Hello from Scotland’s cleanest bookkeeper! This has been a week of finding showers, albeit in some unexpected places – but if you can’t be too sure when the next one will be, you take every opportunity!
I’ve had 3(!) warm showers this week, which my hair has been very grateful for. The lochs are beautiful for rinsing off after a long hike, but not exactly the place for me to lather, rinse and repeat!
The first was most definitely the strangest (and smelliest, but not in the way you might think!) shower .. We had seen on the app that we use for finding places to park up etc mentions of a shower at the harbour – and ‘’at the harbour’’ it was! In fact, it was literally the shower for the fishermen fresh off the trawlers from week-long fishing trips in the Atlantic! There was an overriding smell of fish, I can’t lie, but I was happy to be clean. They also had a washing machine and tumble dryer, which again, you don’t say no to!
The second shower of the week was probably the most enjoyable I’ve ever had, for the reasons that it was warm, clean and FREE. The town of Torridon, from the goodness of their hearts, it seems, have set up a shower block with access to drinking water too. For free.
And the third shower was in the train station at Fort William. It did cost a fiver, but again, it was nice and clean, and very enjoyable.
So other than being relatively clean, what else have we gotten up to this week?
Well, we spent a few days on Skye, which has been by far the most touristy spot we’ve come across. It was very busy, but still we had no problem finding places to park up for the night etc. I am a big lover of the sea and all it’s creatures, so we took a little boat trip out from the main town, Portree. Something really amazing was seeing a sea eagle! The boat guy was able to lure it down from its rocky crag with a fish, and it really was majestic to see. This is a bird that can have up to an 8 foot wingspan! And of course, there was a colony of seals bathing out on the rocks, which is always just a happy sight to see.
The next day was a quick hike up to the The Old Man of Storr, and then we took a drive right up to the north or the isle, to a place called Rubha Hunish.
And there is where we saw dolphins! After our walk out to the tip, we had pulled up to make dinner, and just as we were sat there, looking out to sea, suddenly we start seeing these fins popping up, and before we know it, we’re watching a pod of probably 15-20 dolphins passing, and even at times fully jumping out of the water. Dinner and a show!
We couldn’t leave Scotland without visiting a whiskey distillery. We’re honestly not big whiskey drinkers, but we felt it had to be done. Visiting the one we did was almost entirely decided on the fact that they serve chocolate cake with your drink! It’s actually very new on the scene, and due to the fact that the Scottish whiskey LAW says it must be aged for 3 years minimum, they only actually began to sell their whiskey in March this year. Nc’nean, name derived from the Celtic goddess of ‘spirits’ (see what they did there), is the first distillery to be carbon neutral, and it was really cool to hear how everything they do is sustainable and environmentally friendly. One way they’re reducing waste is by using pre-used barrels to age the whiskey – some were Kentucky Bourbon barrels, others were previously used for Spanish Rioja etc – which actually means that each batch has a unique taste. Part of their mission is appealing to women, since the whiskey market is pretty oriented to advertising to men, and so they also produce a kind of gin-whiskey botanicals mix which can be made into a long drink with tonic, and that I very much enjoyed!
And it was on this day that our almost perfect run weather-wise in Scotland came to an end. The forecast was not looking promising, so we decided that this was the time to make our swift exit. So, staying ahead of the rain, which was due to be traveling south, we made our way down to the Lake District.
Scotland is a van-lifer’s dream. I think I’ve said it before but they’re practically asking you to pull up and stay – with big lay-bys, free car parks, plenty of public toilets, and even free showers. We were prepared that on returning to England we may have to try to be a little more stealthy, and straight away we found that you really CANNOT stay in the Lake District National Park except on a designated campsite. We overcame this problem by locating a lay by just over the border, and nipping back out of the park each night.
And I have to wrap up this blog with a sad confession – we failed to climb Scaffell Pike. I’m never one to complain about the sun, but the 28 degrees was a little unforgiving for what is a really tough hike. Even though Scaffell is small than others we’ve climbed, the path is not so fun. It is steep from the off and kind of just doesn’t relent. After about 30 minutes of panting and sweating our way up, the allure of the crystal blue lake below became too much .. so we popped ourselves back down, grabbed some ice cream and headed down with our paddle board for a much more refreshing afternoon activity!
Next week, we actually have plans with friends way down at the south of England, so we do have quite some miles to cover .. but I’ll tell you all about that next time! Read more about our travel adventure here.