Skye’s the Limit

I left you in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, about to board an early morning ferry back to Ullapool, where we had left the car overnight. On a glorious morning, our first stop was the Shieldaig Bar, one of seven omissions in the covid-interrupted 2020 Guide Beer Guide. The setting is sublime.

On the way we passed cyclists competing in CELTMAN!, an extreme triathlon. After the swim and the 200km cycling, the 42km run involves scaling two Munros. The winning man did it all in 10 hours 35 minutes, the winning woman, who was 5th overall, in 11 hours 19 minutes.

Attracted by the cold, jellyfish infested waters and promise of a strong headwind, Alfie and I considered whether to participate in the swim but he’d left his mankini at home. In any case we had a tougher test, completing the Good Beer Guide, which we all know is a marathon not a sprint. Why don’t you try that instead, CELTMAN. We also had to fight our way past a group of French bikers to get to the bar. And they think they had it tough.

Two cask beers from Strathcarron were on, of which the very palatable Golden Cow was sampled.

Alfie had never been to Applecross, which involves a daunting climb over the Bealach na Ba, the steepest ascent in the UK at 626 metres. It involves negotiating numerous hairpin bends at gradients of nearly 20% then descending to a waterfront hotel bar that had two of its beers on, both reported as tasty.

Onwards to Skye where a highly enjoyable game in the Skye & Localsh League in Uig ended North West Skye 10 Portree 4. It’s fair to say defences weren’t on top.

In my highly paid role as chauffeur I also whisked Alfie to three long established Skye classics. The famous Stein Inn at Waternish, the Old Inn and the Sligachan Hotel, home to the Cuillin brewery. The latter specialises in malt whiskies and the barman told us he had just sold a 1954 dram of Linkwood, a ghost distillery, for £143.

It was with some relief that I could dump the car and enjoy some beers in Portree. There is plenty of decent year-round cask beer here in pubs that have mostly never troubled the Good Beer Guide, presumably because they are not frequently surveyed. Much of the beer comes from the Isle of Skye brewery, who don’t mess about with fancy beer names. It’s basically snooker beer – a Red or a Black. Which we did. They also do a Gold, but that just messes the whole thing up.


8 thoughts on “Skye’s the Limit

  1. £143 for a dram? I’ve not even paid that much for a bottle, never mind a dram. Mind you, the main selling point of the beer is that it’s brewed just behind the bar. Which makes you wonder what can possibly have gone wrong on such a short journey….

    Liked by 1 person

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