I am writing today’s post from the confines of my tent as the rain has, unfortunately, begun. As I passed through Oban on my way to the campsite at Lochilphead it began and it’s been on and off ever since (apparently it’s going to get heavier during the night) so I’ve decided to prepare myself for the evening with all of my supplies and retire to my (hopefully) waterproof home.
I’ve had a lovely day today. It didn’t start off particularly well as I was greeted by a swarm of midges as I opened the tent door. They don’t seem to be biting me yet, but they are lingering ominously. I actually just counted 18 dead ones of the inside of my tent, I’d had enough so I went at them with the midge and mosquito repellant (I just squashed them with the bottle as they’re easy enough to kill). I’ve topped up on Avon’s Skin So Soft replenishing dry oil body spray as everyone seems to recommend it as an unofficial repellent. Fingers crossed it keeps working!
Once I’d left the campsite and midges I drove to the lighthouse at Ardnamurchan. She’s a beauty and contains a visitor’s centre which involves a tour of the top of the lighthouse. It was 152 steps to the top and I almost did it all without stopping. The tour guide wasn’t exactly the most animated of people, just giving brief facts every now and then and barely trying to answer any questions he was asked. He was quite chatty when I was talking to him on my own though. The views from the lighthouse were amazing, it really is a stunning area. My funniest moment of the day though was definitely when we were just heading back down from the top of the lighthouse and two guys asked if they could come up, to which the old guy said ‘have you got tickets’ and they said that they hadn’t, so he just turned them away and said ‘no, you can’t come up’, so they had to walk all the way back down the 152 steps. Brilliant!
While I was waiting for the tour of the lighthouse to begin, I decided to have a cup of tea and got chatting to a brilliant guy. His name is Chris Young and he was previously a social worker until he was diagnosed with a mental health disorder, which forced him to give up work. In an effort to raise awareness of mental health problems, he decided to walk around the coast of Scotland with just his rucksack and a trolley (named Hubert). Inspired by a guy who travelled extensively through Russia, Pakistan and numerous other countries with no money, he decided to do the same (except for a £5 note his partner put in his first aid kit, which he has yet to use). Basically, he’s wild camping most nights and just making the most of people’s generosity. The other night a pub in Applecross (which I fortunately managed to miss – it has the scariest and highest road in the UK according to a couple of sources) held a raffle for him and one morning, when he’d been sleeping in someone’s garden, he was greeted by the lady who owned the house the following morning and was asked if he would like bubbles in his bath. Anyway, you can find out all about him and his journey at http://ow.ly/1sTvOv. I thought I’d do my bit to support his efforts by giving him a lift to the Mull ferry.
In the car park at Ardnamurchan I re-met a guy who had stayed at the same campsite as me last night. As I had arrived I saw him standing there and he said ‘I’m just standing here trying to get signal on my phone, but welcome to the campsite’ and then directed me to the owner. That seemed to be very much his unofficial role at the campsite. I didn’t get a chance to speak to him last night, but found out today that his name’s Michael, he’s from Chester and he was just in the area to chill out. Simple as that!
Anyway, my second stop today was Corran where you can catch the ferry across to Inchree. The reason for my stop here was two-fold. Firstly, there’s a lighthouse at Corran (pictured). She’s lovely. I wasn’t really expecting a full on lighthouse, perhaps just a smaller structure, but I was wrong. It’s a great setting.
Once back on dry land I was delighted to be on a sensible road again! No more single-track road for me today! You really do get around so much faster when you don’t have to worry about winding in and out of mountains and trees or when you might next be faced with a car coming in the opposite direction.
I then stopped at Port Appin. This is another of those smaller places with little lighthouses that no one really speaks about. It was absolutely adorable though and I got some great pictures of the small islands in the loch (one of which had the lighthouse on). Just beautiful!
I am now ready to tackle the Mull of Kintyre tomorrow. Apparently it’s the scariest road to reach a lighthouse in Scotland, zigzagging 1000 feet downhill. Nice! 🙂