Sunday morning I drive down through Skye, on proper two-lane roads, through the towering Cuillins, as the rain begins to fall, and join a swelling logjam of coaches and camper vans. Sunday, I guess, is getaway day.
I stop for coffee in Broadford, and the queue is out the door. After the calm and quiet of Lewis, it feels like a seething mass of humanity.
Then on a tip from a friend, cutting right onto the road less traveled, a narrow single-track road which wends and twists its way up, up, up and over, yielding spectacular views at the top, even on a grey day.
Down eventually to a ferry terminal, which is a hut beside a slipway. The ferry is on the far side of the loch, loading cars. It’s just me and the midges on the Skye side, as I discover when I get out of the car to take in the view.
It has a rustic feel, this ferry. It berths alongside the jetty, whereupon a wild-looking mountain man manually wheels the turntable containing the cars (three in this case, it can take six) until it diagonally overhangs the slipway, the ramps are thrown down, and the cars exit.
I drive on, a big Mercedes SUV follows me. The crew disappear into the wheelhouse and stay there for some time. I begin to worry that they won’t sail without a minimum of three cars, but in due course they reappear, the boat sets off, and Mountain Man swings the whole turntable round so that we’re facing the shore.
Then he appears at my window. He’s standing on the edge of the boat, outside the safety railings, and takes my payment with an iPad in one hand and a wireless card reader in the other. Nothing, one feels, could go wrong in this scenario.
The road on the mainland is very reminiscent of its counterpart on Skye, single track, but with a better surface. It climbs dramatically and then descends, affording breathtaking viewpoints along the way, with many pauses in the journey forced by procrastinating sheep on the road.
They feel reassuringly familiar – the single track, and the sheep – but eventually I turn right onto the A87, rejoining the great Sunday caravan southwards, where the roads are sensible, and the sheep are safely behind wire fences.
Onwards through Glen Shiel, Glen Garry, and Glen Roy, where I clock up the 1000th mile of the trip. By the time I reach Edinburgh I’ve notched up over 1,100 miles, and – it turns out – put on a couple of extra kilos to boot.
The forty minutes of extra daylight I gained by going north are suddenly lost again, and Edinburgh feels dark, and cold. And so… back to normal, back to busyness, back to work. Back to having to lock my car again.
Until the next time.
See you again, Isle of Lewis.