Calamity Shane on the NC500 - Part 7
Durness to Achmelvic Bay and Many Things In Between
Witches, Handsome Bridges and Sexy Stags
Once again, the sun crept its way up over the horizon casting its warming beams over the van. It was a chilly night so for once the warmth was welcome. I'd had a restless night and hit my head many times on the unforgiving wood panelling and somehow even managed to scrape my elbow and bleed everywhere. Kerry spent the night impersonating a starfish which isn't cool in a 2-foot square bed. But nonetheless, I enjoy the closeness vanlife brings!
After bacon sandwiches and enough caffeine to make me violently shake and talk in a high pitched voice, we packed the van down and headed off feeling very refreshed after our 2 night stay in this glorious campsite!
I desperately wanted to go to Cape Wrath, if only because it has a name like something out of a SciFi movie. So I was pretty distraught when I discovered there were no roads to Cape Wrath, only many miles of marshland which I really didn't want to hike across. So we were forced to cut off that great swathe of land and continue our journey along the A838.
We weren't let down though as the scenery changed into that of vast hills and mountains and wildlands straight from the Big Friendly Giant storybook. We pulled over to admire the beauty before us for a while and went for a quick hike up the hills where we found the remnants of some witchcraft or summat. There were the ashes of a small fire with a bundle of heather tied on top and oddly arranged stones around it. Not your usual "keep warm" fire, most definitely sorcery going on here. So we legged it before we ended up in a cauldron.
After we came to the oddly romantic and weirdly visually stunning spectacle that is the Kylesku Bridge and having stopped for the obligatory photo shoot, we came to a signpost that intrigued me: "Warning! Single track roads, steep hills of 30% and blind summits". Well, something along those lines. It also pointed to an alternative easier route. Which we didn't take, naturally. This road it turns out is called The Wee Mad Road. And holy moly it did not let us down! It was twisty, narrow, and oh so steep! So so steep! It really was stomach churning. We passed some glorious scenery but were unable to stop as my brakes were hot and my clutch was smelly, so I thought it would be better to keep going as I feared if I stopped, I wouldn't get going again and we'd end up stuck there, eating grass for food and growing long wispy beards.
I blocked out Kerry's screaming for the most part and eventually, we came to a little village called Drumbeg with a whisky shop. We pulled over as by then the brakes had cooled and went for a short wander. We didn't get far because Kerry spent the next half hour talking to a mummy sheep about abandoning her lamb and was getting increasingly concerned that the lamb wasn't following. I just stood there, looking at this beautiful woman talking to a smelly old sheep. She never got her whisky and I never got a chance to top up my caffeine levels.
Onwards we drove. I had noticed this pick-up truck with canoes on the roof, everywhere we went that day. On the Wee Mad Road too. And sure enough, when we pulled up at a lush looking bay there he was again. But this time he was taking the canoes off the back, seemingly he had found his spot to oar, or paddle or whatever it is you do in a tiny sailless boat.
We, however, were heading for Clashnessie Falls. Hopefully they'd be switched on as so far none of the others we'd been to see were working.
After a short hike along a speedy road, we found a little hand painted sign that read "Falls This Way". The path was well trodden, worn and sloshy. This always disappoints me as it looks awful and makes me think of the trodden down flora. It's a weird thought as I'm also doing the same. I'm always careful though to stick to the given path, choosing to walk through the puddles and bogs rather than help expand them further. It's catch 22 I guess.
We came to a stream or as the Scots would say "Burn". There was an obvious stepping stone path across it but Kerry was too busy looking for a way across to notice it. I hopped across with ease and stood on the other side admiring Kerry's enthusiasm as yes paced up and down the bank, pointing and plotting a route, silently mumbling to herself lord knows what!
Eventually though, possibly after hearing my giggles, she noticed me stood on the opposite bank and her gaze followed my nod as I hinted as to where the stepping stones were.
Clashnessie Falls were working! Not in all their majestic glory but there was water and it was foaming and dribbling over the edge of the rock 20 metres or so above us. It was a fantastic sight, and my first ever look see at a proper waterfall. We both took turns in taking photos of each other on the stones where the water lands and admired its power. The spray was colder than a penguins arsehole but we survived the amateur photoshoot and headed back to the van for coffee and a warm up. I got told off for being a prat by our Kerry on the way back for walking on a bridge wall. I thought it was funny, but she most definitely didn't...
As the day was getting on, and I'd had enough of driving, we decided to look for somewhere to stay for the night. We both wanted a beach nearby and I wanted a chippy. We scoured The Campervan Bibles online map of many thousands of places to stay and found not too far away, an idyllic campsite, on the beach that had a chippy! What in the name of St Francis the Brave are the chances of that?
An awesome find, only it was full. Of course it was full. But, the young girl on the desk leaned over and said "I shouldn't say this but you passed a little pop-up site as you came through the gate". If the manager that manages this girl reads this, she didn't say it really. I made it up.
The pop up site, literally by the gate of the campsite had space. It was in a big dip with the only view being the sides of the big dip but there was space nonetheless and we were able to use the chippy on the other campsite too.
I hadn't even got the van ready and Kerry was off down to the beach. It was now a scorcher of a day, probably around 20c but warm enough to laze on the beach. Now, the beach was glorious! White sand, crystal clear deep blue waters, sheltered by the cliff walls surrounding the cove! Infamous on the NC500 route but quiet still. I did like it here, a lot!
Hungry, I got us smoked sausage and chips from the chippy and we ate. Content, we had a snooze in the van for a bit before heading up the coastal cliffs to watch the sunset. And what an absolutely incredible sunset it was too! We were so far north that the sun makes a weird kind of dive just before touchdown. We spent around 20 minutes or so marvelling at a stag in the far distance before the antlers separated and made their way down the cliffside independent of each other. Turns out we'd been watching a couple have some sexy time...
We got the obligatory "hold the sun in your hand" shots just as the gazillions of midges emerged from the flora at our feet and started to devour us. The only time we could have done with the Smidge, we didn't have it with us. Typical!.
Running, we headed for the van and the end to that days adventures. And a bit of sexy time of our own...