I need to get a move on with this blogging of our trip as the next one is already in the planning stage. Leave has been booked, and dates set. Eep!
Cursory notes and amalgamations of the days are need now, I think. Part 5 terminated with a glorious sunset at Poolewe, where Brunhilde was ensconced on the club site.
We readied ourselves to move off but before we did we walked along the road a few metres to the village hall, where the weekly Tuesday Market was about to open. What a joy that was. There was so much that I should have liked to purchase but we settled for some fresh strawberries and a couple of cakes for coffee time later. The fresh scallops and langoustines were left to languish, the foraged wild rocket salad with nasturtium flowers remained to linger for another buyer and the beautiful handmade wooden chair was beyond our means. Next time we shall be prepared. Next time we will have cash about us and next time we shall leave the Tesco produce where it is in Ullapool and save our fridge space for something better. A sit was we had no room to add anything to our stores.
The day was due to terminate at one of the visitor information sites in the Beinn Eighhe NNR – we had only 23 miles to go and were ahead of schedule due to the planned woodland walk having been done yesterday afternoon. We decided that a stop at Gairloch would be in order.
We parked by the museum and walked along the front to find the Market Square. The heavy mist turned into heavy rain as we walked and it was backed by a bitter wind. I was pleased not to have brought the Canon out but was cross later when I found that the wee Nikon had suffered its focusing bug and half of my photos were useless. We liked Gairloch, despite the rain, and want to go back in better weather some time.
We found the village shop, which was a wee marvel and even had bread baked “in-store” and, joy-of-joys, furnished us with a pot of fresh cream for the strawberries that we had purchased at Poolewe’s Tuesday market. We also treated ourselves to a large pot of Organic yoghurt with ginger (it was delicious).The rain had stopped by the time that we emerged from the shop and so our return stroll was more leisurely. As we approached the car park we noticed the second and larger branch of McColl’s, a few yards up the street, which we had failed to notice when we set off. Ah well, at least we explored this idiosyncratic little village and delighted in its oddities. It was a little like Hebden-by-the-sea, if you know what I mean.
A car park out of town by the golf course provided a wooded path and a beach for Nell. Still with much time on our hands we consulted the map for somewhere else to stop and we nominated Victoria Falls, where we found a short circular path, newly-built or freshly-maintained, that led to a falls viewpoint and also to a higher viewpoint looking out over Loch Maree.
Our overnight stop was at the Coille na Glas Letire Trails car park, where it was raining when we arrived.
The midge level was low-to-irritating when we arrived but as we climbed the Woodland Trail they became intolerable. Their increase was probably due to the rain having ceased. Poor Mr L was inhaling midgies and choking on them. It would have been an enjoyable walk under other circumstances, and with some fine views, but the midgies made it a miserable affair. We ruled out any prospect of doing the mountain trail the following day due to the need to face the midges again.
We had company overnight, three vans in total and the one next to us had waaaaay too much bass going on. So much for the peace of wild camping.
Our next day involved 38 miles travel. We were ending our day at The Brahan Estate, the point at which the holiday really ended though we did (as you will see) our best to keep the mood going both before we reached the camp site and for the next two days as well.
Despite the midges being fierce and abundant I did sneak out to try some shots of Loch Maree with the early morning sun playing on the landcsape. Not wholly sucessfully, I might say, and at the cost of several bites.
We began the day at the Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre, which was not yet open.
It is not often that we are the early birds! So we tackled the Buzzard Path, where the Midge Quotient was several magnitudes less than yesterday. The trail offers a short climb to a little ridge walk with magnificent views and it was thoroughly enjoyable on such a beautiful morning. I was very pleased to have the Canon with me – though, as ever, my battles with the polarising filter limited the number of good frames shot. After the walk we visited the Visitor Centre exhibition here I particularly enjoyed sitting in front of the huge plate glass window and watching the woodland birds on their feeder. It was another example of a visitor centre very well done.
It probably is not strictly speaking a separate forest but we’ll call it our ninth anyway.
We pulled up in a lay-by on our way to the Brahan Estate, where we planned to stay the night, to admire the gorgeous view at Loch a’ Chroisg.
then carried on to Rogie Falls and Salmon Ladder – of which, more later.
Part 7 comes next