Scotland day 5 and 6

 

Day 5           Stornoway to Reay (North Coast)     Rain to start, then sunshine

 

We had another early start (5.00am) this morning to catch the car ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool – two and a half hours.  While we were waiting to get loaded, we sat in the car eating our gourmet sandwiches and fruit supplied to us by the lovely Ian and Marion from Broad Bay House – their most welcome suggestion, as we were not able to have our breakfast there.  We were so impressed with their friendly, helpful and professional approach and we would have loved to stay at Broad Bay House for much longer!

The trip on the Isle Of Lewis ferry, which can carry 123 cars and 970 passengers, was smooth and by the time we reached Ullapool, the sun was shining. 

Janet drove from Ullapool up and down mountains to Durness at the western side of the north coast where we stopped for lunch.  She handled the one lane roads like a professional – there were several sections including one for about 15 miles!

We continued on towards our overnight stay at Reay, when all of a sudden the car started making a terrible sound.  Adrian pulled over immediately and we all got out and concluded that the noise was coming from the left front wheel.  First we had to unpack everything out of the boot to get the jack and Richard jacked the car up.  After rotating the wheel in both directions several times, a stone was dislodged and it stopped making the noise!

We continued on to The Old Inn, which was built in 1793 to be met be our lovely hosts, Derek and Jean, who welcomed us into their home and after a chat with them, we headed off to explore the old harbour.

Once again, the scenery along the way was amazing and of course, we made several photo stops as well as taking some out the car window as we drove along.

Derek cooked a lovely meal for us and we headed off to our rooms to write up our blogs and sort some photos after a lovely day.

Overlooking Ullapool

Overlooking Ullapool

 

One lane roads!

One lane roads!

Cliffs of the rugged North Sea Coast

Cliffs of the rugged North Sea Coast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 6           Reay to Inverness                     Sunny – again!!

 

After a sleep in and a hearty breakfast, we headed off to Thurso to Scrabster Harbour – a working harbour and then on to Dunnet Head, which is actually the most northerly part of the British mainland, where we took photos recording our visit.

Then, we went to John O’ Groats, which is the commercialised version of the most northerly part – again took some photos, did some post card shopping and souvenir shopping before heading off to see the lighthouse  and  stacks (sort of like the Twelve Apostles) at Duncansby Head.

We then continued down the rugged north east coast to Wick, where we had lunch before heading off towards Inverness.  Along the way, we stopped at Dunrobin Castle, which dates back to 1400.  We enjoyed exploring the many rooms in the castle, which contain a magnificent collection of portraits, silver, tapestries, memorabilia and antique furniture.  The castle’s gardens were absolutely magnificent, with their geometric forms and varying colours and overlooked the ocean.

We continued our journey to Inverness driving through the city centre to reach our B&B – Avalon Guest House – in the late afternoon.  After unpacking the car and getting organised in our rooms, we headed off on foot to explore the banks of the River Ness.  We had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant overlooking the river and Inverness Castle – the original was built in the 12 century but burnt down and the current sandstone building was built in 1834. We then continued our walk along the river to the Ness Islands, where we crossed over it via several little bridges, walked back down the river and to our B&B.

Sandy did all the driving today to give Janet & Adrian a break – Richard sat in the front taking photos out the window!

 

Dunnet Head

Dunnet Head

Rugged North East Coastline

Rugged North East Coastline

 

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle

 

 

We were surprised to find that most of today’s driving was over undulating low hills, which were remarkably flat compared to the mountainous drive yesterday across the top of Scotland.  As we followed the rugged coastline, the scenery changed from steep cliffs to pebbly beaches and steep cliffs again, with cattle and sheep grazing in bright, lush green paddocks along the way.

Another beautiful day in the north of Scotland!

 

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