As mentioned in part 1 we had 4 main objects to meet on this holiday they were:
- Travel on Strathspey Railway (See part 1)
- See Dolphins
- See White Tailed Eagle
- Enjoy ourselves
We had hired a caravan at Coulmore Bay, North Kessock, Inverness from Val Beales Chalmers. We hired her smaller caravan before, but this 6 berth was a superb base for our touring around Sutherland etc.
Dolphins – The Moray Forth Dolphins are an established tourist attraction and attract large crowds. Most dolphin watchers head for Chanonry Point. During the high season there is restricted parking facilities. However we had arranged for a trip on the Gemini Explorer. a converted ex-lifeboat. This was a much better option for us. On our trip around the Firth we were lucky to see a super pod of 26 dolphins (several pods working together hunting fish). We were surrounded by the dolphins, who provided a natural exuberant display including bow riding. (Click on image left or here to see gallery)
Applecross Pass -Bealach na Ba : Bealach na Ba, meaning pass of the cattle, was used in earlier days to drive cattle from Applecross and surrounding settlements to other parts of the Highlands, it was not part of the historic Drove Routes. – Susan and Sid often suggested that I should drive the route. It now forms part of the North Coast 500 tourist route. It is not an easy drive and I considered the options. I wished to enjoy the sights and knew if I drove I would be too busy watching the road over the pass and miss the sights. The solution take a bus tour and let the bus driver do te driving and I could enjoy the sights with Susan. Highland Express Tours Inverness had such a tour which would take all day. Gary (our driver) really made the trip special along with the views as well 🙂 . (Click image on right or here to view gallery)
White Tailed Sea Eagle: Having declined to drive the route to Bealach na Ba I found myself driving part of the route as we headed for Island of Skye via the Skye Bridge. Our destination was Kylerhea and the Glenelg Ferry. I should have realised that the trip would not be a simple one or straight forward. We crossed the bridge and after about 1 mile we turned left off the main road heading down a single (with passing places) dirt track road with some ineradicable sights and heart stopping drops. Thanks fully it is not a busy route or else congestion would occur. It is also not a route for the faint of heart. We sat for 2 hours waiting and watching the sea eagle both of us feeling privileged to see such a magnificent bird. We opted to take the ferry across to Glen Elg and complete a circular tour back to our holiday caravan HQ. The drive up and down Glen Elg was worth doing on its own right. There are two view point where one can get photos of the “Five Sisters” of Kintail. As we made our way back to base we reflected on this trip which so happened to have completed three of our four objects. As for the fourth object I could tell that our 14 days in the heart of Scotland had re-invigorated my partner. Whilst her energy and stamina were still below par there was once again that zest for life. She once told me that it was the simple things that brought her great pleasure but it was the mountains of Scotland that fed her soul. We had many adventures (or trips out if you prefer) that helped to restore the zest. One was a simple walk from the centre of Inverness to North Kessock across the Kessock bridge. Outings to Dingwall, Glen Ord Distillery (need to be 18 0r over to visit web site)(purchased a 12 year old and 18 year old bottle of Glen Ord Singleton. Inverewe Gardens, Loch Maree, Rogie Falls, Plodda Falls Boat trips from Inverness and Gairloch Harbour. The longest trip was to Orkney which included a ferry crossing the longest non ferry trip was the Wester Ross Coastal Trail.
It has taken me a year to update this blog. There are many reason for the delay and hopefully now equilibrium has been achieved I’ll have time to catch up to this years adventures with my Partner Susan. As for the blog I have not finished with 2016 yet :). For those who took the time to read through this rambling blog my thanks for taking the time I hope you enjoyed it and followed the links to the albums. Even to a city bred boy the highlands and islands of Scotland cast a magical spell and bring peace to my soul.