TTS decided family time was required, so last minute leave was booked, The Palace was checked over and a few pole repairs made and plans made for a quick getaway on Tuesday. Of course, the weather forecast that had looked okay suddenly looked a little dodgy for the first night, but we made a dash for the north west regardless (minus our eldest, boo hoo) to our favourite spot at Gairloch.
On the way, we popped in to say hello to Sam and Ian and to book our annual wildlife boat trip for the Thursday afternoon. It was nice to have a chinwag and a good gossip with Sam.
The Sands Holiday Centre has barely changed since we were last there, two years ago, but we wisely chose not to jostle for our usual spot, up near the toilet and shower block, as it can be a little exposed. Instead, we found a more sheltered pitch in some dunes lower down with an electric hook up for those little creature comforts I rarely get enjoy whilst camping!
Not much else was achieved that evening, except to pop back into Strath for supplies and then cooking dinner and eating it, a yummy, substantial Meatball and Pasta Soup.
As ever in Gairloch, I lay in bed that night, praying for the wind to stop. I was quite glad when it started to rain, even though we’re not quite watertight. It drowned out the sound of the wind!
On Wednesday we planned to walk. We’d chosen not to do the boat trip because the weather looked iffy, so warm layers and waterproofs were packed into our day sacks for our little trundle from Poolewe around Loch Kernsary and back along the shortest river in the UK, River Ewe. This turned out to be a really lovely route along good paths with fabulous views. You really got the feeling of walking into the wilderness as we only saw one chap in the distance at the start of the walk and no one else until towards the end.
Approximately 6.33 miles, 812 ft total ascent and around 3 hours.
We had a much better night and woke on Thursday wishing for a little breeze, the midgies were out! Still, we were able to spend a pleasant morning doing a little gift shopping, having coffee and cake and a late lunch before joining Ian, his work experience lad, James, a French couple and five Spaniards on the MV Starquest to go out in search of wildlife.
We saw a seal, guillemots, gannets, skua, razor bill, cormorants, jelly fish and harbour porpoise before the main event, a pod of at least 30 common dolphin. Absolutely fantastic! As ever, we had a wonderful trip with Ian, in his usual informative and dry, Nottingham style. Brilliant. Once we were ashore again, the boys wanted to have a few casts off the pier, as is becoming family tradition. A few fish were caught, a couple got away and the others were all too small and allowed to go free. Phew.
We had another pleasant evening and quiet night before a really easy decamp on Friday morning, no rush, no hassle, no stress. The children have all reached a size and ability to be given jobs and be useful, making family camping a real pleasure. As we left Gairloch, the dolphins appeared again to say goodbye, having a feeding frenzy in the bay. It was a short but wonderful trip to one of our favourite places.