Hostel beauty of the western landscape

20th July 2007 at 01:00
My family and I have had a few memorable holidays over the years, says the Early Years Minister, but in 1999 we went on a youth hostelling trip in Argyll and Skye.

We worked our way from Ben Nevis to Uig, meeting travellers from across the world along the way. It was a great experience for my (then quite young) children, who got the chance to live in a communal atmosphere and even pitch in with making meals and washing clothes.

The beauty and sheer variety of the scenery was breathtaking. Loch Long, Glen Nevis (we took the chair lift) and the west coast were among the sights.

Our children forged friendships with everyone they encountered, including English geologists who were studying ancient lava floes on the west coast and took the time to show them the rocks and scientific samples they had collected.

The thing that sticks most in my mind is hunting for Bonnie Prince Charlie's cave. It summed up the holiday: adventure and exploration (and the odd downpour).

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