D is for Driving

After getting up at a very slightly more humane hour (5am) we headed off to the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool. The B&B had prepared sandwiches for us since we were leaving before breakfast and had even left a sign on the door to remind us to get them out of the fridge. The ferry ride was two and a half hours but the weather was calm so it was a smooth ride. Apparently it is often very rough for that crossing so we were lucky to have good weather for the second day running.

Arriving in Ullapool, Janet drove off the ferry and headed north to Durness at the very North West tip of Scotland. Despite a great dislike of single track roads, she handled it all very well and we made faster than expected progress, despite the unexpected presence of tourist buses. We stopped for lunch at the first (and pretty much only) place we found in Durness which turned out to serve delicious steak pies.

After lunch, Adrian took over the driving as we continued through some amazing scenery with the rocky outcrops and cliffs dropping into the vivid blue ocean. We had a slight scare about 20 miles from Reay when there was a loud scraping noise coming from the front left wheel. We all piled out to investigate and after much arguing over how to use the jack and whether to take the wheel off or not, another car pulled over and as soon as he got there, a stone dropped out of the break calipers and everything was fine again.

We made it to Reay and found our hosts at the B&B were very friendly and entertaining characters. We spent some time chatting with them and then went and checked out the highlights of the local area that they suggested. First stop was the local store for ice creams and then headed off to the harbor. The harbor is apparently a very unique design with a crescent shape and the ability to shut the opening to keep the rough seas out – all designed nearly 200 years ago. We also took in a couple of beaches and found signs warning that radioactive contamination had been found on them due to Britain’s first nuclear power plant being just across the bay. We decided not to go for a walk along the beach but just to admire it from afar.

Dinner was a wonderful home cooked meal with apple crumble for dessert and then we all headed off to bed early to recuperate from our two long travel days.

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