In the evening ... following my Anthrax Island adventure ... I took a walk along the coastal cliffs from Mellon Udrigle campsite to Rubha Beag. I wanted to size up my next adventure. A four mile open sea crossing to Priest Island. Its one of the Summer Isles and I had missed it when I rounded them ... preferring to approach it from this side of the mainland.
It was still a bit breezy for the crossing .. but I hoped that by leaving early the following morning .. I could visit before either wind or common dolphins were around.
Its amazing how a little sunshine can improve a grey mood ... so after a couple of days drying out on the east coast .. the weather improved again over on the west .. so I headed back to Gruinard Bay. It looked a far different place under blue sky. Warm and inviting again.
I had wanted to visit Gruinard Island for as long as I can remember. In the 1980’s I often passed it touring Scotland on my motor bikes and always stopped to wonder what it would be like walking there. Of course ..in those days it was still prohibited to land due to the dangers of the Anthrax experiment they conducted there ... testing germ warfare for WW2 requirements.
Its now clear of anthrax and landing is allowed.. although not many folks do. Some think the anthrax spores could still survive in the ground ? That rumour was not going to stop me from visiting. All I had to do was find the best place to launch my wee boat.
I chose the campsite at Mellon Udrigle.
It has a lovely sandy beach with easy access from the tent.
It was a blustery day but I was impatient to be on my way. The waves didn’t bother me.. but I got a bit of a surprise half way across the bay.
This video illustrates perfectly what happened that day
Attached are the remaining videos of my summer "Summer Isles" trip. It really was a beautiful day and I spent around ten hours going round over twelve of the Islands ..Reefs and Rocks. My route was quite confusing ..as I just followed my nose.. to make the best of the day.
The Summer Isles are a collection of island .. reefs and rocks off the entrance to Loch Broom and the lovely highland town of Ullapool. They are best seen from the hill road near Achiltibuie
Having been on the road and Wild Car Camping for a week..it was time to book into a campsite and soothe my itch for a decent shower. The campsite at Altandu was perfect .. and I will return as it has a nice Pub at its gates ..but unfortunately I couldn't sample the beer at that time ..as I was resting my liver.
I had a look at the slipway at Old Dornie ..its not far from the campsite .. but I decided against launching here. Its very tidal and I was almost left high and dry here in a previous visit
So decided to launch off the beach at Achitibuie common instead. Its my normal launch point when in this area so I'm well aware it is a hard recovery when the tide is out. I don't mind that with my light weight outfit. Its perfect for parking with Public Toilets at the top of the road too.
I noticed the metal balls and old boats that decorate the common are slowly rotting away..but they still make a nice photograph
Here is the video of my trip round the Summer Isles. It was a perfect day. The video is in four parts ..so come back later to see the other parts.
A first impression of Lochinver is that it could be just another dreary highland village ..especially in a dull damp day. Its not a particularly attractive village sprawling along one side of the main street. Its a sleepy little village too .. especially if you are waiting to refill the car with fuel. The garage is often closed just when I need it most.
However the sight of the rounded dome of Suilven .. Scotland’s sugar loaf mountain certainly sweetens the village sights for me.
Its only when you stop to explore the village that you discover a real hidden gem. It is the Lochinver Pie Shop. It must make the best pies in Scotland ... if not the entire universe. I can thoroughly recommend the venison pie for main course, followed by the rhubarb pie for afters. These pies can even kick start a lousy liver into firing on four cylinders again. They are truly mana from heaven.
With a stomach full of pie I then drove slowly along one of the most scenic coastal road in Scotland. The single track road between Lochinver and Inverpolly Forest. It passes some delightful sheltered bays.
Lovely fresh water lochs ....
Offering side on sights of Suilven
And eventually arriving at Stack Pollaidh (Polly for short) where I took a short walk to the sandy beach for this photograph.
I then spent the night in a local lay by before rising early in the morning. I was a man on a mission again. Full of energy and Lochinver Pie that needed walked off.