Tuesday, 30 October 2012

before it's just a distance memory....

When I got married last year my lovely family clubbed together to get us a weeks hire of a 70s VW campervan. Last month, more than a year later, we finally got to take that trip! The obvious choice for us was to head to the Highlands.
Our route (somewhat dictated by the weather): Inverness - Lochcarron - Applecross - Shieldaig - Kinlochewe - Red Point - Gairloch - Poolewe -  Altbea - Ullapool - Achiltibuie - Inverkirkag -Lochinver - Loch Assynt - Bonar Bridge - Croik (detour)- Portmahomack - Nigg - Cromarty - Fortrose - Inverness. 
Bealach na Bà
Our van 'Blanche' (she was white just a few weeks before) managed the singletrack hairpins over the Bealach na into Applecross like a trouper (all thanks to Ken).

on the Applecross Peninsula

Red Point
the viewpoint at Red Point

Inverewe Gardens, Poolewe
The brightest day coincided with us passing through Poolewe so the perfect opportunity to take a wee wander around the Inverewe Gardens.  

under Stac Pollaidh
We had a mixed bag of not so bad weather from the beginning but on the sixth day our luck well and truly ran out - above being our view for most of the day (think windows open and squeegee in operation for full effect - got to see through that windscreen somehow!). So cruel since we passed through some of the most amazing landscape that day. Just as well we got a good look at Stac Pollaidh the day before as Suilven and Canisp were no where to be seen. So instead of continuing north we followed our noses and headed back eastwards.

Ardvreck Castle, Loch Assynt
Croick Church
On the way back east we took a wee detour to Croick Church best known for it's connection to the Highland Clearances and the sheltering families of Glencalvie, who recorded their plight in stratched messages on the window in 1845. The small churchyard is also the last resting place of a dear family member so a rather poignant place for me all round.. 

close-up of Croick Church window
So where to head next? Portmahomack of course -  the driest place in Scotland (apparently). At least that day it lived up to it's reputation.
on the Nigg - Cromarty ferry
Chanonry Point
We spent the last night on the Black Isle before returning 'Blanche' back to her home in Inverness. After a week of being greeted with waves and smiling faces it was quite a comedown to hand over our 'mobile tearoom' & drive away in our very ordinary car.