FROM INVERNESS TO INVER
On from Inverness we crossed the Cromarty Firth then the Dornoch Firth and then seemed to follow flattish landscape, not too far from the sea with good agricultural land well cultivated, and well kept stone walled fields. You can tell it had stopped snowing by now as I could see something other than the road. And the weather was seeming not so bad as during the past forty eight hours. But by now we had been travelling for nealy six hours and I was worried about Phoebe who was lying literally doggo, and I wasn't sure that it was perhaps getting all too much for her. But once again there didn't seem many convenient stopping places for something Thebus' size, and often when there was then all the spaces were already taken by big commercial trucks.
Also the day was getting on now, and I didn't want to be trying to find the caravan park in the dark especially with Strict Lady's past performances. So keeping an eye on Phoebe as best I could we ploughed on. As we passed the Glenmorangie Whisky Distillery the landscape became more mountainous again and as each highland river entered the sea it involved a steep descent followed by a steep climb on the opposite bank. The sea was on our right hand side, and had the day been better it would have been a wonderful route to travel and linger over, perhaps lingering longer at some of the distilleries! I wonder if they allow overnighting?
Part of some sort of bridge, was it a railway line, had been washed away presumably in the storms and roadworks made the traffic single file, so I couldn't really see what had happened. Then onwards and downwards again, followed by a very steep onwards and upwards was it Brora or Helmsdale or both – I nearly caught up the lorry who had overtaken us on double white lines earlier in foggy, sleeting snow earlier in the day, but he just made it to the top before I did.
I was getting more and more worried about Phoebe and there was a pull in, so although the day was almost done I stopped to check her. I thought she was okay, and though I couldn't be certain there was little I could do in the middle of a conifer plantation, which was where we had stopped, and we we only about nine miles from our destination, so telling her she was the very best dog in the whole wide world we started off again
Dunbeath – at last! Strict Lady took us to the Post Office and complacently told me I had reached my destination. The light was fading and there was a smallish track ahead, but now feeling totally disinclined to take her advice I pulled onto the Post Office forecourt, and though it was not open to ask the way at least it gave me room to park Thebus.
I got out the laptop and fired up google maps and also got onto the caravan parks own website. Ignore all signs for Dunbeath it informed me, continue on along the main road, and instead of taking the right hand turn Strict Lady had sent me down, go about another mile and take a left hand turn. I wonder if they had run out of postcodes by the time the got round to dealing with Scotland, or perhaps they were just bored with the whole proceeding and lumped everything in together with 'that'll do' attitude.
We finally pulled in to Inver Caravan Park just as the light was beginning to fail, but at least it was light enough to get ourselves settled. There were a few others parked up here, but luckily a biggish plot at the top end of the site was vacant so I gratefully pulled Thebus in there. That was after visiting the house first to speak to the very pleasant owner and arrange for our stay.
I had telephoned her about a week before, obviously expecting to have arrived much sooner, and asked if she wouldn't mind taking some parcels in for me, which she was happy to do, though probably hadn't expected quite so many, or that I would have taken quite so long to follow them, as she had greeted my arrival with a 'Susan? - Thank goodness you've arrived!' and led me to a mound of parcels
Julie had sent various things plus those items I had foolishly sent back home instead off to Signature by pressing the wrong button on Amazon. So it involved three trips back and forth to the house to bring them all back, and a lot of cardboard to go in the site re-cycling bin.
Just as we had crested the last hill before our destination the sun had broken through so the sea below us was a greeny-blue rather than the dreary, dark grey of the rest of the day, so hoping this was a good omen we settled down for the night.