weather warning had been issued for the west of Scotland. Initially when planning at home we had some idea of camping nearby to the fairy pools. These vague hopes were dashed when we attempted to walk to the pool and discovered there was a torrent of flood water blocking all access.
So scrap that.
We drove in loops between the Fairy pools, Sligachan and Portree looking for a decent patch of half dry grass. Funny thing about Skye for us rookies, what looks like grass is often not. After stomping up and down hills that looked promising but ended up with me suddenly standing in a hidden stream above my ankles, wellies filled up like buckets, we decided to call it a night and just pitch at the campsite we saw earlier at Sligachan.
Commence most unpleasant night of camping ever.
It was already raining quite a lot, but by the time we had decided on the patch of grass least waterlogged, down by the creek. But as we got out our shiny new tent the wind picked up. It picked up so much that to assemble the tent we needed to weigh it down with rocks to stop it blowing away before we had pegged it down. Finally assembled, we were both absolutely soaked through, exhausted and freezing. It was still raining very heavily and the rain was lashing at the tent blown by the south westerly wind. The weather was so bad neither of us contemplated leaving the tent and settled for a meagre dinner of hummus and rice crackers before hunkering down to the weather the storm.
For the second night in a row sleep would not come.
The wind picked up to about 25 mph flattening our tent onto our faces multiple times. Worried our tent was going to pull its pegs out and take off into the air Will went out and doubly weighed everything down the big stones from the creek. But the wind just kept getting stronger. Now up to about 40mph I was really getting scared, the tent was flattening itself onto our faces, I unzipped the interior zip to see the whole front of the tent lifting into the air and thrashing around! The back pole had shattered in multiple places and the front was no longer attached to the ground anywhere. Time to abandon ship and make a mad dash to the car.
Ah, safe at last. So we thought. The wind was even strong enough to be rocking the car side to side, some poor souls clambering out of their tents to abandon ship or try to fix their tent were left with nothing when their entire tent, sleeping bags and all ripped out of the ground and flew off, bouncing off our car and flying downriver like a giant kite.
The next morning the campsite was a mess, tent-less refugees were sleeping on the floor in the bathroom, broken poles and pegs strewn everywhere, and everything, everything soaking wet.
We bundled our wet broken, brand new tent into the boot and drove to Portree for a much needed hot breakfast.
Everyone sitting inside Arriba Cafe that morning was sharing our shell shocked look. I’d wager not many people had a good nights sleep that night. Luckily the coffee and food were great and I could feel my spirit reviving somewhat.
Not to let a little thing like 3 hours sleep, wind and constant rain stop us, we set out for our day exploring more of the Isle of Skye. And just like magic the sun came out. Okay, it lasted less than 10 minutes, but we were encouraged so much by this we set off to climb the Storr.