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Husky Airways

NC500 by NC700: Tuesday 06/09

Today's journey would take us from Wester Ross into Sutherland, following the A832 as it potters round the coastline and through the hills, past the oddly named villages of First Coast and Second Coast. The sky was blue, but the deep water of the lochs beneath it looked black. We climbed above a bay: white houses with grey roofs, and dry bracken on the slopes waving in the wind like seaweed.

Left at a T junction, back up the eastern side of a loch we'd already travelled down, and onto the larger, busier A835. Ullapool, the lunch stop, was sheltered from the wind, and warm in the sun. We basked, shopped for postcards and ate chips.

The wind came back with a vengeance as we climbed into the hills, so we had to fight it around the corners. Dark skies threatened mist and rain, and I was keen to stay ahead of it. But as I followed Dave and John past a small loch, a Tornado suddenly streaked low over the water, followed by another.

Dave has known me long enough to work out why I suddenly dropped back. I pulled up at the side of the road, only for another of the fighters to roar magnificently overhead. I waved frantically, and got out my camera in hope of more action. Another couple of passes, then the thunder died away and I moved on.

At the petrol station in Lochinver, I was reunited with Howard, Dave and John. We went in search of afternoon tea, and I had my second cake of the day in a cafe with its own small herd of deer.

From here it was just fourteen miles to our hotel in Drumbeg. They were perhaps the prettiest fourteen miles of the holiday: a single track road that climbed above white sandy beaches and Caribbean-blue sea, with little traffic bar an occasional caravan or sheep to skirt around.

There was no wifi for guests and no phone signal, so everyone sat in the lounge before dinner reading the hotel's collection of tatty paperbacks, then went to bed at nine. It was nice.

Miles: 128.7

Viewpoint, Drumbeg

Tornado, near Ullapool
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For a second I thought you saw a couple of tornadoes until I realized you were talking about those jets! XD

By the way, happy birthday! :)
We've done this joke already :P And thank you!
You're welcome. :)
And you did! First Coast and Second Coast were the villages I wondered whether you'd namecheck. =:) Well, either that or Gruinard Island nearby, the place where they used to test anthrax...

Loch Broom (the one you went down and up just before Ullapool) is supposed to be a haven for both otters and ospreys, but I've never seen either there. (My best osprey sighting was next to a roundabout in Fort William. Go figure, as they say...)

Foreign territory for me from this point on, so I'm looking forward to it even more! =:)
Who knew I was so predictable? :)

I always hope I'll see an otter, or, even better, a pine marten, but I guess I'm moving too fast and making too much noise...
I knew you were going to say that. =;)

Given that my total tally in six visits is one fleeing pine marten in the half-light and one otter off a fairly remote island, I'm not really one to give tips on that!
Ooo. That first photo is very pretty! (Sorry if you prefer the second one. :-p )
The weather was certainly better for the first - the best couple of hours of the trip, I think.

One of the islands is Handa, a seabird reserve, but I forget all the rest...
Good grief, that first view is breathtaking. If it's that good in a photo, I can only imagine its majesty IRL. ^_^

No cellular signal? Hm. I'll have to rent a satellite modem. =:)
It was windier IRL, but still stunning!

Of all the places we went, I had the best feeling about Drumbeg. Recommended.
Being able to relax entirely in a place where there simply IS no Internet connectivity sounds very nice, I gotta say. And the landscape is still beautiful.

Happy birthday, too!

Thank you!

No or unreliable internet would drive me nuts in the long term, but it was nice for a night. I actually didn't bother going online during the holiday except for an occasional check of Google Maps, which was very restful.