Ted spent the night on the passenger seat, still eschewing his lovely new bed.
When we woke at Borgie Glen, the midgies were just as abundant and hungry as they had been the night before. We cancelled our plan to do the Blue trail. The next overnight stop being only 23 miles away, we needed to work out how to keep ourselves occupied for the day. We planned to visit Rosal but that was not going to fill a whole day and camp sites do not like customers arriving early. We decided to revisit Farr Bay, where we had stayed on our first night of last year’s trip. We therefore began our first day in Scotland travelling backwards for a while.
Farr Bay is of course worth a little backtracking.
It was a glorious, though windy, morning and we were able to play with Nell, take photos and visit the Bumblebee reserve before rejoining our planned route to the camp site at Grummore, on the shore of Loch Naver. We then reconnected with our original plan and stopped for a walk at Rosal Forest to explore the old settlement relics of the Clearance.
We were stymied at first by finding the trail blocked by fallen trees. It was to be a recurrent theme of this holiday – so many places had suffered storm damage last winter. After a couple of false starts we re-consulted the map on the info board and went to look for the far end of the trail. We found it and oddly that end was signed as closed due to storm damage – though access had actually been cleared.
Rosal disappointed me. It was not as atmospheric as I had expected nor was there any sense of connection with the past and the people there. It was just a lot of signs and a lot of stones. Perhaps I was disaffected by the earlier struggles and the annoyance at the lack of maps, waymarks and appropriate other signage. I seemed to spend most of my time in the trees, trying to capture bark textures with my camera.
I felt better after our picnic lunch however. The table in the car park proved to be a good picnic spot. We investigated the site and noted it as suitable for overnight use in the future, then set off for Grummore.
We approached Grummore with apprehension. The Altnaharra Camp Site was to be our first-ever formal site experience and we did not know quite what to expect. Of course we had investigated it beforehand, used Google Earth to look at the aerial view and Streetview to drive by, and the forum buzz was good – people liked the site and its quiet wildness. We knew that it had electric hookup and water and waste disposal, we also knew that there were no other facilities – not even a toilet/wash block.
The site was pretty much full when we arrived and this surprised us greatly as we expected this late in the season to be a quiet period. Not so – Scotland was full of motor homes! Mr L kept remarking on the fact that Brunhilde was considerably older than all the other vans, which was discourteous of him, I think. He also kept on gleefully remarking that he was the only motorhome driver without white hair and must be the youngest person on site. Again, discourteous, thinks the white-haired wife!
The warden was pleasant, friendly and leaning towards informality. Wardens have a bad rep as awkward jobsworths – this chap was clearly not one of those. We had arrived earlier than indicated on our booking but he was not cross with us.
Grummore was probably the best site for us to begin with, being small rugged and informal it was not overwhelming in any way. The weather could have been a little better in order for us to enjoy the site more but it was not too bad either. The high wind certainly kept the midgies at bay. Rain in the night had stopped by the time that we were up and about, to find still no midges – bliss!
The Holiday, Part 3 is here, Part 4 is coming soon.