After improvising a parking spot at the side of a one lane gravel road we were confronted with an orange plastic pumpkin face impaled on a wooden stake and two microwave ovens arranged like objects d’art at each side of the sheep farmers fence where in another time or place one might expect to find a white plaster lion or Greek gods.
I hope at least one of you Escapees remembers that Yours Truly has mentioned that it’s the payoff not the hike that I’m partial to. An agonizingly long, wind buffeted, ankle twisting, sheep-dung carpeted hill-and-dale with soft mushy rivulets running across our course every few yards holds little allure for me. But our lovely activity director sweetened the deal with promises of several abandoned major extensive estates to explore on the way to a remote and lonely broch stuck out at the end of a bight of land, or as we yachtsmen call it, a big stickout.
From the fence through the steeply pitched sheep farm we had to negotiate all the way down into a deep valley without a path to guide us.
It looks like we could use a crescent shaped sandy beach for a while that might speed things up, but then it was back up into the ankle-buster lumpy meadow.
You could see the Broch perched out at the end of the peninsula with binoculars. The problem is that with all the lichen covering the stones they take on the same shades as the surrounding environment which, as it turns out, is very effective camouflage.
Did I mention the rabbit holes? There were more rabbit holes than Youtube.
Dear reader, I will spare you the gory details of the hike but suffice it to say this particular farmer’s sheep have quite a productive digestive system. The hike turned into a slog as the biting wind began to rip at our jumpers and down filled bubble jackets. It was a head-down POR moment. All we wanted to do was find someplace out of the wind where it was quiet enough to think. Plotting an efficient direct path was impossible.
When we reached the broch I realized it was solidly filled with stone and earth. Not a bad exterior but it all adds up to another closed antiquity. This is not what I paid for. Tell them what they won, Don Pardo!
Since we lacked a decent payoff at the broch we decided to improvise a win by taking a shortcut through the ruin of a massive stone-walled enclosure with many outbuildings making up a complex estate.
We finally made it back to the beach only to face a nasty headwind that whipped the sand in stinging waves in our faces.
Will this slog never end? Head down. Think of the Caribbean.
We made our final push through the sheep farm where the bunnies had been working overtime perforating the last steep uphill section. Escape Velocity was patiently standing guard in front of the orange head and both microwaves, with the promise of an adult beverage inside. But first we had to sit on our stoop and dig the meadow muck off our besmirched footgear.
So tell them what they’ve won, Don Pardo!