Wednesday 3 June 2015

Rogue Runners day 4, Sligachan to Ullapool

Applecross Pass
For me the best day of the trip. It was still raining on Sky when we breakfasted, so the crew decided to forego the extended blatt (to the North Coast) & instead do a tour of Skye before heading off to Ullapool. I think it was about this time that the subject of Paul’s Pants came up, it seems he’d been so excited at the prospect of seven days blatting that his entire stock of underwear was what he stood up in. Now for any of the rest of us this wouldn’t have been a problem (right side-right way round, inside out right way round, right side back to f
View from Applecross Pass
ront etc) but the traditional male approach wasn’t going to work on this occasion, because Paul had his wife with him & a more ……… socially responsible, not to say genteel solution was required. So every day we were regaled with stories of washing the sole pair in the sink & drying them with the hair drier / towel / hanging them out of the window. We of course took this problem very seriously & sympathised (not).

As Above
For me the early Skye tour wasn’t an option as I had set my heart on seeing all four coasts, so as soon as I was ready I set off.  The view from the top of the Skye bridge as you leave the island is still stunning even in drizzle as rank upon rank of islets & cove recede into the murk, but back on the mainland, slowly slowly the drizzle stopped & the cloud lifted until by the time I’d reached the top of the Applecross pass (another ambition ticked off) the cloud was just above the road (2,200ft according to the satnav) so the roof came off.

And Again
The scenery was breath-taking & the driving slow but very technical with the road constantly changing direction & gradient. This part of the journey took much longer than I’d hoped because I had to keep stopping for photos, fortunately the Satnav had over-estimated the time I’d need & the ETA at the end of the route was counting down nicely.But it was around Lunchtime when I passed our hotel for that night in through Ullapool with the satnav saying 160 miles remaining until I got back to Ullapool.

On the road to Durness
The road to Durness on the north coast was simply sublime, bright sunshine, next-to-no traffic & stunning scenery. Again I was delayed by photography as every twist & turn of the road bought forth another stunning vista (is this arty enough for you?) & the road was wide & smooth & sweeping & fast. I stopped for a photo opportunity when I saw a road sign I’m never likely to see the like of again, it said “beach & burial ground”, sure enough there was a fantastic white sandy beach – with a grave yard just above the high water mark.

Beach with ensuite graveyard
Shortly after that I rested & took on coffee & a muffin at a cafĂ© with views over a sparkling turquoise bay, then moved on to Durness & Smoo Cave to see the north coast. It could have been Cornwall in mid-summer – except the place was virtually deserted. I would’ve liked to have stayed longer, but had to be back in Ullapool by tea time. I took the same route back & it was every bit as enjoyable.

Not a stray holiday snap, this is Scotland's north coast.
Ullapool was a nice town (a drop of sunshine does wonders) but the restaurants were heaving & we had to drink the local ale while waiting for a table (this was a good thing). But the food was excellent, & we strolled back to the Guest house full & satisfied.
It was only when I got into my room that I looked in the mirror & realised I had a very sunburned face. I’d thought to bring anti-mosquito measures, but not sun block!

Oh an of course my second & third coasts safely in the bag (camera bag that is)

That's quite a lot of brake pad spread round that wheel

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