Gales and Midges

Sligachan Travel Blog

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What the? Things you see!

Today we drove through the Cairngorms, a mountain range in Scotland passing Ben Nevis at it's foothills and Glen Nevis.  Found a spot beside a river where we had lunch of bread rolls, cheese and bananas washed down with lime cordial!  We were headed towards the Isle of Skye and for a couple of days we had noticed a slow leak in one of the tyres so found a "National" tyre service to have it fixed.  Andrew and I decied that it would ptobably be about the cost of a case of beer in whichever country we are in as it seems to be the universal charge.  It was!

At a nearby supermarket we bought the makings for the dinner in the evening and I found a bottle of gooseberry wine in a tourist shop from Lindesfarne..  Onwards through some magnficent moors and mountains and we spotted two patches of snow.

The Scot seemed to like this spot too
  Deep brooding lochs, banks of ferns pierced with purple foxgloves.  Alders, birches, wild cherry trees, we photographed a scene where water cascaded down from the hills into a tidal inlet, turned 180 degrees on the spot to picture the mountains and the sea.  Over more granite bridges until we reached the village of Mallaig where we could catch a car ferry to the Isle of Skye.

We had 45 mins before the next departure so we walked into the village and found a shop with lots of Aussie surfing wear.  Back on the quayside we purchased a couple of coffees and a bottle of dandylion and burdock drink from a van and the guy recognising our accents showed us a silver fern hat pin from New Zealand that "a really nice guy" gave to him.

Brooding lochs
  Not wanting to be outdone by a Kiwi, I whipped off my kangaroo pin and evened up the score gaining a kiss on the cheek from the vendor.  The fare was about £24 and we boarded then went up on the deck where we spotted a sea lion as we left the port.  It was 6pm and 30 mins later we disembarked.

A beautiful, beautiful isle.  One lane roads then we came out onto a good two lane road.  I had trouble fixing on the road as the views were spectacular.  After about 35 miles we spotted a camping ground on a windy exposed site with huge mountains on 3 sides and the inlet from the sea on the other.  By now the wind was gale force and Andrew set to putting it up tying it down really well.  I cooked up a pot of hunters stew ( everything I could find to make a hearty meal) with chicken.

Burns alongside the road
  Once we had finished that off we walked down to the pub back along the road where many of the campers had gone to for a meal.  The campers seemed to be mainly walkers, bird spotters, cyclists and climbers.  Many had a dog which we find is the thing throughout the British Isles.  A young couple of Aussies were behind the bar of the pub and I tried out the Heather Ale and Andrew had a medium dark ale.  During the night the wind dies out and when we wake in the morning, a blanket of midges coat the table in the dew!  Now we know why Scotland has lots of winds = keeps the midges away!

We detour off to teh west coast to see the spectacular coastline the guide books tell of.  It is and there are many lochs.  Then it is back to the east cast to cross back to the mainland via the Skye Bridge which  no longer seems to have a toll in place.

granite bridges
  By lunchtime we are travelling along the banks of Loch Ness and I have prepared for the event with the purchase of baps (soft flat bread rolls) and a tin of ox-tail soup.  This is always what we had as children when we did a day trip to the Loch!  Then we were sent to the Loch's edge to wash out the mugs after and Dad would always yell out the Nessie was coming which would throw us into a squealing panic!

We pass the ruins of a castle on a penninsular in a loch which are reputed to be the most photographed ruins by tourists to Scotland.  By early afternoon we are approaching Morayshire on the east coast of Scotland and towards the place that we lived in on two postings.  Detour to Findhorn because I wanted to see the caravan park made famous 40 years ago when people settled there and grew the most amazing vegetables and roses on the salty, windswept sandy soil.

Skye across the sea
  We pass the RAF Kinloss base and finally I see the signs that Lossiemouth is ahead.  The boundary of the RNAS , the light house, the golf course and then we are onto Stotfield Road where we once lived.  Drive on down throgh the town with it's grey stone buildings and wide main street, to the harbour where the fishing boats are straining at their moorings in the stiff wind.  There is a little tea shop on the harbour front and it has the tables laid out with blue and white china so we have a cream tea.

Go looking for my old school but the grey stone building is no longer there and it seems that only the primary school in temporary looking buildings seems to be there now and shortly I find the new high school that has been built somewhere else.  Leaving Lossie we pass through Elgin and in to the Speyside country.

On this side there is this
  Climbing back up into mountains of the Cairngorms we see huge ski fields with the lifts standing empty in a barren landscape.  Ballater, Craithe, Easter Balmoral and we find the camp for the night at the latter.  It is a super organised site with masses of ducks and rabbits.  There are signs advising not to feed the ducks but they kind of liked the seeds and pithy bits of capsicum.  Germany gets knocked out of the World Cup finals when the come up against Italy. 

 

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What the?  Things you see!
What the? Things you see!
The Scot seemed to like this spot …
The Scot seemed to like this spot…
Brooding lochs
Brooding lochs
Burns alongside the road
Burns alongside the road
granite bridges
granite bridges
Skye across the sea
Skye across the sea
On this side there is this
On this side there is this
turn around 180 degrees and there …
turn around 180 degrees and there…
on ferry to Skye
on ferry to Skye
Andrew makes sure the tent will no…
Andrew makes sure the tent will n…
Camping on the Isle of Skye
Camping on the Isle of Skye
That much photographed ruin
That much photographed ruin
Lossiemouth-once we lived here
Lossiemouth-once we lived here
the golf course at the beach with …
the golf course at the beach with…
Wide main street of Lossiemouth
Wide main street of Lossiemouth
Sligachan
photo by: highlandmist