Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Where Are The Friendly Folks?




Sat 14th

I am rudely woken at 0615 by a high pitched scream and wonder what the hell it is. I throw some clothes on and investigate. I figure it must be the gas shed as the noisiest area is by the table. I go outside and am immediately hit by a battalion of midges armed with sharp wee teeth all shouting ‘Fresh meat lads!’. I open the shed door, hauling the gas bottle out and turning it off. I go back in, smeer Avon skin so soft dry oil all over me and go back out. This time I have lit a huge citronella candle as well and place it by the door. Avon comes good, as does the candle eventually. I then check the electric meter by the door and it shows me that there is only 7 volts in the batteries. WHAT? Does not compute…! More scratching of head.

The noise abates and I have no idea what just happened. The manuals don’t mention it, I have checked the shed vent under the floor and that is clear. I am baffled. The only possibility is that the valve attachment may be at fault. I’ll have to get it checked when possible. God alone knows when that will be. The manual does say that the nut should only be done up by hand, but when I got it, it was way tighter and I had to buy a wrench to undo it, or rather get someone to crack it for me. I need a muscular genie who appears at times like this. Hmm, a muscular man who only appears when you need him and then disappears again to return later when required and never moans about it….. Must put that on my wish list!

Soon after I leave the view of Sky and go to Plockton. It is a tiny pretty village just over the hill from Skye and I stop there in a car park that has three other vans in. They have obviously been there overnight as one has a granny in her nighty stood at a window. I grind some beans and have coffee for breakfast for a change. I had a strange dream filled mercat night. I think it was actually too quiet and my weirdo head had too much space. By the time I have time to think about the dreams I had, I have forgotten them. I have a wander, but the locals don’t seem too friendly. I move on. I drive around Loch Carron and the sight is made of post card stuff. The water is mirror state and perfectly reflects the hills and buildings. I feel emotional again. Must get some quality sleep soon of I am going to be a snuffling mess. I try to stop at the golf club that states all welcome, but is has a height barrier. Clearly not all welcome! I drive into the village of the aptly named Lochcarron and the Spar shop is fabulously stocked so I get some scotch rolls at 22p each or four in a packet for 99p. I pick up four individuals and put them into a wee plastic bag and place them on the counter along with some fruit. Just down the road I spy the Kishorn Seafood Bar and fancy a stop for coffee. On entering it is full of my favourite things; queen scallops,

My plan is to visit Shieldaig and then Torridon. Deb described the rock formations there and I find myself in a most impressive valley with a landscape that looks like it rolled down the hillside in waves, almost like layers of chocolate icing drizzled slowly down the side of a bun. Then huge mounds lurch out of the ground and suddenly I am next to a large body of water with the most spectacular rock formation surrounding it. I stop to take a picture. Suddenly I’m hungry again. Perhaps it’s all the descriptions in my head about food that triggers it, or maybe I have not eaten enough lately. It was so sunny when I got up that I put my short long, long shorts on (3/4 length) and they were looser on me than the last time I wore them and I have to do my belt up a notch, so I know I have lost a few pounds.

I decide not to stop anywhere except for photos and after eating a Scotch roll with smoked salmon and soft goat cheese I drive on. Scotch rolls are so soft and yummy, topped with a light dusting of flour. Albert always went on about them and I know why. I pass Ben Eighe. It is weird and looks like someone has badly slopped cheap runny white icing over the top of it and let it go hard. Food, again? It’s quite out of character with the rest of the landscape, which has dull brown heather and green grasses, mixed in with the rocks of various colour greys. As I drive I can see most of the way round it and then suddenly I can see a sign for Gairloch and I motor on. Most of the road between Sheildaig and Torridon is single track as wide as the Hobby with passing places every 50 feet or so. It is slow and everyone has to be patient, though not everyone is polite like the notices implore. Now the road widens and I speed up, winding down the window. I notice the air here is warmer and stick my arm out of the window to feel it on my skin. I have met the Gulf Stream and even the heather cheers up and turns pink.

As I enter Gairloch I don’t know what to expect, am met by signs for boat trips and see the harbour. I park up and have a look around, trying to see signs that tell me ‘no parking’. I may try and park here tonight as I want to do a boat trip tomorrow morning. The ‘ti’ is not at all helpful, being run by the Saturday girl who can only tell me that the camp site charge about £15 and she cannot tell me anything else. OK. I drive up the hill to a look out and get my bino’s out. I desperately want to just stop for a couple of days and chill, but to be honest, cost aside, the thought of staying in a camp site fills me with dread. Other folks noise and ...ergh..kids…!! Not for me ,oh no.

I park up at the look out which has spectacular views across the loch and check out the bay for the minkey whale that is said to be out there and can hear the football match going down on a pitch in the village. Footballers are a noisy lot.

I cannot get a signal for internet even up here and so cannot look up the website that might help me. This end of the world is like Wales…empty and dead to techno. Great, if that’s what you want. I’m going to go back to the harbour and see what gives in a mo after I finish my cup of tea and chocolate, did I mention chocolate?

I end up on the harbour and am advised to park in the cafĂ© owner’s parking space as it’s the only bit that doesn’t have a sign ‘no overnight parking’ attached to a post. Perhaps as its just a bit of rough ground it’s been left out….’The lady in the whale watching boat tours hut told me to your honour’.

I decided that as it is Saturday night I would break the habit of what has become many years of dull Saturday nights in, from working weekends and go out. I get a shower and put on make up and nice clothes and don’t forget to spray all over with the Avon, do my hair and walk to the end of the harbour to the pub, where I noticed a band were advertised. I get in and order a half. As I finish drinking it I ask about the band and am told there isn’t one. I am beginning to believe there is a running theme to this trip. Sod it, I leave!

I try to remain upbeat, return to the Hobby and get my short long, long shorts back on, add walking boots and take Fin to the beach a mile away. He goes mad in the sand and makes me giggle, bless you Fin, my life would be so much less without you little mate.

It’s not even ten and I’m off to bed. I am going to leave here tomorrow. I am gutted as I had expected much more, friendly folk for a start. I am yet to meet them.

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