In two and a half hours we have arrived at Dunston near Stafford, changing drivers at the services. S… now in the hot seat. 10mph slower than T….
A more upright position. Getting used to the car.
Holmchapel. VOTE PIES.
Rivington. Chorley. Euxton.
Blue hills on a distant skyline…
Preston, Burnley and the Pennines.
Bowland to the greying east.
The maps now start to name the hills. ‘Parlick’ and ‘Fairsnape’
Road and rail thread through Garstang. Sun of roof and dry stone wall.
11.00am – Welcome to Cumbria.
Pass over Shap where the road divides, and slips between two National Parks.
Clever. The boundaries of each lie just a mile or so either side of the motorway which cuts between the hills.
Without the restriction of NP status, ‘they’ could widen the road if ‘they’ needed to.
or just felt like it. When are such decisions ever based on need?
Junction 42 serves the village of Unthank. If we could mount the air…
Touring the scenery via the atlas in my hand.
Maps, not apps.
Happy to gaze.
Midday, and into Scotland. Approaching halfway.
Passing (in the middle lane) the Tallinn chapter of Harley Davidson riders. Shiny and superb. 40 or more Estonian bikers
Lunch at Moffat, 12.35
Ariete’s cafe on the left side of the main street, just two miles off the motorway.
A welcoming, attractive market town. The Singing Potter and the Toffee shop.
Fuel and toasties all round.
Friendly service, good food well priced.
Bawdy jokes about young, attractive waitresses. Can’t say I noticed.
Smiles and good humour prevail, despite the pissing rain.
Someone shouts out “Rook” and I make notes in my book.
Swifts screaming over head. They won’t head any further north.
A 2-bed cottage on the market for just £70K.
Lanarkshire is dull and damp. Slagheaps and broken coalmines.
The end of the motorway leads to Glasgow shipyards.
Isn’t the Clyde a narrow river?
They used to have to put ‘something’ on the opposite bank so as not to damage the ships they launched from workshops on each side.
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town.
It’s all they’re skilled in…
The Erskine Bridge. Dumbarton.
First traffic lights for 450 miles. Winnall. N… drives too fast, and leaves no room for error.
Either his or theirs. Tense and we are all wishing he was not behind the wheel
1430 – 8 hours in. Loch Lomond. Snow on hills.
Bright sun on the water.
Fort William on the signs. How did we get so far?
Glen Coe. Snow, but heavy mist.
Is this Hell, or simply Rannoch Moor?
Vast, bleak and forbidding. Loch Ba of steely grey.
A Man Could Get Lost
Driving heavy, cold rain seems perfect somehow as mountains become the norm. The granite so grey.
Infinite in all directions.
Why did god make gems so small, yet make the granite vast?
So that mankind should love the latter more
17:30 – Fort William. Thirty years have passed in just 11 hours.
It was pissing with rain then too, so probably has not stopped in between.
Shopping in Morrison’s. cake and tea. Rushed.
Tony is within sniffing distance of the end and urges us on.
Over the Caledonian Canal and into the Great Glen via Invergarry and Spean Bridge.
Look, there’s a Jay. They won’t head any further north.
Gorse in full yellow starts to call again the sun.
Caution – goats for three miles.
This is Highland. Ross-shire. Sutherland.
Trees in the valleys where there are fences. Gorse and heather. Moorland, granite. Slopes and snow
On departure, we had hoped to be at dinner before 21.00 when The Clachan shuts its kitchen.
Indeed, food and ale (a light Skye IPA) were on the table by the fire at 19.30
Raise a glass. A toast.
We are here!
That miniature garden bursting with flowering shrubs.
A lochside view.
The castle down the road. The one on all the calendars.
A piper plays
Greetings Frae Bonnie Scootland.
The tiny cottage is so… Oh my God, I’m struck.
It’s wonderful. And small, and funny. Cute and back in time.
WTF is running through my head?
Is that my bed?
That tiny mattress on the floor beside the stair?
I guess I’m there.
Youngest after all, and ‘really short’ so the ceiling sloping over my head makes it more bearable to me than all the rest?
Has anybody got any cheese?