Thursday, September 13, 2007

Movies on a truck

I went to see The Simpsons Movie last night and I enjoyed it - it was better than I thought it would be since I'd heard people saying that it was only "ok". Anyway, there is obviously no cinema in Kyleakin, so the way I saw the film was in a Screen Machine - a tractor trailer that travels around the Highlands and Islands, with sides on the trailer box that slide out so that that seats and a screen can be set up inside. It's a cool idea, and the price isn't too bad either - £5.50 for an adult ticket.

It seems to be funded in part by some government agency for the Highlands and Islands (and Royal Bank of Scotland, for whatever reason) so we had to sit though about 20 minutes of advertisement for the Highlands and Islands and what they have to offer in terms of environment, sport, arts, language, etc. That seemed strange to me, since the audience is already living in the Highlands and Islands, so they should already know about the place and you won't be convincing anyone new to visit or come to stay.

Friday, September 07, 2007


I went to the Isle of Raasay on my two days off. Here's a Google Map showing the journey in blue (sorry for the poor resolution and all, I would just link to it but I'm not able to do that). Here's all my pictures from Raasay, with some selected ones below.

Ok, so I went to Raasay since the SYHA (Scottish Youth Hostel Association) Hostel there was going to close for the season within the week and I can stay for free since I'm Association staff, so it was an opportune time. I can see Raasay on clear days from Kyleakin, under the Skye bridge, with it's distinctive flat peak of Dun Caan, so it was good to go one of the landmarks around here.

I took the ferry from Sconser, as I indicated on the map. The ferry's a Caledonian MacBrayne, or CalMac as they're generally referred to, and that company opperates most of the ferries in Scotland. Because of bus difficulties, I hitched a ride from Broadford, and then when I landed on the island I was offered a lift to the hostel by some folks from the Raasay Outdoor Centre, and since it was 4 miles it was appreciated. Then I wandered into the village (about a 2 mile walk), where I saw this playground sign. Most people on Raasay belong to the Free Presbyterian Church, which is pretty strict about the Sabbath.
The next day I walked up to Dun Caan, which on clear days is apparently one of the best views in the Highlands. When I walked up to it, it was like an island in the clouds, the mist was so thick. The wind was blowing the mist as well, so I was gradually getting wet although I didn't realize it until I got back. On my walk, I did get to see either some pheasant or some tarmigan (not sure which) and some deer later in the evening, so that was neat. And lots of heather and rocks - there's only really any forest on the south of Raasay, and where the hostel was you had to go about a mile to get to a tree.