ON TO ULLAPOOL
After the glorious couple of days weather at Durness and Cape Wrath, the skies began to change and rain was forecast for a few days. Most of my post had caught up with me, but irritatingly two parcels had not turned up. Checking on the internet the carriers said they had called on the first day I arrived and as no one was there had left a card. Hmmmm. My experience of this sort of carrier is that one spends days chasing them, and then the parcels end up being returned to sender anyway. As it was now Sunday with a Bank Holiday Monday to follow I couldn’t see me getting a delivery until Wednesday or Thursday so I decided to press on, and worry about it all later..
It was very dull and damp as we started, and though the scenery was probably spectacular I could see very little of it. But travelling in Great Britain one simply cannot wait for good weather, and though the photos show it very grey and gloomy I did, in fact see quite a bit as the mist and rain cleared in patches throughout the day. Though of course driving in those sort of conditions leaves less time to glance around.
Views of Loch
This Castle by a Loch looks quite small until you spot the people by it
Far View of Mountains in distance
Dropping down as we approached Scourie the gorse started to reappear and it made me realize how bleak and brown was the landscape through which we had just passed, Then the rowan trees clothed in their brightest spring green, clumps of primroses, even flowering cherries. It's quite noticeable the higher one climbs the less can survive, I had always thought of gorse as a plant of the higher altitudes, but there is almost a tide mark of it on the West Highland hills and mountains
It was a main road, and we were only inches from it, but I took the view that it was a West Highlands main road, and I was proved right - by six thirty in the evening the traffic was just the odd passing motor. Presumably all the holiday makers had returned to their respective dwelling places for the night, and as there were almost no places to go “out” to that was it.
In the evening a few folk strolled along the pebble beach, and a couple of people from the local houses came out to walk their dogs,. Quite a few dad's came with their boys, and there was a lot of skipping of stones from the pebbly shore. Longer throws from the dads, and short splashy plonks from the juniors
Later at about eight a family group arrived, even though it had by now started to rain and the evening light was beginning to dim the parents carried a canoe down to the waters edge with a lad of about eleven carrying a paddle and a younger boy of around eight tagging behind. Once the canoe was in the older boy paddled up and down the foreshore while the others watched. I know I shouldn’t build stories on lives I know nothing of, but I just couldn’t help imagining it was the lad's birthday present, and perhaps after all the excitements of the day he had begged to be allowed to take it for at least one paddle. The rest of the family group stood well muffled up in the drizzle watching him as he smilingly performed for them, and after about twenty minutes they persuaded him to come in and it was reloaded on the roof and they drove off, and left us to the evening light fading over the still water.
Canoeists Loading up after a good day out
View from Thebus' Door
I had always wanted to see the gardens at Inverewe on the shores of Loch Ewe, and travelling down the coast road I passed through Ullapool where there was a garage with Autogas. Somehow I arrived at Ullapool more quickly and easily than I imagined. The garage which sold Autogas did not open on the weekend, and I had already run out on the way over from Durness, Looking on the map there seemed to be a nice spot by a loch to spend the night, but I somehow missed the road, Well what actually happened was I went to turn up the correct road, took one look at it and thought it could not be right and drove on. Eventually I found somewhere large enough for us to turn round and took another run at it. I had been right first time. But some walkers assured me that I must be wrong and this could not possibly be the road, and they had a good big map so I gave up. Perhaps the road got better after a bit, or perhaps not, now I shall never know, but I had passed a caravan site further back so decided to try there. They were full, unsurprisingly as it was the May Bank Holiday, but in anycase there was a long lay-by fronting the sea, so I thought I would just stop there and be ready to go to the filling station first thing next morning..
There were a few cars pulled up by the bay at Ardmair, as people enjoyed the sea and pebbled shore, and stopped to take photos, but it gradually thinned out until only two vehicles were left and then a group paddled in to the shore in four canoes which were swiftly loaded onto the car roofs and we were left to our own devices.
The Gorse Line