This line from Endymion by Keats was carved into a bench we saw walking round Corrieshalloch Gorge, and really sums the day up.
This morning was the usual; Jane complaining she was cold, getting everyone breakfast, packing the van back up and sweeping it out every 5 minutes 😂
Today's plan was to get to Dundonell via Ullapool (stopping off at the Seafood Shack for lunch) but we had no plans for what to do on the way. A short while after getting back on the road it became apparent we had arrived in mountain country. There had been the odd tall hillock or sharp rock face around previously, but now we were seeing proper ranges of peaks hidden in the clouds. Everyday seems to step it up another level of impact. Stopping in at a parking place to try and get a couple of shots I noticed an abandoned tractor with "police aware" sticker tape on it. That's the kind of place the remote West of Scotland is 😂
About half an hour into driving we came to Knockan Crag. A particularly interesting place if you happen to be a geologist as the older rock layers lie on top of the younger rock. This discovery helped prove tectonic plate theory. There is a walk of a few kilometres there that shows you various examples of the rock types in the area and takes you up to the top of the crag for some fantastic views. I was super impressed that Robert managed to get all the way around this by himself without any complaining, Liliya obviously had the easy life being carted around in her baby carrier.
We managed to finish the trail just before the rain started, have the kids their lunch and headed on to Ullapool. The Seafood Shack in Ullapool has been on the "must do" list since we started planning, and given there was a 1 hour queue when we got here clearly it was on everyone else's too! It's a small place serving food from a window that makes their menu fresh everyday depending on what the local fishermen have brought in from that day's catch. I had a tempura haddock wrap with spinach and a sweet lemon mayonnaise. Definitely one of the tastiest things I've eaten in a while.
Ullapool is the biggest town we've seen in several days so we stopped to take a look around. There was a local shop selling home made gelato including a flavour made from local berries that tastes like sour orange and mango. Given the sunny weather it seemed rude but to avail ourselves of one and enjoy it in the warm sunshine. We also popped into a shop selling local beer and spirits and came away with a few bottles that I look forward to sampling.
The place we were staying the night was only another 10 miles down the road but before we got there stopped at Corrieshalloch Gorge for another walk (been getting those steps in today). There is a nice walk around the gorge, over a suspension bridge and to a viewing platform. I haven't seen anything else around quite as deep and comparitively narrow, but I guess that's why it's a gorge and not a valley or something else. I had Liliya in the carrier again and as I lent over the side of the bridge to look down said "wow". Cue her saying "wow" to everything for the next 10 minutes 😁 At the far side of the walk we got a glimpse of where we'd be staying the night, the sun reflecting of the tidal loch in the distance.
Arriving at the Dundonell hotel we had about an hours wait until the restaurant opened which we whiled away skipping stones across the water. Another delightful day.