Scottish Coast 500 (last leg) Day One
last year I drove most of the Scottish 500 coastal route, and was blown away by the shear scale and beauty of it all. I was overloaded with images and views that I didn’t want to loose, so I cut the trip short at Ullapool. Over this Bank holiday weekend I found myself back in Ullapool and driven almost all of the rest of the coast which I missed last year. As always I have left myself more still to do, because yet again image overload.
I finished work on Friday and came home not 100% sure if I was going or not. The final details of weather and where to stay hadn’t even been sorted, but needless to say due to the pressure of work and some very stressful home life-issues (which I need go into here), pushed me into realising I needed to get some air in my lungs as life has been getting on top of me, and some time alone was required.
I left Nuneaton around 10:30pm and drove through the night north, taking a couple of power naps on route, till finally the sun came up around 5:30 am as I neared the outskirts of Perth. I carried on up the A9 with an ever more de-stressed attitude till I arrived for breakfast at the Ralia Cafe
Breakfast was a very welcome coffee and Bacon Sandwich (coffee features in this post!)
Having fed myself up, I continued North Past Inverness and unlike previous times turned West (not carried on North to John’O Groats) Just after the second Causeway and headed inland towards a Village called Lairg, and my jump on point for one of those roads you will not forget, the A838, (“A” being more a hope than a reality, lets call it “A” back road)
From here the plan was to follow the A838 across Sutherland, the road has no lefts or rights and is a single lane track for around 40 miles, in all I passed one car and say no more than half a dozen coming the other way in all those miles. For me this is what I needed, endless open moors and mountains with no life anywhere but nature.
Finally arriving at the North West tip of Scotland at Laxford Bridge, where I could jump onto the Scottish 500 route. This time a little further around and just re-drive this section down to Ullapool (my overnight stop). I saw the Atlantic at last around 12 noon, having left home 15 1/2 hours earlier.
This is Scourie Beach, which has nice golden sand, some seaweed and the bluest water you ever did see. The ocean is just around the headland.
This was also my first fuel stop, and the average MPG was 62.5mpg. I was more than happy it was less than a tank (2/3rd to top it back up). Things started to go wrong at this point. The aim of coming further north of the first night stop was to drive one section I had previously missed. The Drumbeg coastal leg which is about 20 miles, the main route avoids this, and last time, I had.
So where did it all go wrong? I stopped and picked up a hitch hiker who was heading sound. A chat through the passenger side window, I had just lowered, indicated he didn’t mind to slow drive and the odd stop off for photo’s. So in he got with a large ruckasck on his lap, where upon I asked him to put it in the back, he pushed it to one side in order to get to the door handle, it hit the window and the window just dropped out of the frame and down into the door frame . COCK!!!
The red-mist descended, and I was 100’s of miles from home, no tools, nothing. I had overnight halts booked. I decided it was an urgent drive to Ullapool to see if I could find a garage and some tools to use to fix the car up, sod the extra 20 mile leg. I subjected the hitch hiker to 70mph on the coast road with the windows open freezing him to death!!
I kicked him out just before Ullapool looking very pale and cold, and found a garage. DC Coachworks of Ullapool, who were closed but the owner was there cleaning things, I am indebted to you for helping get the window back up and some duct tape to hold it in place. All was not lost. Big Karma I call it someone breaks something, someone fixes something.
This was and is my current passenger side door for now, I need to strip it right down to fix it, but not whilst on holiday.
My overnight halt was only a mile away and was very welcome. 590 miles down range and just short of 17 hours driving time, including power naps, refuel, hitch hiker of doom and lots of photo taking.
Bed was comfy and the two pints of Stella before hand made for a restful sleep.