When we left home, we did so with no itinerary or end date, but we had agreed to meet friends up around Ullapool, so set off in that general direction. I say general direction, because the simplest way to get to Ullapool is via the opposite side of the country, Inverness! Google it, it’s true!
So not wishing to haul our butts up country for many hours (5hr 29mins – my ass! Its a 30 year old bus with the aerodynamics of a house, not a modern car!), we decided to take a more leisurely run up the side of bonny Loch Lomond. Of course it rained a lot, but we rolled into Tyndrum to hear of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. A memorable day for everyone, doubly so as it was also my birthday.
With this in mind (the birthday, not the other thing), we decided to stay on a campsite and have a meal out and found Tyndrum to be thriving as a hub for travellers and adventurers of all nationalities following the West Highland Way.
We stayed in the Tyndrum Holiday Park for showers and laundry (not recommended – too noisy from traffic on A82 all night), but ate in the Real Food Company (highly recommended with great food, great staff and beer!)
You can easily join the West Highland Way at the back of the site, so great dog walking opportunities. Or you can pan for gold here……. Really.
The next morning we headed out through Glencoe and up through Spean Bridge and Fort Augustus, to meet our first chums in Black Water Falls. We didn’t stop in Glencoe having been many times before and to be honest, it’s overrun with tourists, coach loads of them. But our route took in Loch Linnie, Loch Lochy (yes, really) and of course Loch Ness.
There are lots of lovely sights along this route, beautiful waterways, cute little towns and plenty of walks along the Lochs. There is also the Commando Memorial, remembering the Commandos of WW2 who used Spean Bridge for much of their training. Don’t forget the midgies live here too and they are waiting…..
For those that don’t know, midgies (noseeums in American parlance) are the repayment for the beauty of Scotland, no pain, no gain! Tiny annoying bitey little bastards, in huge swarms! Mainly found in damp wooded areas (worst in West and Mid Scotland), their only nemesis is the wind or chemicals! Our favourites include:
1. Avon Skin So Soft – not intended as an anti-midgie cream, but works well without making your skin nasty
2. Smidge – proprietary product designed to keep the little gits away
3. Head nets – for you, for your dog and cover all skin up
4. Thermacell – chemical technology. Will be reviewed soon.
We eventually arrived at Black Water Falls, formerly a crossing point for cattle herders, though God knows how. The falls themselves are fairly impressive, fast flowing and more of a cascade than falls, but and you can walk along the banks for several miles on well defined paths. The old stone bridge remains and is quite impressive in itself.
If like us you like a free camp spot, there’s a well signposted car park with free toilets which stay open all night and bins.
Please don’t dump chemical waste here though or they will soon start locking them, something we’ve seen a lot of. Leave no trace!
And of course, there’s a few midgies, as you are secluded and surrounded by trees – don’t be put off though, it’s worth a stop.
Next we headed on to Ullapool.