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Calamity Shane on the NC500 - Part 5 - Kyle of Tongue to Durness - Mr Grumpy Pants, No Boat Trip...

Calamity Shane on the NC500 - Part 5

Kyle of Tongue to Durness

Mr Grumpy Pants, No Boat Trip & John Lennon

We woke with a start at about 0630. By start I mean I pretty much wet myself. A vehicle with a rather loud train horn drove past and gave everyone in the layby a pretty early wake up blast of said train horn. I'd like to say the operator of this pretty loud noise maker was merely just testing it out at what they thought was a nice quiet out of the way location but I do doubt that very much. I doubt it because of the laughter that loudly followed the blast of earth shattering loudness.

Well we were awake, the sun was shining and the breeze was uncharacteristically warm. I leaned down and did my usual arm breaking search for the door lever (I actually said lever with an Americanism in my head for some reason) to the rear doors. It's a Transit van and the lever (I bet you said lever Americanly this time) is stupid. It's tiny and sits well recessed and unless you're a contortionist of at least level 64 then you will not open it from between a gap 2 foot above the lever. (said it again, didn't you?)

I gave up and darted outside in my boxers and flip flops and threw the doors open so we could lay there and admire the view.

The water was crystal clear and as calm as a toad in the sun. I noticed that the car camping family were also up and repeating the antics of the previous night, rather in reverse this time.

Kerry had suffered from a bad back the day before and this morning, after a night on some hefty pain killers, was feeling a bit better if a little dozy. We made some breakfast, set the van down and headed off.

We were aiming to be at Sango Sands campsite for 11am as that's when they open the gates for unbooked camping spots.

As the journey unravelled, we discovered some incredible roads with even more incredible scenery. I say discovered like I was Christopher Columbus venturing into the unknown, founding new lands, strange new worlds. I did feel like him though, the excitement was incomparable as I turned every corner faced with this alien land and beautifulness!

Loch Eribol was one of these beauties. So vast, with a twisty windy road around the edge, stunning farm houses and cottages dotted along the shore and views so beautiful you may turn blind if you stared too long.

As we drove along I caught a glimpse of a gentle low waterfall and managed to pull over for investigation. Slow running peat coloured water was softly flowing over super smooth boulders into a stream that most definitely turns into a raging torrent in the winter. I pictured it in my head as I stood on the boulders. The noise, the sight of foaming bubbling water twisting and rolling. But for now it was just a stream.

We made it to Sango Sands at a little past 1100. I dropped Kerry off to wait in line and went and parked round the corner before I joined her in the queue. 2 nights with electric (so hair straighteners could be used for the first time since we left and not by me) were paid for along with a pair of levelling chocks for the van wheels.

The next hour didn't go as planned. I got the pitch wrong and we were asked to move by a very disgruntled rightful owner of said pitch. I apologised but was met with an icy glare. It was a rubbish spot anyway, next to the bins and breakfast bar and no sea view. I went back to the office and the lady kindly showed us where our correct pitch was. But alas, there was no less than 10 tents pitched right on the only hook up pole that was ours. Now, I didn't want to be like the guy who's pitch we'd accidentally parked on, so just said "Hey, it's cool. The electric was only for straighteners anyway." Everyone was happy and smiley and the lady said "Hang on, I have just the place for you guys!" Well I think that's what she said, her Scottish accent was very broad!

After we'd parked and levelled up, I just had to walk the long way round to the shower block so I could quietly gloat and smile as I walked past Mr Grumpy's van knowing we were 10 foot from the cliff edge with an awesome side on sea view and a whole grass area to ourselves! Remember kids, kindness and smiles pays!

We chilled for a little while and soaked up our surroundings. We wandered over to the cliff edge and just stood there, awestruck and in silence at what lay before us! The most beautiful clear blue sea met the deepest blue skies I've ever seen. The waves as gentle as an angels kiss softly breaking on to the cotton wool like sand. Little fluffy clouds like something from a Pixar film dotted the sky. Then my belly rumbled loudly and brought us crashing back to life.

Kerry put the kettle on whilst I rustled us up some grub. I was just buttering the bread when she let out a few pretty loud and painful sounding swear words which I don't think I can really repeat here as her Dad will read this. Somehow, and I've no idea how, she managed to pour boiling water over her thumb. I grabbed the first aid kit and tipped the contents out looking for burn gel. I had none. I should've known that as not long ago the same kettle tipped itself over my own thumb too. I did remember however, that I went out to buy some burn gel but could only get Sudocreme. In case you were wondering, Sudocreme is primarily used for nappy rash but it's a proper little pot of sorcery and is good for burns too. And erm chaffing sores? Polite enough? Also sunburn, bites, stings and loads of other stuff. Anyway, ignoring my statement of "You really only need a little bit" she ended up with an inch thick layer of this white glutinous substance on her thumb and quickly realised just how hard and painful it is to get off a burned thumb!

Within minutes there was another squeal. A painful squeal. Kerry again, of course. This time it was her toe. Already painful for many months as the entire nail threatened to part company from the actual toe, but still reluctant to leave, clinging on in case it was going to miss something exciting rather like the drunk guy in the pub. Just hanging around pointlessly. She'd caught the nail putting her boots on.

Earlier on she had also hit her head on the doorway to side of the van, so what with the headache, bad back, burned thumb and now broken foot, our Kerry was a walking disaster. And I'm the calamitous one?

Many painkillers later, we finally embarked on an afternoon out to the beautiful beach below us. An exploratory visit during which we found a small troll like bridge at the end of a tiny waterfall, watched the waves break between the huge rocks and marvelled at the sheer beauty of this idyllic piece of the Highlands.

We were staying for two nights here and we were shattered so we cut it short and returned to the van where Kerry had a nap and I went to the shop up the road to restock on cold meats, crisps, snacks and fizzy pop! And cake.

We just chilled for the rest of the evening and I spent much of it quietly chuckling at Calamity Kerry....


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