‘Adventure before Dementia’ Part 2

Hi, it’s Kate. For those of you who don’t know, I’m Kelly’s mum. While Kelly was away in St Andrew’s, her dad and I hired a camper van and took a wee road trip around Scotland (see what I did there?) which we have lovingly dubbed the adventure before dementia tour.

Wednesday 4th July
Off to a slightly slower start this morning than anticipated due to a wee drop of the wet stuff (and no not alcohol!) However we cannot complain because so far in this adventure we have been blessed with good weather and lovely warmth for evenings! So finally we got up, a not so quick 4 mile run for me this morning along the cliff tops and through the many waterfalls cascading down the mountainside, taking a few opportune breathers to stare out across the bay taking in the stunning blue waters and lush green cliff tops. Back to base, some yummy scrambled egg and bacon (so much for the many pots of instant porridge we brought with us!!) and finally we left Glenbrittle. We almost had a plan for today and we almost completed it!

Our prime reason for stopping over at or near Glenbrittle was to visit the Faerie Pools as seen in the Wild Swimming book. Donning our swimming cossies under our shorts and T-shirts we took the short but picturesque walk to the falls. There are many legends and fables regarding the Faerie Pools but they are a set of pools formed from the waterfalls and the rocks have been worn smooth over the years. At one of the pools, there is even an arch you can swim under to get to the next one. Anyway, finding our preference for plunge pools we stripped down to the bemusement of walkers and scrambled down the bank …..after dipping in my tie I opted for Colin to go first and I would take the photos ….definitely warmer out than in! In he went and amazingly proper in, not my wussy toe dipping! Then it was my turn and yes I did …I dipped in after many moments of fannying about and had a proper swim ….wishing I had actually brought my wetsuit and goggles in my pack. I think you could call it exhilarating! We went to the second pool, where again Colin went in, there was already someone in swimming and larking about on the arch however he was correctly attired in full wetsuit….obviously been there before! By this time, I was happily sitting in one of the pools and had absolutely no intention I’ve getting back in for a full body dip! Sadly I was also being eaten alive by vampire horseflies who were feasting quite happily on all the exposed flesh. I can’t believe we avoided midges & I got blooming eaten by horseflies. Hurriedly dressing again, we scrambled up the bank and headed back to the van. Opting not to have another cup of tea, we dried off and dressed properly and set off on the road again.

A couple of unscheduled stops for photos of highland cattle and we got back to Broadford, our original stop for milk and information. Replenishing supplies and a small lunch to keep the hunger pangs at bay we headed towards Plockton, apparently where Hamish Macbeth tv series was set. Again we were on the single track windy roads minding our own business when in the middle of 1 village we came across a herd of highland cattle with calves quite happily standing in the middle of the junction, carefully going round them (they have very long horns!) we dropped down eventually to the picturesque village of Plockton where I wanted to take a boat ride to see the seals …for once timed to perfection we made the boat trip without any delays. The harbour and loch were like a millpond but bizarrely full of jellyfish. The waters were so clear in the harbour you could see right down to the bottom, although the boat owner told us it wasn’t as clear as normal due to the rain washing the soil down from mountain. About 10 minutes out we had to cough up our fare as we saw our first few seals with their pups sunning themselves on the rocks, Callum’s seal trips offer you’re money back if you don’t see the seals! Sadly no dolphins anymore, the pod swam away a few years back and have not returned….yet! Leaving Plockton we took another of these single track lanes that are so popular here and made camp at Dornie to give Colin a fair crack at getting photos of the famous Eilean Donan castle ( I think I may have that wrong but I’ll blame the heat and cider!). Parked up, recce’d the route for the best places for the photos and then for food. ……unfortunately this is in limited supply in Dornie with the clachan pub not serving food tonight of all nights so we ventured to the Dornie hotel ….which in their defence obviously weren’t expecting it to be busy! Having waited about half an hour for the table we both opted for haddock and chips in the hope it would be quick and we would get out before it got dark …..remember it hasn’t got dark here yet until midnight!

The food was unexpectedly good, the haddock was so tasty and fresh, not quite so sure about the bright yellow of the batter but it tasted good!

Leaving Colin to pick his spot among the many photographers now appearing to take photos of the castle at dusk I headed back to the van for Colin’s camera bag and the essential midge repellant and my book! When I got back I opted not to be the loving wife and wait for hours with him, instead I went back to the van and enjoyed my book, a cup of tea and peace and quiet! Colin came back about11 ish being the last photographer standing and promptly set his alarm for 4.15 ….yep he was alone on that one …I vaguely remember him getting up as quietly as possible, looking outside and thinking nope not getting up! 2 hours later I vaguely remember him coming back in & disturbing me …….

As we were back on the mainland at this point we opted not to bother getting back to Skye for the sake of getting the ferry …we’ll come over that way next time! We drove back to Fort William, had a mooch and found it as depressing as the last time, full of charity shops and tat, bagged some salad from Morrison’s and headed off. About an hour on we stopped for a picnic lunch where we discovered the height of the van with the top box is about 2.3 metres …about the height if the barriers into forestry commission car parks actually!!

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Fully replenished we carried on to our planned overnighter at Loch Lomond, with one last photo stop at Glengarry viewpoint.

We got to Luss, luckily managed to get a pitch, I think this may have been helped by the campsite managers being from Stockton! Plugged in, we went for a walk round the village, which was beautiful, & again a star of a tv series ‘take the high road’ …before my time too! A very pleasant meal in The Village Rest and a gentle stroll back to the van where we packed and cleaned up ready for a sharp exit in the morning …bearing in mind the slight lack of any speed in the mornings so far! Leaving Luss at 8.30 we headed back to Glasgow and civilisation for the end of our tour. Luckily everything was ok with the van, the deposit was refunded And our car collected, time for a fuel up of both car and coffee for us and we were off across country to collect Kelly from St Andrews.

We both think skye is a magical and mysterious as it is claimed, loved the one road round the island, the warm welcome you get everywhere, stunning views and clear blue seas. We’d go back tomorrow if we could & after a trip to town today, find there is something to be said for fewer shops, cars and people!!

I am glad to be home, my own big double bed and of course it was fantastic to have Kelly back, I missed her(but sssh don’t tell her that or she’ll milk it for more money!)

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