I was still waiting for parcels to arrive at Inver so headed back that way, and the fog came back again with a vengeance. Apparently after a good day's sunshine the warmth brings in a sea fog which usually lasts for days rather than hours.
Through the mist the Highland cattle who had kept themselves concealed in the winter winds now spent all day munching grass, and I think Stealth Cow had produced a baby
Morning View from Thebus' Window
Inver Cattle and Castle through the mist
Stealth Cow with Stealth Cow Mark II ?
Getting Foggier and Foggier
Finally - Horray – the fog lifted. I went up to the nice old post office to do some post officey things then headed of to Helmsdale.
From Dunbeath to Helmsdale is a most picturesque run as you are travelling with the open sea on one side and the golden gorse covered hills on the other, and even though the sun wasn’t actually shining when I started out, it felt as though it was from the brightness of the massed flowers. Berriedale is a wonderful part of the road as it hairpins down to where Berriedale Water and Langwell Water meet just before they empty into the sea.
The grass was showing greener and greener, and the sycamore trees were coming into leaf with an almost fluorescent green. Long legged lambs were gambling in the fields, or rushing back to their Mums on seeing Thebus – whether it was the lambs rushing in alarm or the Mum's calling them back in alarm I am not sure.
This seemed a softer part of the countryside, perhaps because it was lower in the river valley and there were a lot more trees clustering round the riversides. The fishemen, and women sometimes, were out in force so it must have been a good stretch for anglers.
As it was nearly one I stopped for some lunch, having a sandwich of seeded brown bread spread with crème fraiche and Moroccan spiced mustard topped with a large slice of proper ham, not the reconstituted slop re-shaped to look like ham, and passed off as such by the supermarket chains, plus a few small sweet tomatoes and some crispy lettuce, followed by a banana and some yoghurt and honey, and a nice cup of freshly brewed ground coffee to finish. My lunch was ready and served within less than ten minutes of feeling peckish, and prepared and eaten off a paper napkin there was no washing up to do. The whole meal costing well under two pounds, zinging with freshness, no waiting for service, dogs welcomed and a fabulous view of a salmon river with a flock of martins swooping low to catch flies. What's not to like about travelling in a motor-home.
Nice Spot for Lunch
I had intended stopping when we reached the north coast but we had made such good time that I thought I would press on to Durness. Turning west after our cross country route we now started following the sea again with a selection of fine sandy beaches and bays. Then up over the high moors, and suddenly the first of the big mountains in the distance.
I said earlier that I had come to Scotland with no real preconceptions, but now I realised that I had, and that this image was hidden at the back of my mind as to what Scotland was like. I think they were Ben Hope and Ben Lloyd amongst others. Probably they are Munros. Many years ago someone was chatting about 'Bagging a Munro' and I had visions of some antlered beasty hanging on his trophy room wall. But of course, as I now know a Munroe is a mountain, named after Sir Hugh Munro, who made a list of all mountains in Scotland over 3000 ft high, the best known being Ben Nevis which is the highest mountain in the British Isles
My first glimpse of what I imagined Scottish Mountains looked like
I think they were Ben Hope and Ben Lloyd
From then on it was just views at every bend it the road. I took so many photos I can hardly remember which place was which, each view seeming more stunning than the last, but one thing was certain, it was all lovely....... and the clouds!!!!!! Just amazing !
Who? On God's Earth, would feel the need
to dump rubbish in such a beautiful place
Having crossed the higher ground we then dropped down to follow the coast road again
The beaches along the northern coast were very beautiful with wide stretches of creamy sand and white-topped breakers crashing in, but one of the nicest, if not the nicest was the one at which I had booked to spend a couple of days waiting for post to catch me up.
Small Cove on the way to Durness
The Sango Sands Caravan Park at Durness is very spacious, with nice wide roads, making for easy access, something not often available on caravan sites where every inch of space tends to be used. I don't often use the facilities provided – I make an exception of course at Inver Caravan Park, which I think probably has better facilities than most homes, but Durness had good access for me to fill with water and empty Thebus' tanks, something else which is not always as easy as one might imagine, most of the sites having been designed with something other than an American RV in mind. There was a shop on one side, and a pub on the other, though both a far enough distance away to be no bother whatsoever.
Watching the tides coming in and going out, and the waves thundering and crashing against the rocks and cliffs was endlessly fascinating. The beach looked stunning, but I was still recovering from my day at Whaligoe steps, so we just had a walk along the soft grassy dunes at the top of the cliffs
Evening View from Thebus' window at Sango Sands Campsite
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Crossing a Causeway