It briefly looked like we were going to have an Indian summer after a very drab June / July / August. So I grabbed the camera and headed off to Wester Ross in the hope of getting some good scenic shots for updating some of the web pages.
One of my favourite viewpoints in all of Scotland is from the Ratagan Pass looking towards Kintail. I remember one marvellous morning in 1999 when I was staying in nearby Morvich, but couldn't sleep due to a sore throat. I got up at 5am to get a drink and then saw that a wonderful sunrise was creeping over the "Five Sisters of Kintail". That's a range of mountains by the way, just in case you thought I'd been to some wild Highland orgy.
Since it was such a perfect still day, I decided to walk to the Ratagan Pass to enjoy the early morning solitude and to watch the sunlight creep down the sides of the mountains. It took about 2 hours to do that walk, but it remains one of my best experiences.
Unfortunately, last week the weather wasn't up to the standards of the Summer of '99 so no good photos from the Ratagan Pass. Having gone so far I decided to continue across the Pass and down into Glenelg where there used to be an excellent Candle shop and cafe. Sadly the candle shop burnt down 2 years ago. When you live in a remote spot like Glenelg you can't expect Fire Engines to arrive quickly!
Glenelg is still worth going to as it is very near to the site of two of the best preserved brochs on the Scottish mainland. The Glenelg (Glen Beag) brochs are a very atmospheric place to visit and there is a timeless quality about their location. There is another broch a short walk after the end of the road that passes through Ratagan village. This broch on the south shore of Loch Duich is much less complete.
Since the weather was against me, I didn't take the drive round to the wee tearoom at Corran where the home-baking is not the only attraction. Recently the tearoom has had frequent visits from a magnificent Stag which has been christened "Osama bin Laden" by the locals. I've never asked why!?
15th August 2007 -
We seem to be falling behind with keeping our diary up to date. Intensive travelling in the far North of Scotland and a sudden influx of requests for Customised Tours has kept us busy and pushed the diary to the bottom of the "Things To Do" list.
Our travels to the North East corner of Scotland were mainly for visits to some new B&Bs for consideration in our accommodation guides.
It is a long drive to Thurso from Ayr so we were delighted that 4 of the 5 B&B's that we visited were up to the Secret Scotland standard and will be featuring in our Caithness Accommodation guide.
After travelling so far North we had to make the "pilgrimage" to John o'Groats, but every time I go there I'm puzzled why so many people bother to go so far for so little. There is a great beach nearby at Dunnet Bay so why bother visiting one of the most Northerly car parks in Scotland? You can tell that I'm not impressed.
Much better than John o'Groats is the stretch of road from Thurso to Durness. Loch Eriboll and the Kyle of Tongue are particularly scenic spots, but the beauty of this coastline resides in the number of small beaches that can be suddenly transformed into a Carribean scene by a burst of sunshine.
A great find on this tour was Mackays Hotel in Durness. You just don't expect so much style in such a small village of one of Scotland's most isolated corners.