We have a very grumpy dog. She has always been grumpy and soon lets us know of her feelings. Were we mad taking her with us on this trip?
We were conscious to give her as much space as we could in the Van, hence the separate sleeping arrangements on the first night. However, Madam has made herself truly at home, by curling up with us on the back seat of an evening and last night, actually jumping up on the bed with us, snuggling alongside me and having the cheek to actually lay her head on my pillow! She’s usually not this cuddly! I’m not in the most comfortable position, The Dog pinning me down and my arm stuck out of the sleeping bag, getting cold. Finally she got fed up with the wiggling, jumped off with a heavy this and slunked to her bed in the front well.
We had a good sleep after that and woke up to a milky morning. A cuppa and biscuit ensued and then we broke camp. We’re off to Torridon to meet up with friends, so we left Bunchrew and followed the flat coastal road with mountains in the distance to the pretty village of Beauly. Now a few of you might be yelling “hey, it’s like Groundhog Day” and you have every right, as we have visited this place twice before on our way to the Highlands and now it’s a habit. We pulled up to pop into the local supermarket for provisions for tonight (we’re in charge of dinner tonight) with the gang and then head off to The Corner in the Square, a lovely little deli and cafe for breakfast. We have to sit outside because of The Dog (it’s 10 degrees!!) and enjoyed pancakes and scrambled eggs with salmon, washed down with coffee. The Dog snuffles bacon from Hubby, turning her nose up at my offer of salmon. We have a wander around town – there are still strict Covid rules here and I keep inadvertently breaking them, before jumping in the Van and heading west. It now starts to rain, the clouds low. We chased a local sprinter train along the valley floor, getting ahead of it to be able to stop in a lay-by to let The Dog bark at it – re-enacting the same scene 3 years ago when we had stopped to admire the scenery at exactly the same spot and a train passed. Our dog is a bit of a train spotter and chaser, so we had a little bit of silliness to break up the trip for her.
We finally turned left into the single track road with passing places at Linlochewe and meet four of our friends on their cycles. They’re out on a cycling day out. It’s now starting to seriously rain after a reasonably pleasant morning. We waved furiously and managed a brief chat with them before continuing along the road. The cloud is low and obscuring the magnificent mountains that line this beautiful valley. Half way along, we spotted a large lorry at an jaunty angle and as we approached it, realised that its front wheel had come off the road and sunk in the soft ground beyond. It was well and truly stuck, leaning at a precarious angle. There was a recovery truck preparing to rescue it, the operator muffled against the horizontal rain. There was just enough room for us to squeeze past, wondering how the driver of the stranded truck was going to explain that one to the boss…..We stopped at the village of Torridon with its little village shop and cafe to get bread (we’ve had instructions) and considered a coffee and cake, but it’s chucking it down now and we can’t go inside. We decided to head the last few miles to Inveralligin and the cottage where our friends were staying.
We stayed here last year, just the two of us in a large 5 bedroomed holiday cottage, after our large group was whittled down to one household due to Covid regulations. It was great to be back. We dropped down the steep hill to the house and meet the other four friends hanging out in the sun room. They were all up on a week’s break to bag Munro’s, cycle, walk and enjoy the area, which was the big plan last year. After a cup of tea and cake, we all decided to drive up to Diabaig, a little hamlet four miles up a dead end road. It’s in this beautiful little bay and last year, when Hubby and I were up here for that week, we walked around the edge of the coast and rewarded ourselves with lunch at the Gillie Brigdhe. Alas today it was firmly shut due to staff shortages (it’s a running theme here in Britain – shortages). The six of us had a wander around, the weather having lifted and the mountains have come out in all their glory, the scenery stunning. The Dog dipped her paws into the waves and we just look out to sea with binoculars, hoping to see a seal/otter/porpoise/sea eagle. But all we see is another squall of bad weather approaching, enveloping the outlying little islands as we watched. The wind is quite strong and The Dog’s ears flapped wildly. We headed back to the cars and wind back along the single track road, avoiding the potholes and disintegrating edges. Once in a while, a length of road has been resurfaced – black and smooth, but only lasts a few hundred yards and you are back on the old rough stuff. It’s a challenge on these roads.
Once back at the house, Hubby and I took a shower and we all hung out in the sunroom, reading, writing, The Dog catching up with lost sleep and quietly recharging. The others returned from their cycling trip and we all caught up with each other. Hubby and I are in charge of making dinner tonight, so we get organised in the kitchen cooking vast vats of pasta and sauce, nachos and salad. Everybody mucked in, laying the table and helping out. Then we all sat at the vast dining table, ten of us in all, eating, drinking and chatting. The Dog is too tired to even scrounge food and could be found, sprawled on the carpet in the lounge, enjoying her own peace and quiet.
We all retire to the sunroom and relax, before we all gradually head to bed. We’re sleeping in the Van and made the error of not making our bed up, so we have that faff to contend with. Soon, we settle down, The Dog making an excellent hot water bottle. She has been a star so far, she can struggle in these situations, but she’s proving us wrong. So we snuggle down and curl up for a good nights sleep.