Having literally just crossed the country from Fort William to near Inverness, we now had to recross again and route up through Ullapool and catch up with our other friends at a campsite called Port A Bhaigh. The run was scenic and took us up the side of Loch Glascarnough, a fast and easy run but the most striking thing was the changes in scenery as we approach Ullapool.
Ullapool itself is a pretty little harbour town with a Tescos (luxurious food choices and porcelain toilets!), plus a wood fired pizza truck next door to a Chinese takeaway! As you approach, you start to see NC50- signs as you touch into the route. After filling every cupboard with food and Jack Daniels, we continued north, pausing to stop for a cuppa at Ardmair beach, a very pretty pebble beach with a campsite if you chose to stop.
The next stage of the trip really was a taste of why we had come to this part of Scotland. Turning off the A835, we started on the first of many single track roads, which pitched up and around the most glorious scenery of lochs and hills. We were lucky to be blessed by stunning weather which made the place even more breathtaking.
Rules for single track roads:
1. Always give way to oncoming traffic if you are nearest a passing point on your side of the road. They are clearly marked
2. Do not dive across the road into passing point and be prepared to reverse back to one if you’ve just passed it.
3. Do not park in passing points! This is a cardinal sin!
4. When you stop in a passing point, flash your headlights or indicate that you’ve stopped and you are happy for the opposing traffic to come through.
5, Always acknowledge someone stopping with a friendly smile and wave.
As you approach Port A Bhaigh, you are greeted with a beautiful view across the bay, with little islands dotted around. The bay is sheltered, relatively shallow and therefore great for kayaks etc. The campsite itself goes right to the water, with good facilities including a handy site shop that sells everything from groceries to camping essentials. And of course there’s a pub that does takeaway food food! Midgie levels weren’t bad, but I’d suggest Smidging up in the evening.
The next morning we said goodbye to Taff & Justine and continued north, with Simon, Shelly and Winston (their gorgeous chocolate labrador), as Simon had this route he was itching to try but which might be too tricky for anything bigger than a small camper (or converted Land Rover ambulance in their case). The road was indeed tight and twisty and it became clear that the glorious weather of yesterday was behind us. We did however find a lovely lunch spot in Lochinver (Delilah’s) where we stopped for longer than the coffee we planned as the food looked and smelt fantastic!
Finally we arrived at our overnight destination – Stoer Head lighthouse. Literally miles from anywhere up a bumpy, narrow track. Here we parked up, careful to present our rear to the prevailing wind, close enough to each other to minimise the time we might spend exposed to the elements and also close enough to afford shouted conversations through the van windows. Tonight, we treated the gang to Fiona’s pizza cooked to order on the Cobb and in return, they opened up their van and gin stocks to us! And did it blow….. my word it was exposed, unforgiving and windy. But then, I guess that’s why there’s a lighthouse there.
The next day, with their adventure time over, Simon, Shelly and Winston would start heading for home and we would continue north seeking waterfalls and castles. But that’s for the next instalment.