Yesterday as we stood at Lands End at John O’ Groats overlooking the Orkney Islands we were some 12,000 miles from home. At times the scenery reminds me so much of New Zealand that I could almost be roaming around The South Island. However the villages and the stone houses quickly bring me back to the fact we are far from home.
Last night after a wee dram at the local watering hole in Melvich we bumbled our way along a narrow country lane really just following our noses to the coast. We have been so lucky with “just following our noses” when it has come to finding somewhere special to stay for the night. Portskerra Harbour was no exception. With a stunning view across the harbour it was the perfect stop for our 4th nights rest.
As we have wandered down the coastline, as far as the eye can see we have encountered calm almost millpond seas, so it’s definately been a reality check to find a memorial in honour of 26 local fisherman that have lost their lives to the unpredictability of the sea before us.
The night before Doug twisted his knee jumping off a pier, leaving me to play nursemaid. Sadly for him it’s not my forteit; I cannot believe how much the man can eat leaving me to cry in exasperation “The next meal will not be until 4”. Thank god today he’s feeling much better.
Today has been our best day yet, quite possibly one of the best days ever. The scenery across the topside of Scotland has quite genuinely been heartbreakingly stunning. It’s almost fortunate that the epic UK summer of 2018 hasn’t quite reached The Highlands, as I think it would have spoilt the moodiness of the surroundings. Everywhere is tinged in a purple haze which adds to the magic.
I have especially loved how the roads have narrowed to one way tracks with sheep and highland cattle grazing aimlessly along the sides of the road.
Having lunched at some spectacular spot near Tongue with views that felt almost too good to be real, I honestly thought things couldn’t get any more picturesque. How wrong was I.
Over the hill we came to this beach which didn’t seem possible to even exist in amoungst the rocks and mountainous ranges. Yet here was this beach that was straight out of a Fijian Tourist Brochure complete with golden sands and turquoise waters.
Time has a habit of getting away from you in these neck of the woods as the daylight hours are endless. We haven’t quite experienced darkness yet, I’m told it happens for approximately 90 minutes a night however it’s more a light dusk than complete darkness. I was still cooking dinner at 10pm last night and yet it could have been 2 in the afternoon.
Tonight we have headed further down the West Coast towards Lochinver where the scenery is quite different, still rocky but greener and darker, where each corner of the road reveals another Loch and another mountainous range.
Our view from our campsite overlooks the ruins of Ardwrack Castle which legend suggests is haunted by the spirit of a former Mistress who drowned in the Loch and a silver coated gentleman of a friendly demeanour. I hope its the latter we meet.
Just as we are preparing dinner, I look up straight into the eyes of a wild deer. There before our very eyes are a herd of deer grazing at the fenceline and as the night wore on they nestled into the hillside right outside our door to sleep.
For me this day couldn’t get any better. For Robin Hood over there, he just wishes he’d bought his bow and arrow.