Calamity Shane on the NC500 - Part 6 -Kyle of Tongue to Durness - Mr Grumpy Pants, No Boat Trip &...
Calamity Shane on the NC500 - Part 6
Kyle of Tongue to Durness
Mr Grumpy Pants, No Boat Trip & John Lennon
We had so far struck it lucky with the weather and had not yet seen any rain. Today was no different either. It was 7 am and the sun was beaming down from the sky with the vigour of a nun in a sex shop. I could feel the van starting to heat up, the morning mist slowly burned away to reveal another glorious day!
10 am came around and the lovely warden who sorted us out yesterday asked if we would like a pitch right on the cliff edge! Erm yeah, we would! Thanks very much! So whilst Kerry was off having a shower, I set everything down in the van and rolled across to the cliff edge and reversed up so the back doors were facing the view! And what a view! I was a little scared we may end up at the bottom of the view and turning into the actual view but it was a risk I was willing to take. If only Mr Grumpy Pants could see us now!
Kerry was as excited at our new spot as I was and equally as concerned: "But what if your handbrake fails again?" She asked. I just grinned like a 14 year old looking at the knicker section of Littlewoods. "Who Cares! Look what lays before us! We'll probably roll that way anyway" I lied.
We got ready and headed out on foot to Smoo Caves, a place we'd read so much about, promising an interactive boat caving tour to include hidden waterfalls and caves and other stuff to make you drop your jaw in awe. A short walk up a ridiculously steep hill and a bit more of a walk along the road, we found the steps down to the caving experience. The steps down were awkward, too big to just "step down" as they were also long which made for a weird uncool kind of half-step shuffle big drop half step extra step shuffle big drop back jarring wobble down to the bottom. Puffing and panting we decided not to use the bridge to cross the trickle of water, rather hop across the stones which turned out to be very slippery and we both almost ended up in the rather deep trickle of water!
As we turned the corner, we saw the huge cavern, the corners lit up by huge floodlights. It was eerily quiet, everyone whispering. This was a very bad time for me to stumble and accidentally drop a large fart out. We've all done that, a little trip that catches us out but why do we fart though? No one seemed to notice despite the odd farty echo and my childish giggles. The queue seemed small but people were turning back and walking out again. Kerry spied a whiteboard with a long list consisting of several columns of names and times. It seemed it was booked up for the day. Damn it. I didn't fancy it anyway. We were able to walk along the bridge though which took you to the start of the tour and gave you a wonderful view of an underground waterfall, all lit up.
We climbed back up the weird steps again which was an even more arduous task than descending, but made it up with a couple of rest stops during which we reflected on how unfortunate we'd been so far in not actually being able to do any touristy stuff at all! However, that was soon to change when we noticed there was no queue at the Toastie Van, whose actual business name escapes me. This is a pretty famous food van with well renowned offerings all based on toasted sandwiches. Food ordered, we scoffed and agreed that their stature was well earned. With our first touristy thing accomplished we headed back via our second touristy thing: The John Lennon Memorial Garden. What a day this was turning out to be! There's not much one can say about the garden, to be honest, but it's peaceful and well kept albeit small. We sat quietly for a few moments in contemplation before looking at each other and bursting out in song. It's what he would have wanted, right?
When we returned to the campsite, we headed straight back to the beach. Kerry was adamant about getting back in the sea so this was an opportunity not to be missed! We headed down to the bay but not the one in the view from the van, no. There is another bay that was a bit of a daredevil descent to get to. It's on the left as you look out towards Iceland and is every bit as stunning as the one on the right, just quieter. Likely due to the haphazard route down to the sand.
Once at the bottom, Kerry was away, shoes off, top off, and running. I also, after much coercing, took my shoes off and paddled out a few feet. That was all I could manage though, that water was the coldest water of the liquid variety I had ever felt! How the water wasn't actually ice, I don't know! I didn't last long and soon was dodging the jellyfish and running back to put my warm socks back on, and wished I'd brought my big coat with me.
We wandered the cove for a while, discussing the last few days events and how glad we were that we had made no specific plans. This truly was an adventure of a lifetime!
Once back on the site, we settled down for some dinner/tea/supper/whatever and watched the sun go down over the horizon, relaxing as it snuffed itself out on the cold calmish water. A peaceful night lay ahead, listening to the waves gently break against the rocks just below us.
I got blamed for snoring again, but I'm sure Kerry was just waking herself up really and just blaming me. I definitely farted in my sleep though.
One thing I learned over the last couple of days was being a Mr Grumpy Pants gets you nowhere. So smile and the world smiles with you.