Carly Bond

June, 2011:

Scotland Road Trip – Day 13

Today’s the day that we started our descent of the British Isles, although we still have 3 nights left. We were heading towards the town of Dornoch, taking in the east coast. First stop was Wick…well what can I say about Wick? Erm, nothing much really, so sad to see a fishing town with no life, all the shops closing & everyone seemingly feeling the same! I don’t think I’ll be going back there in a hurry!

Then we moved on to Whaligoe Steps, which is approx 330 steps going down to an old fishing harbour that was last used in the 70’s. It was really interesting to imagine what went on back then, but I’m really glad I don’t have to climb them steps again! I was still feeling sick from the exertion an hour afterwards.

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We slowly made our way down the coast road, stopping at Lybster Harbour, Helmsdale Harbour, Brora Beach & Dunrobin Castle. The best of which was Brora Beach, another chance for a paddle, hee hee!

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As we were nearing Dornoch we decided to go onto the smaller coast road along the estuary just to make the journey a little longer and we were greeted with a group of about 100 seal with pups! They were soooooo cute 😀 I was very excited 🙂

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Once we got to Dornoch we sat down for a pint in the sun at The Eagle Hotel, it was lovely although we did have a mad Liverpudlian talking to us about how brilliant Scotland is, it was hilarious 😀 Happy Times!

Scotland Road Trip – Day 12

Up for an early breakfast today as we had to travel back to John O’Groats to catch the ferry to Orkney. We have booked on a coach day tour which took us to all the main tourist spots on the islands.

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First stop was Kirkwall, the capital. Only an hour of spare time so we had a cup of tea & a scone, quick look around the cathedral, bought some lunch 🙂

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Next stop was Skara Brae (another hour stop), which is a village built in 3100BC before the pyramids & Stonehenge! It was very interesting to see how things were built with just stone.

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From then we stopped at Ring of Brodgar, Standing Stones of Stenness and the Italian Chapel before heading back to the ferry for the trip back home.  I very much enjoyed my ‘peedie’ tour of the Orkney Isles, there is so much to see and do, much more than we did today.  Maybe worth a trip back some time.

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Scotland Road Trip – Day 11

Another sunny day and another moving day!  Time to move on to our last place before we start getting nearer to home instead of further away.

It was only 10am and I found myself climbing up a hill to Castle Varrich, which was not far from the bed & breakfast!  The legs and back are sore from yesterday so it took me a little longer than normal!  The views were worth it tho, even if the castle was a little pants!

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Scotland Road Trip – Day 10

Unfortunately for me the sun woke me up at about 3am this morning and I struggled to get back to sleep so tried to blog at about 7 o’clock but it would seem that Scotland is against bloggers…but the sun was shining so there was no real complaining from me, not after yesterday afternoons downpour, anyway!

We decided to do a 5 mile walk as it was such a nice day.  My only contribution to choosing where was that I wanted it to be near a beach so I could paddle afterwards!   I’m such a child! 🙂  So off we went to Faraid Head, back to the beach I’d paddled at the day before…in the rain!  It was a 5 mile walk (nearer 6 I’d say), that took us to the most North Westerly point that we would get to on this holiday, although we could sit & look at the actual most North Westerly point from the cliff’s edge.

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Scotland Road Trip – Day 9

Moving day comes round very quickly and this one was no different.  We were moving on to a small town called Tongue!   Between Scourie & Tongue lies the most North Westerly points of mainland Britain!

The thing I will take away with me from this area the most is the gorgeous beaches!   There is nearly one round every corner!  Even if the weather was a little pants to say the least, they’re still beautiful & unspoilt.

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We decided to take a trip to Smoo Cave, a cave originally made by sea water but now changed by fresh water!  We were greeted by a funny man who sounded like Mrs Doubtfire, which me & my mum found hilarious!  We donned our hard hats and went aboard a little dinghy with another family of 5, very snug!  ‘Move along dears’

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It was amazing, being underground in a huge cave with a waterfall of fresh water falling through a sunk hole! Fascinating stuff & well worth the £3 it cost for the tour 🙂

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The bed & breakfast we arrived at was beautiful, not the views of the night before, but in a very relaxing & peaceful setting! Much needed!

Scotland Road Trip – Day 8

After a very nice ‘local’ breakfast…eggs from their own chickens and sausages from their own pigs (I’m glad to say no lamb from Larry!!!)…

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…we were ready to face the day…which was a day around Handa Island, a nature reserve.  We travelled to a small village called Tarbet where we caught the Handa Island Ferry, which was a small boat only big enough for 10 people.

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Scotland Road Trip – Day 7

Today has to go down as the best day so far. It was moving day so we were heading further north towards a little place called Scourie. As the distant from Ullapool to Scourie wasn’t as far as the last jump, we decided to take the coastal route.

This took us to a secluded beach called Achnahaird Beach, which has to be one of the best beaches I have ever been to. I may even go as far to say as it’s the 3rd. Not topping Hawk’s Nest or Palm Beach (Home & Away) in Australia, but very close.

We walked down to the beach & had a paddle, the water was actually quite warm at the break but freezing cold the deeper you went (which wasn’t far!)

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We then moved on a little further & the landscape changed again. Up from the ground shoots Suilven, Scotland’s most distinctive mountain. He was fantastic…and you would have got good views from the top of him.

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We finally arrived at our new home for the next 2 nights. A little croft with only 2 rooms, overlooking their own shoreline! The views from the bedrooms are fantastic. Only a short walk (ok, about 20 mins) and you get to the Atlantic…which we did for a spot of fishing and otter spotting, both of which were elusive.

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Scotland Road Trip – Day 6

I had the best breakfast so far this morning…Fruit & Fibre with strawberries, followed by blueberry pancakes & maple syrup.  Mmmm, they were delicious and will be difficult to beat.  Just trying to decide whether to have them again tomorrow or try something different. 🙂

Today was a different type of day, nowhere to be, the boys decided they were going to play the Ullapool Golf Course, so us girlies decided a bit of shopping was in order.  When we mentioned this to the owner of the bed & breakfast she told us of a little nail salon on the main street…well…it would be rude not too wouldn’t it?  🙂  So to the nail salon we went & 2 hours later we were perfectly manicured, a really nice surprise treat.

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In the afternoon, when the boys returned from the golf & after lunch in the sun at a local tea room called Tea By The Sea, we decided to visit the Corrieshalloch Gorge.  This was a ‘wow’ experience!  A short walk from the car park and you get to a suspension bridge, which was a little wobbly to say the least.  It wasn’t for those scared of heights, put it that way.  From the middle of the bridge you could see just how high up you were & you were right above the waterfall…brilliant if not a little scary.  Apparently not that long ago a German lady died here after falling into the gorge, so sticking to the path was necessary.

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Tonight we are going to sample some local Highland music & dancing, which apparently happens every Thursday evening in the summer, weather permitting…so that should be fun!  Maybe some pictures to follow, so watch this space!

Scotland Road Trip – Day 5

Today was moving day, further north we go, travelling to the town of Ullapool.  A journey that should only take about 2 hours in total, but we went the scenic route…well we’re on our holidays so why not.

We’d been told by a number of people to travel along the Applecross Peninsula, the highest pass in Scotland at 2,053 ft.  It had hairpin bends which wouldn’t been out of place in the Alps, a journey that  my mum did not want to drive 🙂  The onward part of this journey from Applecross Village to Sheildaig was not possible until 1976, due to there not being a road built.  As we could see in the back as we were following a map that was older than we are 🙂

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Scotland Road Trip – Day 4

Well the weather did lie today, we woke up to a glorious sunny day, which was a nice surprise.  After what was forecast we’d been trying to find something to do in the rain the night before.

We decided that after a few days in the car it would be nice to go for a walk to stretch the legs.  Only a short one, thank god, as I’m not sure my back would have taken much more.  We didn’t venture far from the B&B, but we walked down by the Loch near a small place called Balmacara, along the coastline and then up into the woods.  It was lovely!  I treated myself to a paddle in the Loch which was nice but icy cold!

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