It's Sunday evening, and I think I made the mistake of underestimating just how
big Scotland is, because I've just spent twelve hours on the road. OK, not
twelve hours non stop, but it was over twelve hours since I left Loch Ness
hostel and I've just arrived at Ratagan hostel, near Kyle of Lochalsh.
It's been an interesting day; fantastic scenery and fantastic driving as usual,
it's just too much to take in, really. I've got some photographs, but not a
huge number; it's absolutely breathtaking, but some of the panoramas are just
so massive that it would be impossible to capture them accurately on film
So I went up to John O'Groats and Duncansby Head, then on to Dunnet Head.
However, on the way to Dunnet Head I had a slight mishap trying to avoid an
oncoming camper-van, and ended up with my left front wheel in a ditch and was
somewhat at my wit's end in the middle of nowhere. But then some passing
motorists told me there were a few houses over the crest of the hill, so I went
over there and found a very friendly couple there who gave me a tow out, and
also washed my car down afterwards, because it was a bit mud-spattered from my
attempts to get out.
But what was especially good about that was that the lady there was asking
where I was going and so on all very interestedly, and I mentioned the fact
that I was trying to find my great aunt up at Reay. She immediately guessed
where she must live, because I said she was in a nursing home now, and she drew
me a little map to get there, and I'm quite sure if she hadn't done that I'd
never have got there.
And so I went to see my great aunt, who I'd never ever met in my whole life.
She was delighted to see me when she worked out who I was. She's getting a
little bit forgetful and so on - she's getting on quite a bit - but she was
overjoyed to see me, very well chuffed, and we spent maybe a couple of hours -
I'm not sure! - just talking, looking at photographs and so on - just a really
nice time making up for lost time. I met her dog Laura - that was the reason
she went to that home, because she'd be allowed to have her dog there; not many
allow that, even though they are known to be therapeutic...
And then, I took a very very very long drive across the north coast, cutting
across Cape Wrath, which was rather spectacular, and down the west coast.
Filld up with petrol at Ullapool; probably the most expensive petrol I've
bought in a long time at 89.9 pence a litre, but needs must... And eventually,
driving through the dark, arrived down here very shortly after nine. I was
hoping I might make it before nine, but I didn't in the end, but never mind.
Some of those A-roads, you wouldn't believe they were A-roads - seems if they
have more than two digits, then they're pretty rough going and pretty narrow,
but good fun driving nevertheless. But anyway, I'm tired and extremely hungry,
so I'm going to go and investigate the members' kitchen...