Will this never end?
The story so far:
Forest #10 afforded us some very pleasant walking and we added in some off-piste work to the riverside trail. We did see several salmon leaping in the pools but none were actually working up the ladder.
Rogie Falls was a very busy site and the day was becoming very hot. We were not parked in shade, so we decided to remove Brunhilde’s bulky presence and seek out a quieter spot for lunch – which we found in Forest #11 by the side of Loch Achility, where a large family of ducks joined in our picnic.
It was very pleasant in that peaceful spot, to lunch at leisure and contemplate the silence – punctuated only by the squawking protest of ducks and occasional bark of a deer (at remarkably close hand but completely invisible.)
Achilty has gone down on our “places to stop” list for future reference. NB stale bread buns needed
We did need to move on however
The Certified Location (5 vans) site at the Brahan Estate gave our GPS some trouble but we did eventually find the correct road in. The Estate Office staff were informal and friendly but efficient. We were directed to the site, which is nothing more than the verge to a tree-lined drive. The drive runs down eventually to the river and anglers pass by frequently in their 4 by 4’s. There is arboretum close at hand and a dog cemetery and various other low key points of interest. Basic amenities only (water, waste, chemical disposal) and those are at a distance from the pitch, up by the Estate office. It’s a nice site and the next best thing to wild. I don’t know if the phone box works but there was also a Royal Mail collection box at hand.
We pitched on the lower end of the drive under the oak trees, with a handful of other vans higher up, alongside a harvested field that was full of young pheasants.
There was some indication of recent radical tree surgery!
We walked back up to the office to check the location of the water and waste points and then explored the Arboretum or, as named at Brahan, The Wild Gardens before our evening meal.
Although the weather had by now clouded over, it stayed dry long enough for us to light a disposable barbecue and to eat our supper al fresco. We sat between the van and the ha-ha, looking out over the barley field and watching the anxious juvenile pheasants – who needed to pass by our pitch in order to reach the wood where the feeders are.
The rain developed in the night and was heavy at times. A big drip from the overhead branches kept striking the shower cubicle skylight, the noise reverberating and amplifying to a level that kept waking us up.
And so Thursday morning dawned and it was time to travel up to Scrabster for the ferry. We were keen to maintain the holiday for as long as we could so had planned in some time on the beach at Dornoch and then to leave the A9 at Helmsdale, taking the scenic route to Thurso and stopping for lunch along the way. We hoped to call in at RSPB Forsinard if we had sufficient time, but with roadworks on our way we had no idea how long delays might be.
In the event, we had just the one hold-up and that came after Forsinard. We had timed our journey well and despite the delay we had 45 minutes in hand to brew up afternoon coffee at Sandside Bay before going for the ferry.
We pulled off the road not long after Helmsdale and made a picnic lunch to eat by the river.
Forsinard was fun. Nell kept falling from the edge of the boardwalk into the stinky bog. She appeared to have no care about this – whereas I had some concerns for my bedding back in the van…
Nell would not go up the observation tower, so Mr L stayed with her and I took the photos from above.
I really like the tower and the way that it sits upon the landscape.
When we arrived at Scrabster we were disappointed to find the Chippy to be closed for expansion development – supper turned out to be a panini on the boat. Not a good panini either. We wuz robbed. Maybe on our next trip… the owners said that work would be ongoing for three weeks before they reopen the chippy, with seating to eat your supper indoors.
Last part coming up soon