We woke to blue skies and bright sunshine …. only joking, it was raining! But the forecast said it would brighten up, and it did, so by the time we’d had another hearty breakfast the skies were beginning to clear. With the roof down and Scottish Pipes and Drums playing (yes, really, we bought a CD in Inverness!) we set off along the coast road, and what a road it was; so little traffic and good visibility ahead with stunning views to admire, driving heaven!
We rejoined the A896, yes, still single track in places, and here we met the first real traffic so our progress was slowed as we were in a convoy of vehicles stopping and starting through the passing places. When we finally turned off the A896 onto the A832 we were back onto a two carriageway road with fast sweeping bends, another great drive. Even when it too became single track it was wide and fast with good visibility so another enjoyable drive.
We passed Victoria Falls, another tourist spot on the route. I offered to stop but for some reason Angela declined, at least I think that’s what she meant!
The weather forecast was for light showers during the day, and they were right. With the roof down, as long as the rain isn’t too heavy, and you keep your speed up, you stay dry, though we did get a few funny looks from other cars! When stopped at Gairloch to admire the coastal views, the clouds hanging over the hills where we were heading looked very ominous, so we decided to play it safe and put the roof up, good call!
By the time we reached Ullapool the rain had stopped again. We had booked onto a cruise to see the local wildlife so we had a dry start although nature decided it didn’t want to play today; we saw some seals but no eagles or dolphins. The skipper did his best to keep us entertained with his encyclopaedic knowledge of seabirds, and the views around the Summer Isles were amazing, including an island community currently being rebuilt. On the return journey you could see the clouds and rain approaching so the skipper wisely steered around to miss the worst of it, and the sun was shining again by the time we moored back in Ullapool!
After lunch we completed our journey to Lochinver where our B&B was a former pub and bakery dating back 200 years, the first building in Lochinver. Renovated by the owners it still has some of it’s old charm, and our room overlooked the harbour.
Lochinver is a small community, so everywhere closes early, and the local restaurant was fully booked! Fortunately we found one shop still open so we dined in our room watching the boats in the harbour (actually, after eating in restaurants all week, it made a pleasant change!).
Today we covered 91 miles by road, and 30 nautical miles (35 miles) by sea, so 121 miles in total! Well, they all count don’t they?
THE LAST WORD: firstly a p.s. from yesterday, Andy said making whisky isn’t that difficult, it’s just distilled beer, so I am expecting him to be making moonshine in the garage using becks lager when we get home!
Today: The landscape is interesting in that it quickly changes from barren moors to lush pockets of ferns and trees, I ventured my option on why this is, I don’t think Andy bothered to listen after my fourth guess! Lots of sheep, some highland cattle, 1 Thelwell pony. Some roads, some mountains, some clouds, sea and lochs.
It was lovely to be out on a boat, I have told Andy that I want one that size and we can live on it, he said yes but I’m not convinced he really meant it! Andy couldn’t help himself and used his Sea GPS thingy app to track the boat and monitor the Captains driving, really?! The grey seals were lovely, one was waving to us, lols, they were sunbathing, they looked like dogs with no legs, so cute! We sat upstairs on the boat (max 8 people + a baby awwww) with two sets of older couples and the youngsters with the baby awwww, they braved the weather quite well although in the end it was just us and Richard from Keeping Up Appearances and his wife (not Hyacinth) left for the final approach, we sheltered under the cabin roof, Richard was determined to get his money’s worth from his new waterproof with hood and stayed in his chosen spot stoney faced despite the rain, wind and sea spray, as funny as a tv sitcom!
Lockinver is like France, shut! Even the Spar shuts at 18:30, I mean there’s nothing to do here what do they do in the evenings? Colin the B&B Landlord greeted us wearing old paint and oil covered clothes, I said ooh you look messy, what a mistake, he and Andy then had a four hour conversation about land rovers! Apparently he buys old dead ones and puts new bits in them…”what about the LD483xli56 24 tdi4? What a gearbox that had”…”do you know why it was nick named Lee? because the wing mirrors were based on Lee Evans ears” you get the idea! There’s a large soft sofa in the entrance hallway, I can only imagine it is for the poor women to sit on while their men talk about LRs!
The boat driving police!
The coast road from Applecross
Waiting for the cruise on the boat in the background
Our B&B – The Old Bakery
Room with a view – and a fishing boat coming in