Today turned out to be another beach day, despite the fact that we're in the North of Scotland and today's top temperature was 12°C. It's also our second night in a campsite and we've hit the triple jackpot. I'm parked literally a stone's throw from the beach, there is no wind and there are no midgies.
Last night was a quiet night in the beach car park we were joined by a couple of other campervans/motor homes and the cars of same crazy fools who were camping down on the beach, or at least I hope they were. We saw them carrying plenty of beer and wine but no tent and their car was still there when we woke up 🤷🏻♂️ I awoke gently to the sound of a softly babbling brook behind us and Jane complaining that she was cold. One of these two things is not unusual 😂 I'll definitely have to get a heater fitted shortly if we want to keep doing anything after the peak of summer.
Driving this route round the North and West of Scotland presents something of a dichotomy; the scenery is intensely, ethereally, beautiful, but besides the beaches there is nothing to do with young children. In fairness we hadn't really intended to do this route for at least a couple of years but coronavirus forced our hand, and it's not all bad. Had we done it in a few years time I doubt we would have put aside two and half weeks for the trip. Still I feel bad for the children. Robert was looking out of the window and listening to some of his favourite audio books, but Liliya gave up after about 15 minutes and took an earlier than usual nap (we had until now done the bulk of our driving after lunch while she would normally nap).
Back to the scenery though. I was having just the best time, the van and I were flowing along the roads, each bend or crest opening up to an exciting new vista. It's impossible to capture the experience with mere photos, and too often the best sights had no opportunity to record them at all. Nearly all the roads are single-track with passing places and you can't just stop to take a picture.
We turned off at one point to take the "scenic" route through Drumbeg driving along a road full of sharp turns, steep drops, blind crests, runners (from where to where?) and a few cars coming the other way a touch too fast. We stopped in Drumbeg which was about 9 miles down a 15 mile road. This road is the only way into or out of Drumbeg. There is nothing other than a few houses (and a spooky old bus) on it the rest of its length. It has a shop, Drumbeg stores, that is the "do everything" kind of place you'd expect; fruit, veg, food, local produce, artwork by locals, hats knitted by the owner during the winter, the usual. We picked up some local cheese, an Orkney beer (I'm supping it now and can recommend Orkney IPA) and local "traditional" ice cream.
The owner of the stores recommended a beach down the way and we stopped the for a picnic lunch, eating the cheese (good) and paté we bought yesterday (great). The beach wasn't that impressive to be honest, at least compared to Oldshoremore yesterday and we decided to head on and get to our campsite which we knew was at a highly recommended beach.
Arriving at the campsite we were told to take our pick of the grounds (no assigned standings) and not being restricted by needing an electric hook up headed right down to the shore line.
We took a bit of time to sort out the van and brush out all the sand and dirt that had accumulated in the couple of hours since I last brushed it (our brush deserves a medal for all the work it's done so far) and put some washing on. Then down to the beach. Wow, if you saw this beach and I told you it was on some far flung tropical island you would instantly believe it.
Had the temperature matched the view it would been one of the best beach days ever. As yesterday we didn't let the cold stop us from having a great time. The kids in their wetsuits, me in my swim shorts, Jane in her warmest hoody 😂 Despite having a sandpit at home that she loves to play in Liliya decided today was not a day that she liked having sand in her feet 🤷🏻♂️ Still, Robert and I spent a good couple of hours ninja kicking the waves, running up and down the beach, climbing rocks, digging holes and watching the incoming tide destroy our sandcastles. The warmth I felt from the fun we were having more than overcame the bone chilling cold of the sea.
We availed ourselves of the on site fish and chips for dinner and had our first evening meal of the trip sat outside in the sunshine. This is also the first opportunity I've had to sit outside of an evening and just enjoy it, an opportunity I've seized with both hands.