That road trip again

So there I was in Gairloch, but not for long, my destination was further up the coast, more single track roads, tight bends and potholes to rival Edinburgh’s! I was out in the twigs again, Melvaig, a scattering of crofts and houses, no shops, the closest are back in Gairloch (again, there is fair warning in the Airbnb notes). Oo, another great find, this Airbnb lark is fun; Seacroft is a fine semi-detached cottage (the owners live next door) with views over to the Western Isles and Skye.

Annoyingly the weather took a turn for the worse from warm and sunny to cold with baltic winds, some rain and the odd bits of sleet and hail! No amazing sunsets for me with all those clouds, but I did get an interesting shot of the setting sun’s reflection on a window one evening….

I had a lovely relaxing few days, afternoon walks, a couple of meals out, the comfiest, largest bed I’ve ever slept in (it can be converted into twin beds), free movies on the telly. Oh yeah, I got to see Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre a cracking movie with Hugh Grant doing his best Michael Caine impersonation and Jason Statham doing his usual.

The night sky is amazing there (when the clouds clear away), I even saw a shooting star, yay. I was hoping for a glimpse of the aurora borealis, well, more than a glimpse, but a wee glimmer was all I got. Maybe if I’d figured out how to put my phone’s camera on to night mode, I could have seen more but I definitely saw something.

On a walk from Melvaig

The view from Shieldaig Bar & Coastal Kitchen, where I enjoyed an excellent lunch
The view from the cottage lounge. I should mention the goldfinches, such beautiful birds!
Me chilling in the lounge
Me chilling in the sunshine
One of the locals, an alpaca called Bruce!

Yes, I took one or two photos, you’ll find more on my Instagram and Facebook. Oh, there’s a reel I filmed out on the roadside looking round at the countryside with just the sounds of birdsong and lambs bleating; like so many other times on this trip I was reminded of New Zealand, I really want to go back there!

I had hoped to have a long leisurely drive back to Edinburgh with plenty of stops but as the weather was wet, wet and more wet, nah. At least I had some excellent driving music to keep me going. First on was Rodriguez (both his albums), not something I play overly much but they are both so fine! Next up, Dave Gleeson, once of the Screaming Jets (an aussie band), a CD my bud left for me, never actually played until now – huh, it’s really good! Great production on it, great tunes and his voice and attitude, just what I needed, yeah, it got played a lot .

No rest for the wicked, I got back down to Edinburgh and set off for Yorkshireland the following morning. Same music plus some Hedwig and his angry inch, different journeys require different soundtracks. Tomorrow I head back to my moose cave and normality (well, my normal).

I’ll leave you with a few more pics of Gairloch….

just round to the left of the last pic, look at that blue!
on top hilltop above Gairloch harbour
these two really don’t see eye to eye
From Melvaig, the sunset over the Western Isles

On the road again…

Hello, yes I’m still alive, just had a busy couple of weeks. Well, I say busy, I went on a road trip up to the north west of Scotland for a week, then straight afterwards headed down to Yorkshireland, that’s a fair few miles covered. Made sure I had the essentials, my uke, some decent cider and my brolly (rain was forecast)….

I could have headed up the A9 to Inverness but as the forecast was good for the first few days I decided to take a more scenic route and spend a night near Kyle of Lochalsh, boy did that decision pay off! What a glorious day the Friday was; a full tank of petrol, great music and awesome scenery! It’s been twenty odd years since I’ve been been that way – it won’t be another twenty til the next time!

Glen Ogle viaduct
Beinn Dorian (this pic so makes me think of New Zealand)

My route was up through Callander to Lochearnhead, over west to Crianlarich, then the A82 up to Invergarry, passing through the wonderful pondy bit before Glen Coe, had a brief stop at the Commando Memorial outside Spean Bridge to pay my respect.

The Commando Memorial
there’s still snow around these parts
Loch Lochy or possibly Garry! With stone art by yours truly

Did I mention how awesome the scenery is out that way? Wow, I could have pulled over so many many times but I had a destination to reach for early evening, just as well! From Invergarry it was a left turn on to the A87 up pass lochs Garry, Cluanie and Duich until I passed over the bridge at the start of Loch Long and took a right turn to drive along it’s north shore up to Sallachy, where I head booked an Airbnb for the night.

Some view, huh?

First Airbnb I’ve ever stayed in, and boy, it’s set a very high bar! The most idyllic location, lovely hosts, a very reasonable price which included a full cooked breakfast (a most excellent breakfast, worthy of a certain song) and a magnificent cat called Hugo (the room was very small with a single bed but I was fine with it). If this description has tickled your fancy be aware, it really is past the sticks into the twigs on single track roads (with passing places), there are no shops anywhere nearby in walking distance, the hosts have mentioned this in their blurb, they are not joking!

View from the sofa at Otter Bay

Refreshed and belly filled, I continued north up the A890 to the end of Loch Carron where I opted for the prettier more scenic route of the A896 past Sheildaig and Torridon to Kinlochewe. Not a road to rush, not that it can be with all the single track parts, enjoy the pace, take your time, be courteous and considerate, wave thanks to fellow road users – and never park in a passing place!

pretty but don’t park
I’d tell you where this was but I have no idea!

I reached Gairloch by mid afternoon. Ah, Gairloch, I have the vaguest but fondest of memories for this little place from when I was very young. We stayed in the Old Inn when the old bridge next to it was the main road through, we went paddling next to it trying to catch tiddlers (unsuccessfully). Happy times!

As it’s late I’ll leave you at Gairloch, more when I get time (it’s all very busy this family mullarky, honestly I never get a minute to myself!) I’ll put more pics on Instagram in the morning if I get a chance.

Toodle pip!