Day 4 .....on to Scourie (via the Seafood Shack)
Our fourth day appeared on paper to be the shortest trip but as we had rapidly discovered Google maps under estimated every journey sometimes by more than an hour! We set off once again in fine drizzle and stopped very quickly at the side of the road to photograph a stunning sea view. Big mistake out we get and here come all the midgies. As we climbed out of the car I had witnessed a kid banging frantically on all the doors and windows of the car whilst his dad laughed and we soon found out why. The midgies were everywhere, time for a quick photoshoot and back in the car – Chris continued to drive and moan about how many times he’d been bitten whilst I looked up in horror at the roof of the car which was a moving mass of black – midgies everywhere. It was like something out of a horror film I quickly understood why the kid had been battering the car and now it was my turn! No point opening the window as more just came in so it was time for a mass genocide of our car midgies. Think Chris was completely freaked out by our little visitors- he was already looking like a pincushion!
The afternoon was even better as we set off on another single track A road up through a Geopark – mountains, mountains and more mountains, sunshine and clouds sitting on top of them. Our cameras were well used that day.
We arrived at our stop for the night the ‘Scourie Hotel’ in surprise, surprise Scourie. Once again another fabulously quirky hotel which caters very strongly for fishermen. First surprise here though – not only have we no mobile signals or wifi but no television in the rooms! They had made a decision to maintain the tranquillity of the hotel by equipping the rooms with radios. To be honest we hadn’t had the television on since Old Pines when we sat down to watch Tom Daley in the diving final only to find he hadn’t qualified! It was a real digital detox.
It was a hotel full (well maybe 9 or 10!) of ‘gentlemen’ fishers and a definite lack of women! There was the opportunity to catch your fish and have it served at breakfast, the lobby contained all you would need to safely wrap and store and even weigh your fish, which I imagine is very important to fishermen – size is everything! I loved it. We were gonged into dinner at 7.30 and the quality and choice of the food was great. The speciality that night was a roast beef dinner and I think everyone in the room – all 4 tables of men and then me and Chris! – chose the beef. Delicious roast potatoes and a lovely bottle of Sauvignon blanc. It was a very good meal and once again the service was perfect. I began to see a pattern emerging with the hotels we had chosen and suspect that may be the case throughout the 500 – great food and excellent service. Scourie was a tiny little place with a beautiful beach and one shop. We had a lovely walk out to the headland, watched the sad progress of a little guillemot who appeared to be completely lost and according to Chris wouldn’t last the night, then spent a lovely evening in the hotel – free wifi in the bar!
One thing to note about the trip mobile phone reception was very poor – vast chunks of the trip we had no reception at all, couldn’t make or receive calls or messages, access the internet or anything but bizarrely ‘What’s App’ continued for most of the journey to receive and send messages. Not sure what the implications of that are! As we passed Inverewe gardens we realised we had a 4 bar signal so time for a quick stop to ring all our parents and reassure them that we were still here!
This was my favourite journey of all of them as we travelled up to Ullapool through some breath-taking scenery – I think something most people don’t realise is that Scotland doesn’t just have mountains and valleys, highland cattle and red deer but actually white sandy beaches with crystal clear blue seas that stretch for miles with no one on them. If only you could guarantee the sun no one would ever go abroad.
Ullapool was lovely and well worth the stop. We were very lucky as there was a cruise shop docked which was in the process of ferrying passengers back across after excursions. The sun was out, it was almost civilisation with shops and cafes and even a Tesco! We’d read about the Seafood Shack before we set off so that was where we wanted our lunch. It took us a while to find it but we were glad we persevered. Freshly cooked fish meals from a little mobile van – bizarrely not allowed to sell drinks though – we were offered the last of their lobster for the day at a knock down price (we turned it down as were not good at dismantling lobsters!) but instead we chose to have the haddock goujons which were served in a wrap with a lovely salsa. Delicious! We sat on the pebbly beach at Ullapool in glorious sunshine and ate our wraps whilst we watched the comings and goings of the cruise shop. Life was good.