Today was mostly of a nautical persuasion. Overnight had been pleasantly quiet with just one other van overnighting in the same car park. After breakfast we started driving up to Durness as when the weather is good they have a zip line than runs over the beach.
As we headed out the weather was not good ☹️ rain was pouring down, wind was blowing, not ideal zip lining conditions. A couple of valleys later and the sun was out, the wind was down. Our hopes were up. Unfortunately arriving at the car park there was a distinct lack of organisers (although no lack of people like us hoping it was on). A quick check of the Facebook page and it was cancelled for today. It was on yesterday, it's on tomorrow, it will be on the day after. But not today. The beach itself looked magnificent so dressing the children appropriately (jumpers, wellies and full wet gear, this is Scottish summer after all 😂) we went down and had a play.
Robert went straight for the sea and obviously soaked his trousers and socks 🙄 Liliya found a jellyfish lying on the sand and decided the thing to do was dance round it in a circle laughing 🤷🏻♂️ They had a great time though which is all that matters. Our at least they did until Jane decided to throw a piece of seaweed at Robert who freaked out so much that as he tried to run away his boots came off and he fell over.
On the short drive round the corner to Smoo Cave we asked Robert if he would have liked to do the zip line had it been on. "I think it is too dangerous for a 4 year old, if I let go I would fall and get hurt" 😱 After explaining that it is one where you are clipped in so couldn't fall, he changed his mind and was well up for it 😁
Smoo Cave was something we'd heard about while planning our trip and some of the photos we'd seen of it looked incredible. There are parts you can do boat trips or even diving trips into, obviously covid strikes again and all that was off, but if the small bit we got to see was a hint, the full experience would surely be something to behold. I would say maybe another time but I can't imagine when I'd be up here again. It's not that I'm not loving every single thing we're doing but it's such a long way to come and there is so much more elsewhere to see for the first time.
We took the scenic route back out of Smoo Cave to the van which took us up the cliffs and out towards the sea for more great views. The best bit for Liliya though was the discovery of the game "nioawm" where I'm wearing her in the Bjorn hold her hands out like her arms are aeroplane wings and run around going "nioawm". This had her chuckling, but when we're crashed into someone else playing "nioawm" there were peals of laughter. I kid you not we played this for over half an hour and only stopped because I was getting too hot from all the running.
After lunch we set out for Kinlochbervie, hardly a couple of minutes later and there was a sign for "Cocoa Mountain", Jane recalled this was allegedly the best hot chocolate in somewhere; Scotland, Britain, the world? Not sure but I can say that it was extremely good and definitely worth the small diversion.
The next 40 or so minutes of driving were through some of the most amazing scenery we've seen so far on this trip. Rock studded landscapes, towering mountains, Highland lakes in fields of heather. It was all so Scottish, like one of those montage shots Top Gear would put together if they were driving through. I was stopping every 5 minutes to take more photos but the best I've got doesn't come close to doing justice to the majesty of the landscape.
Kinlochbervie is a small little harbour village who have converted the old harbour into a place where campervans and motor homes can stop over for a small fee and provides the amenities you would expect at most sites. Unfortunately there is nothing else for us to do there and it's only a bit after 3 now. 5 minutes down the road is what is supposed to be a lovely beach and the car park there is also used as an overnight stop.
It's worth mentioning at this point that if you are looking at a campervan a solar panel or two are definitely worth the investment. Since we started out a week ago we haven't had an electric hook up anywhere, the solar panel has kept the battery topped up enough to run the fridge 24x7, our lighting and overnight charging of devices. The freedom to not need to use a site is something we definitely appreciate.
On the way over to Oldshoremore we stopped in at the Highland Charcuterie, a home run business selling smoked and cured meat products. We left the smoked halibut for another time but picked up some lovely bacon, meat "walking sticks" and a pot of venison, elderberry and Laphroaig whisky paté 👌🏻
Arriving at the beach I decided that it was high time somebody properly got in the sea. There was no way this was going to be Jane, and while Robert talks a big game he's almost 5 and once he experiences the North Sea I couldn't imagine him going past his knees (despite wearing a wetsuit). So swimming shorts on we talked down to the beach and after a quick pose for the camera ran straight in. Oof was it cold, and as the water came up around my neck almost painfully so. A couple of minutes later though and it was as though I was lying in a warm bath.
That had been left outside overnight in Scotland and filled with ice 😂 Still I'm not one to shy away from the cold and went for a swim, a very bracing swim. Out the water the sun was shining and the wind was still and it turned into a lovely afternoon on the beach. Collecting shells, digging holes and climbing rocks.
Dinner tonight was a pasta carbonara made with the fresh, treacle cured bacon we bought earlier. Another delightful meal. The days activities had knackered the kids out so we actually managed to get them to bed for a pretty normal time. Jane went off for a run (up an incredibly steep hill apparently) and I settled down to write this up, popping out a little while ago to get some photos of sunset as Robert thought it would be a good one so I promised to take some pictures to show him in the morning.