On Friday night three friends and I crossed the country going North West. We went almost all the way to the top left corner of Scotland. Cape Wrath (the actual top left corner) is inside a military bombing range and impossible to get to at this time of year, but the little town of Kinlochbervie is within walking distance of the Cape and has a comfy and affordable hotel
in it. That's where we went.
The three friends were Liz
and Karen - Liz and Hamish have also blogged about it, Karen hasn't because she's still resisting using her blog
for anything much - three view points on one weekend is probably more than enough anyway...
I spent most of my childhood summers in that part of the world, and I've been back since but never with friends before... whenever I've been back by as an adult in the past, solitude has seemed to resonate perfectly with Sutherland's bleakly beautiful landscape. It turns out though that company harmonises just as well with the otherworldlyness of that part of the world.
We spent our days meandering along the twisty single track roads together, mostly aimlessly if I'm honest. We did have a couple of vague goals, but since Liz and I both love driving, and the entire area is so utterly Other, going anywhere and everywhere was aim enough most of the time. Sometimes we went to white beaches where the ocean boiled over black rocks, sometimes we'd just stop to walk on the rolling red heath we were passing through, we walked around a mostly deserted M.O.D installation which was built as a radar station but never commissioned, poking about what remains of the hippie-ish craft village that's been housed in its blunt little buildings for the past 40 years or so. Once we visited a cave where a river disappears into the ground in a thundering torrent of white foam and brassy peat-stained water... all of it was breathtaking which makes it seem strange that we never stopped talking.
My friends are exceptionally smart, funny and engaging people, and I'm discovering that road-trips with them are really really
fun. evenings we mostly stayed in the hotel curled up in the warm comfy lounge after our ridiculously big meals, chatting about everything and anything. On the Sunday evening the cloud cover lifted so Liz (who'd kindly abstained from drinking) drove the rest of us a couple of miles up the road to my favorite place in the known universe: a beach called Oldshoremore.
The idea came about from a dinner Hamish had been to months ago, (read his blog for more on that,) but I knew that if we got a clear night Oldshoremore was the place to go. Sunday night turned out to be not just clear (for a few hours at least) but also moonless. At first this made things interesting as there's a graveyard between the beach and the car park. Missing the path (which sensibly goes round
the cemetery) I took us right through it... in the dark... none of us is particularly easily spooked but we stuck pretty close to the wall all the same. Once on the other side of the wall we found the actual path and made it down to the sand where we saw more stars than I think I ever have before, including many many shooting ones...
I suspect it's impossible to do justice to that night (or indeed the weekend as a whole) in a blog entry but I hope I've managed to convey some sense of just how good a time I had over the past few days. Once Liz and I have sorted through all the photos I'll be posting an album of them (probably tomorrow) for now though I'm going to leave it at this.