We had planned to stay at Rosehall for the morning and to walk further trails but my legs had their say on the matter plus the midgies were active and so we decided to drive on instead. We had 48 miles planned today, taking in a visit to Ullapool and doing some food shopping there before doing a test of the local Fish and Chips. The Seaforth Chippy had a great reputation some years ago but recent indications suggested that they no longer deliver at the same level. I had seen several reports that the adjacent Deli-ca-Sea was to be preferred. Checking their web site before we left home, they would be open from midday until 9pm, giving us plenty of flexibility.
We set off to the West with some spectacular scenery in front of us. I really must teach Mr L that “Oh, look at that wonderful view!” indicates a desire to stop and to take photographs. Disappointingly such exclamations were met with nothing more than a grunt of agreement and a continuation of travel.
The Knockan Crag visitor centre in the Northwest Highlands Geo Park, is another place where motorhomes are not welcomed, except that they go about it in a far more civilised manner than most. There are signs in the toilets asking that chemical waste not be disposed of there, which is entirely reasonable. A discreet sign on the noticeboard draws attention to the location of a couple of camp sites and asks motorhome owners to support local business. We would consider stopping overnight there but only out of season and also only if we could be up and gone before this very busy centre attracts its first visitors of the day. It is not for us a matter of saving money, more one of wanting to be alone and with an unrestricted enjoyment of the scenery – so the exhortation to support local business is not going to appeal to our sense of fair play. The local business will have our support in other ways: shopping, eating out, donations at visitor centres etc. We’ll stay on a site when we have no other choice or when we have a need of its basic facilities.
Yes, we may be snobbish, stand-offish, elitist and all the rest of it but we cannot help the feeling that we want to be looking at this and listening to the sounds of wildlife
rather than be cheek by jowl with total strangers and being forced to listen to their noise pollution from their TV set… or worse. Nor do we want to be paying for facilities that we neither want nor need and will not be using. Let’s keep it simple and civilised.
We met some very nice amateur geologists from Durham at Knockan Crag who instantly formed the new chapter of the Teddy Appreciation Society. Nell got quite some attention too, while I tried my hand at landscape shots using a long lens and narrow angle of view. Mostly disastrously, it has to be said. I wish that I could understand why, with TTL metering, shots taken with a polariser come out so very under-exposed.
We continued our journey South and West, to Ullapool. Ullapool disappointed us – we had expected more charm, more warmth, more interest and less grubbiness. We had expected to be seduced in fact to the extent of considering upping sticks. I don’t know why, it was just a feeling we have always had that Ullapool would be a lovely place to live.
No, thank you. Not in this lifetime.
It was a bit grim, with nothing to do, not much to look at, and far too many coaches.
We found the famed fish and chips to be quite underwhelming too. Deli-Ca-Sea, contrary to its website information, was closed. We went to the Seaforth Chippy. Nell did well out of it. What else can I say? They were fair enough but a long way short of their reputation. The Haddock (no Cod) fillet was so skinny that it never stood a chance of survival and it was dry and over-cooked. The batter had an off flavour, as though the frying medium was in need of a good clean. The golden chips were plentiful, hot and crispy but sadly spoiled by the application of the Non-brewed Condiment. Why is that stuff not banned? It is vile.
However, we did get in some food supplies at Tesco and also stopped for a coffee and warm bread pudding in an odd but sweet little shop on the front street. Tea by the Sea has had a recommendation in The Guardian, so it must be good, eh? The bread pud came with whipped cream and I rather enjoyed it. Not the best I have ever had (nor so good as my own, I believe) but was fresh from the oven and still warm and offered all the calories I needed to keep the chill wind at bay.
Our planned stop for the night was at Corrieshalloch Gorge, where the midges were so appallingly bad that we were driven back from our walk and lost one from our “forest” count. Really, the midges were in fact so bad that I could not even pause to get my camera out to photographs the falls. Yes. That bad.
Between the high midge quotient and the presence of three other mobile homes, we elected to drive on and see where else we might stop overnight, ending up in a large lay-by/viewpoint just a little further along the A832 – where the Midge Quotient was moderate/almost tolerable but the view was stupendous and more than made up for any bites.
We had the place to ourselves, the midge problem was less and we were even greeted by a rainbow. Such a difference, for only a few metres travel!
We drew the partition again to keep Teddy from our bed but in the middle of the night he began to scrabble and woke us up with his frantic attempts to reach us. Mr L gave up and let the cat in. It was The Beginning of The End.
Part 5 should arrive next