Tuesday, 27 September 2011

a highland fling

I am sitting overlooking a loch. It would be pretty spectacular if it stopped raining for long enough for me to see the water. Really, this is the kind of rain that they have in the Bible.

In light of the rain, we took a ride out to the tourist information to enquire what we might do on a rainy day in this beautiful spot. The tourist information woman – Carol – had one suggestion. ‘Have you tried the wildlife hide?’ We had.

Actually it had been pretty magnificent. We turned up, with none of the correct outdoor activity gear, just at the right time to see a group of otters playing on the island and a couple of seals coming into shore. And then we left. It was cold and damp – I’m sure you’ll understand.

Well, what a success. How very efficient of us. The people who were waterproofed up to the nines in the hide had likely been sitting there for several hours. Then, these two imposters turn up in jeans, (jeans are useless in rain) and get all the action in twenty minutes.  I wouldn’t have liked us very much either.

When we had first arrived at our accommodation, Val (the cottage owner) showed us around. She handed us the key, which had a wind up torch as a key-ring. ‘City types don’t tend to have a torch to hand’ she’d said. I wanted to tell her that I had an app that served as a pretty bright torch, but as a city type, I just keep quiet.

This place is unspoilt, uncrowned and often shut.

Mo’s fish and chip shop, which proudly displayed a sign claiming it was the ‘best fish and chip shop in Scotland’ had run out of fish. On a Saturday night, at 7pm. Oh - and curry sauce. And chips. Actually, turned out that Mo hadn’t run out of any of the above, but she wanted to get home to see the X-Factor, and our custom was set to get in the way of the opening credits.

Obviously no establishment takes card. Obviously we hadn’t thought this through, and as such have a limited supply of money. There is one petrol station with limited opening hours. We did however have enough spare change to buy raspberries from an honestly box at the side of the road. Yum. Actually, I hope the petrol station accepts Visa. If I could get signal I’d phone ahead to check.

There is little scope here for the 24-7 facilities of the modern world most of us inhabit. You might wonder how people survive without Tesco Metro, but it seems they’re surviving just fine.

Tomorrow we’ll show up at Ardnamurchan Point just in time to catch a pod of whales, capture the moment in high-res on our smart phones -and annoy another bunch of waterproofed professionals.

You should visit; it really is a chance to enjoy a gentler pace of life in the most beautiful spot. Just don’t expect to get fish and chips for your supper; seems people have got better things to do.

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