We continued our journey east following the meandering coast road around the shores of Loch Eribol before the terrain softened as we took the causeway over the Kyle of Tongue. We drove on to Scrabster and then parked at the seaside town of Thurso to pick up fresh supplies from the high street. We were hoping to find a good fish restaurant but the town seemed rather run down so we drove on a few miles to Dunnet Bay, a site on the beach with a pub ten minutes’ walk down the road, where we had a pint of beer and some beautiful fresh fish.
A fellow traveller recommended that we stop at the croft of a sculptor, Lotte Glob, who in 1999 had purchased 14 acres of.land in a desolate spot over looking Loch Eribol. She created a garden, planting over four thousand trees where trees were known not to thrive. Today the garden was lush and green and anyone was welcome to stop and explore the area, have a picnic and discover the many sculptures set around the garden.
The campsite at Durness was in a stunning situation overlooking Sango Bay. At last it had stopped raining and lots of people were enjoying the beach. Most were swimming and surfing wearing wet suits although there were a couple of girls (from Czech Republic) who were swimming in bikinis (no photo provided!)
The Outer Hebrides was a chain of about two hundred islands lying in the Atlantic Ocean to the west of Scotland. They stretched for 130 miles from the north at the Butt of Lewis to the south at Barra Head. The ferry journey from Ullapool to Stornoway took just over two hours.
Our campsite was just outside Stornoway and the next morning we drove south to the Isle Of Harris – home of Harris Tweed – didn’t buy anything. There were few trees and the terrain was grassy peat bogs surrounding hundreds of small lochs. We saw lots of sheep and even a few cattle and, had the sun been shining, the scenery would have been beautiful in a wild way. Everywhere were thick carpets of wild flowers bright against the greens of the grasses, interrupted by huge granite boulders scattered over the landscape. The colours were rich and varied, even on that dull day.
We returned to Stornoway for lunch before driving north to the lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis, reportedly the windiest coast in the UK. The day’s drive was little more than a hundred miles, we kept to the main roads and the route had very little traffic – although a large proportion of these vehicles were other motor homes.
The ferry from Malaig to Skye took forty minutes. After disembarking we drove north to Portree where the town elders were canny enough to provide a large car park on the edge of town. We were able to park the camper and walk up to the town centre in the pouring rain and choose one of a variety of restaurants in the town and on the quay. We had oysters and sea bass – it was still raining when we came out.
We then drove north to Uig where we found a campsite which rapidly filled up with motor homes, a few caravans and even some families in tents. It made you proud to be British! It was extremely wet and windy, the rain had hardly stopped for the last twenty four hours and the forecast for the next few days was poor – but in spite of the weather the holiday makers (mostly British but some Dutch and German), carried on regardless – pitching their tents, walking the dog, visiting the towns and the beaches. Everyone was well wrapped up and no-one seemed to notice the weather – even the adolescents seemed rosy cheeked and communicative!