June was a month of travelling for me. After a short break in Madrid, I spent a week in the wild west of Scotland. The Ardnamurchan peninsula is the most westerly point in the UK and it’s very remote. There are no towns, no shopping malls, and barely any cellphone reception. It’s a perfect place to relax and spend some time at a slower pace of life – reading, hiking, eating good food, and watching out for wildlife.
This was the view from the house where we stayed, opposite Loch Sunart, a sea loch which is 19 miles long. The main road on the island runs alongside the loch for several miles.
Well, I say ‘main road’. In fact, the B8007 road is mostly single-track and hardly ever straight. A mile isn’t a mile here; it’s an ‘Ardnamurchan mile’, as the locals say. Going somewhere 10 miles down the road, something that I wouldn’t usually think twice about, takes twice as long.
I’ve never been prone to travel sickness. Planes, trains, buses, cars… all fine. But on Ardnamurchan, the twisty-turny roads did start to make me feel nauseous! The views were worth it though. The blue water and white sand of Sanna Bay (below) looks almost Caribbean, don’t you think? Until you dip a toe in the freezing waters of the Atlantic, that is.
At 62° F/17°C, the weather was just about warm enough for a little ‘sunbathing’ (while wearing a warm jumper). Reading a book while lazing on a picnic blanket in the sheltered sand dunes was a idyllic way to spend an afternoon.
You can often see whales and dolphins off the coast of Ardnamurchan, but there was no luck for us this time. The eagles and otters were being pretty secretive too. Although we did manage to see a pine marten, which came to the garden of our house in the evening.
We were told to leave out peanut butter sandwiches (the pine marten’s favourite, apparently!), and this little tree-dwelling mammal came scampering through the garden on two evenings. On the third evening, we put out the same PB sarnies, but we had an unexpected visitor: a badger. Clearly they have a taste for peanut butter too!
Pine martens and badgers weren’t the only wildlife sightings. Stopping by a wildlife hide which overlooked the tranquil view in the photo below, we saw a colony of seals playing. As an aside, which is completely off-topic, I find the collective nouns for groups of animals so interesting: a colony of seals, a journey of giraffes, an exaltation of larks. It’s so poetic! Here, spend a while reading this link and tell me your favourite.
While the seals were putting on their show of acrobatics in the water, a heron periodically flew by, backwards and forwards along its flight path, and a group of Canada geese glided past.
The ferry crossing to the Isle of Mull is also reputed to be a great opportunity to see wildlife. Alas, we saw none, but the views from the crossing were pretty, and we arrived at the small town of Tobermory with its brightly painted houses.
I’ve included some of my favourite images from the rest of the trip in a slideshow below. Have you ever been to Scotland? Does this post make you want to lace up your hiking boots and set out across the Highlands?