Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Skye and Cuillens from the Bealach na Ba

Well we can mark camping off as a success! After my mini-rant about the Scottish tourist industry it was great to find some places getting it really right, for a price.
We travelled west on Sunday, stopping in Strathpeffer at the old railway station for soup and sandwiches before the main push into Applecross. Applecross is where we got engaged, where we came on honeymoon and the last time we were there was Kit's 1st birthday (though the ungrateful brat pretended he couldn't remember it!) so it has a lot to answer for.  It is well known for a couple of things, 1) the road to get there and 2) the food waiting for you if you make it.
Well the road didn't let us down... Wipers on fastest setting, fog lights front and rear and off we went round bends called such delights as "Devil's Elbow". There was no point stopping at the viewpoint as we could se the clouds perfectly well from our vantage point deep inside them but once we began the downward stretch things brightened up a little. The little Suzuki Vitara parked on its side in a gully towards the end of the pass was a gentle reminder that not everyone takes it so easy on this road...I cautiously stopped and checked there were no bodies still inside, and it was clear from the detritus inside that a family with young children had had a journey they would not forget in a hurry.
Our camping hut was as basic as I'd hoped, clean and bright, small enough to be exciting but large enough to stand up in. The front door could have been a couple of inches taller mind you, as both Lorna's and my head will attest to. Ouch.
Sunday evening was spent in the award winning Applecross Inn where we ate and drank because that's what we do. At £8.95 the customary half pint of prawns has gone from snack to main meal status (another ouch) but we enjoyed fresh prawn cocktail, cod and haddock washed down with some pints of Red Cuillen ale.
Oh, the football was on and those hacking Dutch were soundly beaten in the last 3 minutes of extra time. Shame on them.
Monday was wet and we passed the morning visiting the local heritage centre, Free Church and then lunched in the Potting Shed set in the walled garden of the local hunting stately home. Another place Getting It Right, I was pleased to see - pricey but not too bad considering that by the time you got there you were the most captive market in the world.
Back to the hut for a snooze then off for dinner again...this time crab salad, lemon monk fish or cheesy pasta depending on which family member you were. A bit more beer then back to the camp site to read until dark.
Kit loved the whole camping thing - the sleeping bag, showering in the morning, the hut...everything. Considering how wet he got on out walk I was pleased he is a fairly resilient boy all in all.
We headed back to mum's in Tain today and finally got some good weather worth stopping for as the picture shows. Applecross sits on the mainland opposite Skye and it's really never the same view twice.
More pics to come, of course, but the more pressing matter on my mind is...tomorrow we load up the motorbike and head for Orkney. Kit is well looked after at Granny's but the rain is coming down again and Lorna keeps waving huge items of clothing / electrical equipment / footwear under my nose and asking if there will be room...

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