From Lewis, we caught another ferry from Stornaway to Ullapool on the mainland and drove straight to Achiltibuie. Well, more accurately Tom drove with Esme and half way along the road, threw me out and I ran alongside Lochs Lurgairnn, Bad a Ghaill and Osgaig, meeting them at the awesome Achnahaird Bay. In addition to her love for cold water Esme has a penchant for shells, stones, rocks, dried seaweed and the odd dead crab, or parts thereof. Her passion for collecting natural objects has resulted in us designating a whole cupboard in the motorhome just for these supposed “treasures”. We still have them. Aside from the body parts of dead crustaceans.
We stayed at Port a Bhaigh campsite for two nights, and ideal spot right on the beach overlooking the Summer Isles. It was here that Esme found her love for performing “tricks” on her bike. Blessed with her mother’s bike handling ability, these tricks resulted in more than a few wipe outs. Unlike me, she chose to ride in bare feet and a unicorn onesie, the latter not being known for its aerodynamic or wicking properties but great for reducing the impact of the countless falls.
The next step of the journey was an obligatory pie at the famous, and rightly deserving of all the accolades, Lochinver Larder. Best pies we have ever had. My only regret was that we didn’t follow the steak and veg pie with a sweet, apple and cinnamon version – if only to be able to advise on whether apple and cinnamon is better in a pie or a bun. That said, they do send pies in the post, so I’m tempted to put in a regular order.
We spent the day exploring the beaches and trails of Achmelvich Beach followed by an overnight stop in Lairg. From there we headed to another of our favourite places in the world…the Cairngorms National Park. Having been told about Landmark Forest Adventure Park, we decided to make that our first stop and spent a whole day climbing, jumping, swinging but most of all going up and down, and up and down and up and down the three water slides. I think Tom and I loved it as much as Esme.
That night we wild camped overlooking Loch Morlich, close to the base of Cairngorm Mountain. And what a view it was. The skies were blue, the subsequent sunset sublime and we woke to see three majestic reindeer, minus Father Christmas much to Esme’s disappointment, walking meters away from our motorhome.