Torridon – Day Seven

It’s still raining, the low cloud sitting on top of the mountains. We had planned another bike ride as recommended by our friendly plumber, but it doesn’t look good for such an activity. We watch the weather conditions for signs of improvement while we get ready and have breakfast, but by 9.30, the apps on the phone are predicting another 2 hours of precipitation at least. We settle on Plan B – a walk on the footpath to Torridon for lunch at the little cafe/general store. We put on our full wet weather gear and set off rustling along the tarmac road. We drop down onto the grassy footpath and stop dead – there’s something swimming in the water. There’s a frantic search for the binoculars and then a squeal of delight! Its an otter! We can’t believe our luck – we’ve had so many false alarms this week, usually a seabird floating mindlessly and serenely across the loch and now, finally, an otter. He swims to the pebbly beach with a fish in his mouth and we watch him devour it, have a clean, a shake before heading back into the water to catch another fish. This time, he comes ashore even closer to us to eat his snack. He swims out again, diving under the water and then bobbing up, empty handed. He turns on his back, twisting on the surface before sliding under the waves to fish again. He’s not having much luck now as he’s heading further and further out. Suddenly we spot another otter, doing the same thing! They’re like buses – none for ages and then two turn up! We are mesmerised watching these beautiful, elegant, athletic animals, chuffed to bits to finally see them in the wild. We lose the track of time completely.

At last, an otter!

We eventually pull ourselves away from them, realising that we are sat on the first tee of a small golf course that the owner of a nearby house has created. How fantastic – it’s more like a putting green, but how quirky. It even has the flags! We follow the path that we took on the bikes, taking much more in at our slower pace. Little holiday cottages dotted in the woodland and one lovely property, converted from a chapel, overlooking the loch on a prominent position. It was something from Grand Designs.

We’ve also noticed that there’s a lot of motorhomes and campervans “wildcamping” in various laybys and patches of gravel. They seem to stake their spot and then head off for the day, returning later back into the exactly same place. How lovely to pull up where you like and enjoys views like this. That’s the life.

The streams and rivers were still gushing with water, but with less velocity than yesterday. We walk into Torridon and up to the little shop. We shelter under the little veranda and order sandwiches and coffee, watching people come and go. I share my sarnies with a robin, who keeps hopping out from underneath a parked car. The day is not sure whether to stay wet and damp or to let the sun out. The rain has eased to a spit, but the clouds are still draped over the nearby peaks. We start to walk back, finding a memorial for workers who carried the body of their boss to his resting place. Just erected by the roadside, easily missed. Love coming across things like that. As we drop into our bay, we find a bench where we rest briefly, to admire our little house and piece of loch. We spot a man kayaking and laugh as he gets stalked by a seal. They are quite comical animals. Walking back on the road, we meet a group of men dealing with the thousands of evasive rhododendron plants that are everywhere, taking over the landscape. They describe what they have to do – it seems a rather soul destroying job as rhododendrons are pretty hard to eradicate, leave just one little piece and it will come back again. Wishing them luck, we leave them to it and drop onto the beach, but it’s too pebbly and we resort to walk on the grassy bank back to our cottage. We’ve taken most of the day to do the relatively easy 10 mile round walk, but there are so many distractions – like otters, seals and the general area really.

After a cuppa and a shower, we notice the rain has finally given way to a weak sun, lighting up the landscape and bringing out the wonderful colours. Our raging river next door has calmed down too and back to its normal self. We spend an hour hanging out of our bedroom window, just watching. Seals are now hanging out in front of our cottage – sticking their heads up, having a look around and then silently, with hardly a ripple, sliding underneath the water. It’s just amazing. We are very very happy.

Author: apathtosomewhere

Come with me and my dog on my meanderings around northern England and further afield, encountering all walks of life and everything in between!

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