As explained in previous post we have a mission to go to as many counties in the UK as we can and drink a pint of locally brewed ale there (or in my case just visit them and watch the others drink ale). the Highlands of Scotland seemed perfect for our next trip as while we had all made it to Edinburgh I was the only one to have done much more but still hadn’t made it to the highlands. However we made a slight rule change if there was a specialty alcoholic beverage made in that area that could count too, i.e. WHISKEY! distilleries here we come.
We took the train to Glasgow where we stayed a night then collected a rental car the next morning, and yet again had fun trying to fit all our gear and us into it, eventually we all piled in and headed off for Loch Ness. We stopped often on the way as the scenery was amazing, and we needed to stretch out legs.
We came across a spectacular mountain with steep rocky side and of course a path going up the side but I think you would need some serious mountaineering stuff to manage it.
We were planning on wild camping that night so as it started to get dark we started looking for a place to set up our tents (this is what I did when I went to ) turns out its harder to find campsite when in a car compared to walking. We kept stopping in all the passing bays/look out points on side of the road and looking for paths that lead somewhere. We found one, it looked pretty cool but it was a bit rocky and another couple were following us down so we decided to keep looking for a bit. We then found another gorgeous place covered with pink flowering heather that was soft and squishy to lie on and a great look out over Loch Ness.
The next morning while I was cooking breakfast Troy and Robbie decided they needed to go swimming with Nessie (The Loch Ness monster), I decided it looked rocky and slippery and most of all freezing and took photos while poaching the eggs.
It was freezing but refreshing they assured me, though the looks on their faces after they had gone under were priceless. No sign of Nessie though. packed up then off to Inverness for coffee for the addicts and clothes for Laura (she had just come back the day we left from Chad later than expected so needed a few clean items).
Then off to John ‘O’Groats it was where the wind was blowing so hard it was hard to stand up and the rain was going in every direction including upwards. We of course made the most of it, jumping up to see how far the wind would take us (about a foot) and running around in it.
From there we headed to Thurso planning to camp but by the time we got half way there it was raining so hard we decided that a hostel for the night wouldn’t be so bad, with warm showers and comfy beds we thought we were living in luxury. When we went in search of a pub for dinner and Ale the waves were crashing over the barriers and into the carpark it was so windy. Many people who were planning on going to or from Orkney we stuck on either side, we had thought about going over the next day but there was no chance of getting a space on the ferry). The next day we headed off along the coast stopping at almost every view point only the way.
My favourite place was Durness which had gorgeous beaches one of which we spent ages walking over and going into the caves (which had amazing red rocks that with the water trickling down looked like they were bleeding) when we first arrived at the beach it was cloudy and overcast but just as we were walking back across it to the car the sun suddenly came out and made everything much more beautiful, more photos all around. Durness also had a very cute collection of shops and cafes. We stopped in a second hand book shop which was also a cafe, so having ordered our food we then wandered around browsing the books, best idea ever. After that we went for dessert in the chocolate shop opposite where Troy and Robbie had mochas filled with melted chocolate so much so it was dripping over the side, I had to help Robbie with his. I got a yummy box of their chocolates which Troy and Robbie helped me eat (Laura was lost to her new book care of the bookshop).
I shall have to leave you there and write the rest of the trip in another post. What was your favourite stopping point on the way somewhere? Why?