Single Track Hell!

Gairloch Travel Blog

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View along the drive to Gairloch

Tuesday was our planned visit to the Western shores of Scotland.  Gairloch seemed an inviting town to visit, and Kim desired to visit the Rua Reidh Lighthouse on the peninsula beyond Gairloch.   The drive across Scotland was rough…please be aware that even the “major” roadways on Scottish maps frequently turn into single tracks…a bit unnerving when you have a bit of traffic.  We stopped at a farmhouse advertising breakfast along the way which was quite scenic and pleasant.

 

Pressing on, we acquired Gairloch, a pretty fishing village on the Atlantic which reminded me quite a bit of Bath, Maine, where we used to live.

Rua Reidh Lighthouse
  From Gairloch it was roughly nine miles to Rua Reidh, so this driver felt a misplaced sense of relief.  The problem with driving in Scotland is that you have to remain entirely focused upon the road, whilst your companions exclaim how beautiful the scenery is!

 

The trip from Gairloch to Rua Reidh was pure hell.  Imagine driving a single lane road down a 45-degree incline (with cliffs on either side) to a 90-degree turn…a definite white knuckle experience!  It was up-and-down, back-and-forth the entire way, although there were apparently a lot of sheep, goats and spectacular ocean views (according to Kim & Chip…all I glimpsed was the narrow, constantly changing roadway immediately in front of my eyeballs!).  Fortunately Rua Reidh was an apt reward…a visual paradise featuring a rocky coastline with a lighthouse pondering the stark landscape.

Lighthouse at Rua Reigh

 

We parked and hiked a little way, savoring the natural beauty.  The best part was glimpsing a frolicking sea lion in the water, with nothing around but the rocky coast to accompany the vision.  Regaining the lighthouse, we were tickled to walk about the grounds, where numerous chickens seemed intent upon scratching out nests in the dirt.  We walked inside the lighthouse, which is also a B&B, to have a drink before departing.  A radio was playing and for some reason I will never forget that Tracy Chapman was playing…it fit in perfectly. 

In addition to our trio, there were two elderly couples enjoying the B&B fare.  Another fond memory will always be how the one gentleman peered at the other male companion and inquired “another scone?”…and his counterpart smirked and slightly nodded, “yes, one more” like he was getting away with a tremendous crime.

I know its a dumb picture...but the green, the sheep and the simple life evoked by a wash line stir strong memories...

 

While we consumed our drinks, I perused the travel guide which had highlighted Rua Reidh and noted a travel tip advising that you park at Melvaig, a teensy village three miles prior to Rua Reidh…and walk the rest of the way because the single track was so traumatic!

 

Back at Gairloch, we opted to enjoy lunch at the Old Inn and enjoyed some fresh seafood outdoors.  Walking down the path to the restaurant entrance, I noticed a trailhead marker that mentioned a hike to “Flowerdale Falls”, and after lunch we decided to see where it led.  What a grand choice!  One of the things I admire most about my wife is her free spirit that is willing to go with the flow.

Chip at Rua Reidh...plenty of opportunities to hike about!
  Even though we had purchased several books featuring Scottish hiking trails, nary a one mentioned this gem…a lush stroll down a glacial valley!

A spectacular hike, and on the rebound we were rewarded with stellar ocean views.  How this trail escaped mention from all our research is perhaps a sin…but more likely a reinforcement of just how glorious our planet is!

It was a lengthy return for this driver, but several hours later we regained Inverness and stumbled upon a splendid dinner choice.  La Tortilla Asesina is an unlikely, but fantastic tapas restaurant in Inverness.  They had a solid selection of tapas varieties and Kim enjoyed a margarita which she accorded high applause…no drinks for the driver who still had to endure the single track back to Farr House, though!

vances says:
It was an utterly charming moment --- don't forget to sprinkle in the Scottish accent when visualizing the discussion! :^)
Posted on: Feb 08, 2009
princessbride029 says:
"the one gentleman peered at the other male companion and inquired “another scone?”…and his counterpart smirked and slightly nodded, “yes, one more” like he was getting away with a tremendous crime." HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! I can totally picture this, and I love your writing style. Thanks for sharing this hilarious moment. :)
Posted on: Feb 08, 2009
scubagirl76 says:
great blog you placed me there! & great pictures! this land is just beyond beautiful!
Posted on: Jun 20, 2008
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View along the drive to Gairloch
View along the drive to Gairloch
Rua Reidh Lighthouse
Rua Reidh Lighthouse
Lighthouse at Rua Reigh
Lighthouse at Rua Reigh
I know its a dumb picture...but th…
I know its a dumb picture...but t…
Chip at Rua Reidh...plenty of oppo…
Chip at Rua Reidh...plenty of opp…
Peaceful view at Rua Reidh
Peaceful view at Rua Reidh
Flowerdale Falls - not a great fal…
Flowerdale Falls - not a great fa…
Kim & Chip at Flowerdale Falls
Kim & Chip at Flowerdale Falls
Hiking back to Gairloch from Flowe…
Hiking back to Gairloch from Flow…
Flowerdale Falls
Flowerdale Falls
Expansive views along the Flowerda…
Expansive views along the Flowerd…
Estate just off of the trail to Fl…
Estate just off of the trail to F…
Gairloch
photo by: vances