Tuesday, 20 September 2011


So, lets just say we had a little rain on our holiday.  We had one sunny day, which we made the most of.
Big and Little C on the bike around the coast road
Here's how the week went:
Little C "washing up"at the front of the hut.
Saturday - we took a while to get started on our trip.  I bought the wrong size bottle of butane for the regulator we had, so we stopped at several shops in Perth (ironmongers, hardware stores, DIY chains, country stores) looking for a regulator for Calorgas butane 7kg bottles, but no success.  We gave up and had lunch.  Driving further north we tried again in a very busy Pitlochry, where I was again directed to try somewhere else.  This direction though was a worthwhile one, to my delight we found the required regulator at Faskally Caravan Park's shop.  We were once more cooking on gas (literally - we could now cook for the week!)  We continued on our drive, and everything was going smoothly, if a little wet and splashy, until we had a flat, and poor Big C had to take the bikes off the back to get the spare wheel, climb into the roofbox to get the jack, and change a wheel in absolutely torrential rain.  Eventually we made it to the campsite and made ourselves comfortable in our hut.
our sleeping area at the back of the hut, with washing line above
Sunday - It turns out that the Camping Huts are quite brilliant.  They are well insulated, so as well as being warm, they mean that sounds from outside don't carry in to disturb sleeping children, and sounds from inside (children not sleeping) don't carry to the rest of the campsite.  Very different from a tent in that respect.  Today we went to the beautiful Sands, where Monty Hall had his "great escape".  It was as stunning as we remembered, and we had a wonderful bracing walk and play in the rain.  Later we also went for a walk in Applecross itself, allowing both children to get some much needed sleep.
Little C tries heading the ball
Monday - We headed to lovely Lochcarron, where there's a garage to fix the tyre, had lunch there at the Waterside cafe.  Then we headed across to Broadford on Skye, where we visited the Skye Serpentarium.  Little C wasn't much bothered with the snakes, as they mostly just lay there doing nothing.  He was a bit more interested in the lizards, especially a couple of more active ones.  Big C held a snake, which Little C did rather warily stroke.  I kept hold of Little Sister - if she had got hold of the snake I think she would have eaten it, that's what her appetite seems to be like at the moment!
a cloudy day at Applecross
Tuesday - So, still raining today.  We haven't had the crazy gales that were predicted, but we are still having a lot of rain.  We headed to Sands again, but decided that it was just too wet and, more to the point, windy, to get down on to the beach, so instead went to the cave not far from the car-park.  This is an amazing cave, not because of depth, decoration or aesthetic reasons, but because artefacts have been discovered here from as far back as 7500BC.  Next we drove around the coast road to Sheildaig, across into Torridon, stopping at the Whistlestop Cafe in Kinlochewe for lunch, and then to Red Point at the south end of Gairloch.  The beach here is just stunning.  Beautiful red sand with literally nobody there.  Little C and I played in the sand (and torrential rain) while Big C walked around with Little Sister, trying to protect her from the worst of the rain and wind.  It was fabulous.  We ended the day with fish and chips in Gairloch and the drive back to Applecross.
Little C and Daddy (and dog) looking for shells and seaweed at Applecross
Wednesday - We spent the morning pottering around the campsite.  Today was more "cloud and showers" so we were able to get a few things dry.  We went to the Walled garden in Applecross for lunch.  This place is something really special.  Firstly there's the Victorian walled garden which they are in the process of restoring, even on a rainy day it was full of charm and atmosphere, and the walls create shelter and warmth allowing many more plants to flourish than can be found anywhere else locally.  Then there is the Potting Shed cafe, where they sell locally made gifts, and delicious food.  I will definitely recommend this place and will be visiting again.  I can't believe I've missed it on previous visits to Applecross.
Little sister snuggles mummy in a gap in the rain
Thursday - Oh yes, we finally got a day of sunshine, and with scenery like this it was a cracker.  We drove around Applecross Bay to the headland, and then rode the bikes along the road to Sand.  We couldn't cycle the whole way from the campsite as it would be too far for The Waggy-tailed-one to run alongside us.  At Sand we found a spot at the top of the beach where we parked the bikes, collected shells, dropped my camera (sob, sob, it's not working any more...), snacked and just enjoyed being out on the beach in the sunshine.  Little C and Big C took the Waggy-tailed-one down to the sea.  Who ended up the wettest - the dog who was swimming?  Little C who was paddling?  I think it's a close run thing actually.  Little C came back up the beach in only his nappy and vest, all the other clothes and his wellies were soaked.  We cycled back to the Landrover, then drove around to the campsite for changes of clothes before driving back over the Bealach na Ba (highest road pass in the UK, with lots of switchbacks and a stunning view over Skye) to Kishorn, where we had dinner at the Seafood Bar.  I was very impressed with the Seafood Bar.  Firstly, how can you go to the coast and not have some of the local seafood?  Secondly the staff were extremely friendly and welcoming.  Thirdly, the food was very tasty.  Having small children, we were quite early for dinner, so it was still the lunchtime/snack menu.  I had a plate full of mussels, and Big C had hand-dived scallops.  Yum yum.  After that we headed down a side road to explore a little, and found one of the most beautiful places in the world (this is a stiff competition which parts of the west coast of Scotland keep winning).  Sadly I can't include pics of my own of Strome and Strome Castle in particular, as my camera is broken, so you'll have to take my word for it.  You could type them into a search engine if you like, but believe me photographs just don't do justice to the beauty and tranquility of this place at sunset on a beautiful sunny September day.
she doesn't look that impressed at this point does she?
Friday - We packed up our belongings into the Landrover and said goodbye to the hut and the camp-site, heading for Skye again across the bridge.  We had promised Little C a trip on a little ferry.  We drove down to Kylerhea and got the little (4 cars on a little turntable) ferry across to Glenelg and the Glenelg peninsula.  On the peninsula we drove South to the walk down to Sandaig, made famous by being Camusfearna, the setting of Gavin Maxwell's "Ring of Bright Water".  Yet another beautiful spot and paddling in the water before the long drive home.
I think she's watching the dog.  The hood helps the helmet stay on.
Well done for getting this far.  Hopefully you'll have spotted that the rain did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for this beautiful part of Scotland, or for my holiday.  The combination of camping, scenery, being outdoors in the fresh air, and uninterrupted, un-busy time with the family has served to refresh and re-invigorate me.  I feel as though all is right with the world.  As though everything has got into it's proper place in my brain.  As though my soul has been replenished.  As though everything has returned to its proper perspective.  Isn't that what a holiday is all about?  I know, too, that the trip had the same effect on Big C.  And despite Little C being delighted to be back home with his own bed and all his toys, he continually talks about the holiday, the hut and the beaches, so I'm pretty sure he enjoyed it too (we mostly seem to go to the beach on rainy days, so I don't think he knows any different!).  Little Sister is smiling as much as ever too, and the damp weather certainly hasn't dampened her spirits.  Waggy-tailed-one got lots of walks and bounces on beaches, so she's happy too.
The beach at Sand

No comments:

Post a Comment