Skirting the edge legs 11, 12 & 13
I couldn’t get a good internet signal for the last few days (and cross my fingers this lasts) so this is three days worth in one update.
Leg 11 Wick to Ullapool
Following the Scottish Coast 500 up to John O’Groats, across the North coast to Durness and the leg south as far as Unapool, then a new section of road I had yet to drive around Assynt.
But first her I am at John O’Groats, alas I couldn’t park next to the pole, as it was closed (the pay one) and the free one was blocked by a dirty great big German coach. So here i am outside the gift shop, the best I could do considering the fact the car park was empty and the coach was parked in the way on the road, totally ignorant driver.
For those of you who have heard of the Lands End to John O’Groats (LE JOG) drive it marks the end of that leg, but neither location is in fact what one thinks it is, the actual most northerly point on the UK mainland is Dunett Head some 20 or so miles to the West of JOG
From here the weather turned terrible and no more images were taken that day, the winds were 50mph plus all day long, and driving into it when rain is lashing down doesn’t make for fun. So I will skip forward to the afternoon, as it took me a good 4 hours to cover the 90 or so miles to Durness (the top left hand corner of Scotland)
The rain cleared away mostly in the afternoon and the leg south down to Ullapool was on the cards, some of which I had done before but not the minor roads around the west of Assynt (e.g. the coast road) what a joy that road was. Up, down, left, right, blind summit, shear drops, hairpins you name it the roads had it in plenty. It was only 45 miles long but hours of driving and most of all it was fun, which made up for the first half of the day.
My overnight stop in Ullapool was not my normal place (the Moorefield Hotel, top place for good food), instead I stayed in town, and yet again it was an Eastbourne hotel Esperance, I stayed as I was too tired to move elsewhere, and the advertised WiFi was a total disaster, the hotel blamed it on the weather!
Leg 12 Ullapool to Loch Shiel.
The second day was better in terms of the weather, I only had the odd rain storm and the wind had died right down. I followed the Wester Ross way south and went out onto the Applecross peninsula in order to say I had done the roads and the views were not to bad. the clouds were low so mountain tops were obscured.
The road out of Applecross has many 1:5 hills and a fair few hairpins, here is the view looking down the road I am about to descend.
From here it was a drive down to the main road and onwards passing Torridon and other such amazing places, by now the head was down and it was head for the Isle of Skye, in order to save the endless road trip to Fort August and down to Fort William, instead I jumped on the Island and headed south to catch the ferry back off the island to Mailaig.
I caught the ferry early. It was a great afternoon sat waiting for the ferry in the sunshine with ice-cream watching the waves lash up and down the shore, living the dream.
Soon I was on the mainland again and from here drove the last 40 miles to the overnight stop, the Loch Shiel hotel.. I vote this the best hotel by far i have ever stayed at, no fancy toys, just clean smart good food and the rooms super large clean and tidy. Nice beers in the bar and the staff were super helpful.
Leg 13 Loch Shiel hotel to Campbeltown
First things first I shot off to the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, which marks the final point of the UK compass for this trip, it being the most Westerly point of the UK mainland (not Lands End!) SO that the Lizard (south) followed by Lowerstoft (East) Dunett Head (North) and now here (west)
The it was backtrack to catch the Tobermorry Ferry (Ferry number 8) and once on the Isle of Mull do a similar trick to the previous day and drive along the island and use a ferry back off to save re driving a road I have just driven. So I jumped off Mull using the Lockaline Ferry (Ferry number 9) and drive north to Corran and use that ferry to cross the water (Ferry number 10). From here it was a long afternoon heading south to campbeltown. Alas I didn’t stop once today to take images, I guess today I was just “get my head down and drive”. It was a good 300 miles plus today so I needed to just get on with it
Other news, we have breached the 3000 miles, this was just about at the Corran ferry, I suspect i have now done 2/3rds of the trip, i know i have 8 more days at least, I am starting to tire. I will take a day off I think when I get to wales in 4 days time. Wales I will slow down and take it steady.