SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS IN JULY
Revisiting the west coast of Scotland after about eight years has proved to be one of the best holidays we have had for many a day.
Many things have altered but a lot stays the same.
There are now improvements to the road to the isles but all the little side-roads and the villages are still much the same.
On our arrival we saw Alistair, the owner of the site, and he remembered us. He found us a nice little site with a hookup to the mains electricity, something we have never done before, but felt it would be safest as we had a problem with the battery on the van before we left home. We are facing the sea and can sit in the van on a bad weather day and still view the sights. Our neighbour to be very kindly helped us set up and within about a quarter of an hour we had got the feet down, caravan level, electrics in, a water container filled and installed, and we were ready to face the world.
The rugged coastline where we set up camp cannot alter and everything is therefore very familiar – the views to the islands of Eigg, Rhum and Canna, not forgetting the Isle of Skye, as beautiful as ever. The sea today, Tuesday 15th, is as calm as a millpond and sparkles brightly in the sunshine. Many small boats venture forth in the stillness causing a feeling of jealousy as we would have been ‘out there’ if our health had not caused us to give up our own boat.
The best we can do is to take a trip on the Sheerwater from Arisaig to the islands of Eigg and Muck, the latter being hidden behind the other islands.
The trip, which we took yesterday, was rather wet as we had a fair bit of rain but it really did not deter from the pleasure of the ride and although there is a three quarters of an hour walk right across the island it took us three quarters of an hour to cover a journey to the tea shop which all the other customers did in ten minutes. However we got there, we had a cup of tea and prawn rolls with freshly caught prawns and then made it back to the boat. The return journey was very exciting, we left the harbour at Muck and were travelling back to Eigg to collect those passengers who had alighted there, but we kept deviating from our path and chasing ‘Minkie’ whales. We would go off at a tangent from the true course swerving side to side and then stopping altogether. We would wait around for a sighting and then hopefully get a photo. I think I got two but until I have put them on the screen I won’t know. Eventually we had to return to Muck as some passengers had missed the boat, then we went back towards Eigg and once again chased whales. We stopped a couple of more times and then we went into Eigg. When we left the harbour there we had to transfer a couple of passengers onto a large Caledonian McBrayne ferry – quite hazardous for the couple by the looks of it. On back to Arisaig and when we arrived there we both felt the need for sustenance so we headed for a local hostelry – used to be a pub and shop and is now a high-class hotel. The food was excellent, but pricey, but the drinks were much in line with anywhere else. We were absolutely worn out so back to the caravan. A good end to a good day!
This morning, after our visit to Mallaig for a bit of shopping, we stopped at the white sands of Traigh, the tide was out but there is a little area where we can drive the car in and get onto the beach without too much difficulty. The dogs had a great time and for the first time ever they actually played without anyone throwing a ball. Just back and forth into the water – but not too far!
Another day dawns and it looks like its going to be a hot one. After breakfast down to Arisaig for a paper and the inevitable sun lotion. They had sold out so off to Mallaig.
Managed to get a factor 35 (highest they had) and back to Traigh beach for the dogs run. Temperature now 30 C so dogs were in and out of the sea without hesitation. So were we, but only up to our knees – and me with a walking stick sinking in the sand which did not make things too steady. About 2 p.m. back to the caravan for a snack and siesta – dozed quite well out in the sun but under a shade – by evening temperature still high – dropped to 29 C then about 27.5 by 9 p.m.
Sunset at 10.15 p.m. but not as dramatic as some we have seen. Still it was quite spectacular and it will continue light for about another hour.
Talked to an old acquaintance today about his work when we were here last. He has a hobby of making chairs with high backs and carved with all sorts of relative emblems for whomever the chair is made. One of these has been given to Sir Alex Ferguson, and others he was making before were for a church. He is currently working with primary school children and has made an ‘icon’ representing ‘The Family’ with the baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph in the stable. All of this is with inlaid small pieces of pitch pine and the children are helping him to do this. Another of his works depicts a smiling Jesus, also aided by the children, and will be stood in front of a window in the church instead of stained glass.
Last day tomorrow – I wonder what this holds for us.
Our last day was very slow as it was extremely hot, we went shopping, then we went to the bay again and Brenda actually went for a swim. Water quite chilly, dogs enjoyed themselves. Back to camp then start to organise packing up.
Back to Huddersfield on Friday for overnight stay – we left late so we arrived late with Julie. Returned to home on Saturday leaving about 12.45 and arriving home about 7.15.
Now to rest to get over our wonderful holiday!