Ahh, a day off the bikes to give the legs a rest and time to recuperate. We slept for 10 glorious hours and had a leisurely breakfast looking out to the glorious setting of mountains and Loch Assynt. The weather forecast was better for the morning than the afternoon so we decided to take a stroll up the valley and were soon surrounded by mountains and bog – but extraordinarily dry underfoot. The area was limestone and full of an underground network of caves – at one point we got a glimpse as the river dived underground through the undergrowth.
Walking back down the valley at a path intersection we met another chap who had set off at 5am to ‘bag’ a couple of Munros. He has done 98 so far. He was in the army and based in Edinburgh and did this as a hobby. He told us there was a complicated grading before a mountain qualifies as a Munro and there are about 5000 people in the UK who have climbed them all. A hobby that will certainly keep you fit.
The rest of the day we had a very lazy time and enjoyed reading and chilling. We then decided to take a trip and hitch hike into Lochinver, the nearest town, about 12 miles away. We soon got a lift from a couple staying there on holiday and as we did the forecast rain started to drizzle. It did not take long to walk round a rather damp Lochinver but in the process stopped at the ‘Pie Shop’ that makes an incredible array of pies and brought some for our lunch tomorrow and then had a great meal at Peet’s Restaurant – highly recommended if anyone is out this way! Wonderful seafood and I then had Chicken stuffed with haggis in whiskey sauce. Very delicious!
When we waddled out of the restaurant, equally stuffed, it was proper raining – the first we’ve had this holiday. We were sure that cars were bound to stop if we were standing bedraggled in the rain – and I am sure they would have but after 40 minutes not a single car had passed us in the direction back to Inchnadampf! The guide book I read that morning said that the population density in Sutherland was 6 people per square mile – well seems they all stay indoors when it is raining. Now you might think we are mad but we did have the forethought to take a taxi number with us and when we managed to get the phone dry enough to tap in the numbers we were fortunate that the taxi could come straight away and the pleasant lady taxi driver wasn’t at all concerned that we were dripping all over her car. She ran the taxi herself every day and 6 nights a week but could not make it pay…and now someone else had set up a taxi in the town and she said there just wasn’t enough business to go round. She would often stay up to 1am on a Friday night and not get a single call. Such a contrast to the last taxi we got – an Uber cab in London where the technology tells you there were 25 cabs in your area and someone was there in a couple of minutes. Never mind Scotland being a different country, this part at least is a totally different world with all its pluses and minuses