The day dawned grey. Quelle surprise! So, it didn’t seem to be a dragonfly hunting day. Instead, we thought we’d play regular tourists.
There’s a couple of dead end turns around Gairloch, which is as major as a major town seems to get in this part of northwest Scotland. That is to say that it is blessed with more than one shop, which is all that Poolewe has. It also has a fuel station and we already know how rare they are. Francine had targeted one of those dead end roads and a helpful neighbour mentioned the other. We decided to investigate both roads.
The draw of the first of our turnings was that there was mention of the possibility of White-tailed Sea Eagles at its end, where we’d find a parking area. We could then walk a little way and hope to get lucky. The turn is in the centre of Gairloch itself. We took it, passing a couple of the shops, then continued 9 miles down a largely single track road with frequent passing places. At road’s end, there was indeed a parking place with room for five cars. Five cars were in it. Bother! I should point out that one does not abandon ship at the roadside here because to do so would effectively block the road. We returned the 9 miles, spotted a raptor en route which turned out to be “just” a Buzzard, and went to try our second dead end.
The road approaching Gairloch from the south, the way we had initially arrived, is a little heart-in-mouth when towing. There’s a section, 5 or 6 kms long, of single track road with frequent (fortunately) passing places. So, when towing, one has to proceed slowly enough to ensure that one can make it safely to the next passing place. It’s not difficult, just a bit tedious. Now heading south out of Gairloch, just before the single track section was the second of our right turns. As we left Gairloch, though, we were delayed by some interesting activity in a harbour. A group of folks was manually hauling in a fishing net. It looked as though there might be a fresh bounty here but it transpired that they were catching Sea Trout for research purposes. I considered offering to research their cooking methods and flavour but thought better of it.
Continuing, we made the right turn towards our second dead end of Red Point. Now we got to enjoy another 12kms of single track road. Single track roads are very popular in this part of Scotland. We paused at some windy habitat supporting quite a few Common Blue Damselflies and then we stopped at a road block of wandering cows and sheep. At least we were forewarned by a sign proclaiming “free roaming animals”.
At the very end of the road was another car park but we didn’t get to find out how many spaces it held before it became evident that it was already full to capacity; a van was reversing back out. Familiar story. A second car park slightly back down the road was more accommodating and provided a higher viewpoint.. We went “ooh, ahh” at the Isle of Sky across the straight and returned with ear worms driving us nuts.
The afternoon was brightened more than expected. Francine suggested going down to Loch Maree to look for dragonflies but I’d had enough of navigating single track roads by now. We returned to Guilaume to relax where the evening proved more successful. Firstly, being on the campsite at Poolewe with a view of Loch Ewe we didn’t need to find a parking space. Secondly, it looked as though Francine might finally get a chance of a sunset, the very reason I’d chosen this site. Sure enough, as the evening advanced the sun began sinking through a few breaks in the cloud. After the first shot below, about 22:20, it was tempting to think that the show was all over. Not so. Waiting a further 20 minutes turned the golden glow to orange as the underside of the clouds lit up with the sun now below the horizon.
Francine’s efforts were not without their trials. Midges! She had gone out wearing her Incognito insect repellent. This is supposed to disguise the fact that you are a food source rather than actually to repel insects. It’s sold more for mosquitos but claims to be effective against other flying pests. The midges were nonetheless bothersome. Francine switched to what is reputedly the chosen insect repellent of the SAS, Avon’s Skin So Soft. This fact conjures up wonderful images of macho guys armed to the teeth and smelling like big girl’s blouses. Utterly terrific. Francine reported, though that the midges did retreat to a respectful distance. Maybe they thought she was SAS. Lesson learned. No wonder Skin so Soft is sold in many of the campsites and camping shops round here.