Last day in Skerray

It was raining this morning so we set about packing up and cleaning the cottage for an early getaway tomorrow morning. Looking out the window, we could see that a coach was parked at the junction and the Stagecoach service bus was stuck behind it. The driver of the Stagecoach was walking down the road with his phone trying to get a signal so we invited him in to use James’s mobile which can make calls via the wifi as there is no signal here unless you are right down by the harbour wall. The driver told us that the coach was empty and that there was no sign of its driver. Cars could just squeeze past but there was no way he could get his bus past it. He had reported the problem to his company and left to wait for a response. James departed to get the paper and had to tell people standing at the bus stop in Bettyhill (hoping to get to Thurso) that they would be waiting for a while. Two hours later, after everyone passing had stopped to see what was going on, a car drove back and forth down to the harbour and eventually returned with two men who sheepishly got into the coach and drove off. I can only assume that they were having a lengthy smoking break or a coffee with folks in the campervan that was parked down there. After lunch the weather was improving so we had a short walk along the pebble beach and the first few cliffs, looking across to Neave Island and Eilean nan Rón. The abandoned houses on the latter are still visible, the people having been evacuated in 1938.

Coast near Skerray 5 June 2015 (1 of 1)

Eilean nan Ròn near Skerray 5 June 2015 (1 of 1)

We had dinner in the Bettyhill Hotel and enjoyed the warm evening finished off by a great sunset over the island.

Strahnaver 5 June 2015 (1 of 1)

Sunset Skerray 5 June 2015 (1 of 1)

Sunshine and rain in Skerray

The forecast was rain today and rain it did. Having driven a fair distance yesterday we were quite happy to get up late and sit by the fire reading and planning some walks for later in the week.

Rain drops Skerray 31 May 2015 (1 of 1)

By early evening the rain had cleared and we ventured out to find several sheep in the road outside. As most of the sheep are fenced in here, I did wonder if they should be out but as I am away from home, have no idea who they belong to. At least there is not much traffic here.

The neighbours Skerray 31 May 2015 (1 of 1)

We wandered down to the beach for a spot of beachcombing and trying to photograph the oystercatchers we saw yesterday.

Oystercatcher Skerray 31 May 2015 (1 of 1)

The fishing boats were moored but on the other side of the harbour wall one was set up for an early start tomorrow. As the forecast is much better for tomorrow, we are hoping to be up fairly early to make the most of the good weather and walk around Torrisdale Bay.

To Skerray via a couple of distilleries

Today was a perfect day for driving, blue sky and sunshine but not too hot. I could see the hills ahead even from the city bypass and Sounds of the Sixties on the radio gave me a few ideas for the Lincoln Highway playlist which is under construction. We passed the Kelpies near Falkirk and the very familiar Ochil hills. There was still some snow to be seen on the Trossach hills. Driving through Dunblane took me past the restaurant I used to work at (now an Indian restaurant) and the old school bus stop. There were a few new buildings around but many things had not changed much at all. James saw a collection of photographs of distilleries in an Edinburgh Reclamation company we visited a few weeks ago and had the idea of compiling his own collection. We will never have the wall space so I agreed it could be a photographic book on the distilleries of the British Isles. This meant was had to divert off the A9 to Tullibardine in Blackford. Driving on the old road through the village was reminiscent of finding old sections of Route 66 off the interstate two years ago. Inside the distillery, a purchase had to be made.

Tullibardine 30 May 2015 (1 of 1)

The Blackford Hotel is now defunct and James remembered stopping off for a drink there on a Dundee football outing heading further south many years ago. Back on the A9 there were numerous warnings about deer on the road (I saw one hind grazing on the embankment and two corpses by the road) and there are now average speed cameras most of the way. Inverness CT fans were heading to Hampden and we had a quick coffee stop at Gloagburn.

Perthshire Road 30 May 2015 (1 of 1)

North of Blair Atholl there was snow on the Grampians and over Drumochter we had to stop at Dalwhinnie.

Dalwhinnie 1 30 May 2015 (1 of 1)

Lunch was a brief stop in Aviemore and we could see recent snow on the Cairngorm Mountains. Afterwards we were soon over Slochd Summit and descending towards the Kessock Bridge having decided that a visit to Tomatin Distillery might have to wait for the return trip. The same applied to Glen Ord on the Black Isle. Back in the lowlands the gorse was in full bloom on both sides of the road and I spotted my first seal of the trip just after crossing the bridge over the Cromarty Firth. We took a B road over to Bonar Bridge and then the road towards Tongue getting some shots of the Dornoch Firth from Struie Hill on the way.

Dornoch Firth 1 30 May 2015 (1 of 1)

We were soon installed in our cottage near Skerray harbour and time for a walk down there to stretch our legs.

Skerray Harbour 2 30 May 2015 (1 of 1)