Monday, 24 August 2009

Beautiful Knoydart

I’m back! The man and me escaped for several days to Scotland for our summer vacation. There were no guarantees or promises of glorious sunshine heading north so I didn’t feel it necessary to pack copious amounts of sunscreen with the usual holiday gear. Although there were only two of us, we managed to jam pack the car with the essential fair-weather clothes, walking boots, fishing rod, camera, a laptop (a well intentioned plan that I would be inspired to write lots!) and enough food and drink to start us off in our self catering accommodation for the next few days.

Despite initial showers of soft rain (not the usual biting your face type of rain!), we enjoyed the first couple of days travelling through the awesome Glen Coe and surrounding areas. We Celts aren’t deterred by a few showers. As a result of the heavy rain, the mountain waterfalls were quite spectacular and we were often rewarded with a beautiful rainbow when the rain stopped. Our accommodation turned out to be rather disappointing so we moved on after a couple of days with a plan to follow the sun and that took us to several beautiful areas - Strontian, Glenuig, Morar, Mallaig and eventually northwards to the delightful Dornoch. The sun shone and the accommodation improved greatly. From west coast to east coast … there was no stopping us now.

A stopover in Mallaig provided us with a great opportunity to take a boat trip to the Knoydart estate, now managed by the Knoydart Foundation. A special mention should be made of a welcoming boatman with great patter … he certainly gets my vote for best customer service … friendly, helpful and entertaining too! I recommend including this boat trip to your ‘must do’ list. You’ll enjoy the activity of curious seals, the amazing scenery as the boat sails into the area that harbours (literally) ‘mainland Britain’s remotest pub’! Probably a long way to go for a beer, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy the trip there and back. Good food, friendly folk and several musical instruments available to play if you’ve forgotten to bring your own! Of course, if you’re better organised than us, you can actually stay in the area for several days. There is a great sense of having escaped ‘far from the madding crowd’.

Overall, a very relaxing holiday and yes the sun did come out, and the walking boots, and the camera and the fishing rod. The laptop … well it travelled all the way to Scotland and back … unopened. Creative writing moments were captured in that good old fashioned way – a notepad and pen!

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