Friday, October 23, 2009

On to Ullapool

As I was the only one who managed to get any sleep courtesy of a verrrrry loud snorer in the dorm (I’ll sleep through anything except being stared at apparently) it was my turn to drive. After a nice healthy breakfast and having stocked up on food for the day we started by exploring Smoo cave, an enormous cave with a waterfall inside it cut into the cliffs on the coast. I only wish the tours of the cave interior were still running but they are seasonal and had stopped a few weeks earlier. Still, we managed a pretty good exploration of what we could get to and had fun climbing up and down the cliffs to reach the cave so that was our exercise before another long day of driving.

Just outside of town came across a whole flock of adorable sheep (I swear Scottish sheep look like overgrown bunnies!) being herded across the road so had to slow to a crawl for 10 minutes to avoid squishing any of them…and because everyone was taking photos from their cars, but after that it was smooth driving through increasingly stunning scenery all day. Stopped in a parking area (of which the Scottish government has thoughtfully provided many cos you just want to stop and take photos every few minutes) for a picnic lunch on a hill overlooking one of the most tranquil and beautiful bits of scenery you’re ever likely to find. A little further on we stopped again in the tiny town of Kylesku for a few cups of tea and a short walk through the rain on the waterfront.

More driving and we found the ruins of Ardvek castle. All that remains, other than the walls of a supposedly haunted country house nearby, is a tall ruined tower sitting on a small jut of land which becomes an island when the tide is in, which sadly it was when we visited but still very picturesque and we had plenty of fun squelching over the boggy ground in the rain trying to get as close as possible to it.

Driving, driving, driving and we arrived in Ullapool, a lovely little town on the coast that was just full of cafes and gift shops. Did a little window shopping and stopped for another cup of tea and scones until it was time to check into the Ullapool Youth Hostel, right on the waterfront so we had stunning views of the harbour from our room. Did some much needed laundry and headed out to an award winning pub for dinner, and then relocated to another pub (free wifi :P) for a few glasses of wine. Maggie and Sarah tried the single malt whiskey that had been recommended…it was not a huge hit.

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