So, Monday 2nd August saw us trying to put an incredible amount of stuff into the trailer and various parts of the car, still leaving enough space for a driver, five passengers and lunch.
We left around 1 pm, it all took a little longer than anticipated.
Off we went and after a relatively easy drive, we found The Sands at Gairloch just as we left it last year, a bit breezy and a tad grey.
After a quick drive round, we found someone had pinched our ‘spot’, the very nerve, so we pitched close by, organised havoc ensued with four children holding down a corner each whilst two adults bravely battled poles, pins, pegs and wind.
Tuesday, 3rd August
It was a breezy night, occasionally a bit gusty, and I woke in the early hours and convinced myself I hadn’t actually been asleep, but David assured me I had been snoring. He’s kind like that. I always find the first night a little nerve wrecking, especially when it’s windy, but we coped.
After doing battle with the queues in the shower block (they really should update their facilities, it could be a top class site), we set off to visit Sam and Ian French at the Gairloch Marine Life Centre and Cruises. It took a while to catch up on all the news, as we are both families with four children, but chatting over, we finally got down to the important bit of booking our cruise. Then we went off for a spot of shopping, coffee and snack, pitch and putt, lunch at the Old Inn and crabbing. Not necessarily in that order!
Rock pooling and crabbing
Then we had dinner and sheltered in the tent a while before bed.
Wednesday, 4th August
We were up and organised, because we were going on a boat trip! Sam and Ian were ready and waiting and after the safety talk, our holiday really began.
Sammy the seal
We got damp on our boat trip, which was a first, but saw lots of bird life as well as seals. We always have a fantastic time when we go out on the boat with Ian, he’s a Marine Biologist as well as having an incredible amount of local knowledge of the area and often gives tips for the best places to watch and enjoy the local wildlife on land. If ever you are in Gairloch, this is the only marine wildlife centre to visit and boat trip worth taking. I know I’ve been on holiday if I’ve been on my boat trip!
David, relaxing in a sheltered, sunny spot behind the wind break.
Then we had lunch, gift shopped and relaxed before dinner, (food features a bit when we’re on holiday…). We went out for dinner, on Sam’s recommendation, to Na Mara in Gairloch which was very nice, although we did feel we were being rushed a little, as opposed to the other large family which was there before us and still there when we left. The food was good and a reasonable price.
Thursday, 5th August
We had a much better night. We also had a plan. Today, we would visit Inverewe Gardens. We’ve been before, but it’s always worth a visit, you never see it all in one go and as we are usually in the area a few weeks early, there would be different flowers in bloom.
I know I always take sloping photographs, but Rhiannon really was sitting on a bench on a slope, honest!
Then we went off to Redpoint and got eaten alive by midgies as we did a little geocaching. Rhiannon stayed at the tent. There were some fabulous views of Skye and out to all the other islands.
Friday, 6th August
Today, we would be geocaching. I would have preferred to have been walking, but geocaching is a kind of bribe at the moment, so I’d downloaded a few to the Geko before we left home and off we went.
The first two were beyond Poolewe at Rubha nan Sasan. There is an information board about the remains of WWII gun emplacements which once protected the Atlantic convoys and a memorial to lost Russian crews. This made the caches a little more interesting and a little bit of a hunt ensued to find both caches while the girls stayed in the car to read a book.
The first cache and a fantastic view. It involved a little bit of a walk and a scramble. A few midgies too.
The third cache was on the way back to Poolewe and Ciara joined us for this one which was a bit of a scramble just off the road.
A little bribery of Pringles and Oreos was needed to coax Rhiannon to join us for the fourth cache at the Pictish burial ground in Poolewe. Another information board added interest.
As this was to be our last day, David had to take the boys fishing off the pier at Gairloch as he’d promised, so Ciara and I went along.
David caught these three, the first and most productive catch of the evening. The boys dealt with them ably.
Ciara and I decided to have an adventure of our own and went off to find another cache close by. As you can see, midgie nets needed to be deployed.
We had a terrific time, despite it being breezy to start, but at least now, I know we’ve had the summer holidays. Next year is likely to be our last proper family holiday, as Rhiannon is getting older and more vocal about what she wants to do, so it’ll be a luxury holiday cottage in Orkney for a treat. The children and I have never been, but David used to live there, so he can take the lead on this one and do the planning (ha, ha).
Back to reality. Still got wedding outfits to sort!