Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

North Coast 500 (day 2), Scotland 2018 ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ

Date:  21st June 2018

Travelled:  55 kilometres from Rhiconich to Loch Eriboll, Scotland.

Visited:  Our 2nd day on the North Coast 500, Cape Wrath ยฃ20.50pp combined ferry/bus.

Stayed:  A small layby overlooking the Loch, free. N58.45668, W04.72554

Someone drove into our layby at 1.30am this morning.  However they just drove back out a minute later.  A little disturbing perhaps but we soon returned to nod.  It is the equinox here.  There is no dark of night, just twlight all night.

We got coffee going at 7am in brilliant sunshine, by half past the sun had gone and rain was threatening.  Ah Scotland.

Standing on the wharf looking back at our wildcamping spot.  The tide is out and the wharf stands well clear of the water.
From Rhiconich the road rises sharply as we pass through the North-West Sutherland National Park. A series of hills divided by various small lochs. The road then makes its way down to the shoreline and we follow the Kyle of Durness.

Cape Wrath and itโ€™s lighthouse stand on the north-western tip of the Scottish mainland.  The Lonely Planet warns the trip by boat across the Kyle of Durness and the 11 mile bus ride to Cape Wrath is haphazard at best, but we up for an adventure.

A mile short of Durness we take the turn for the Cape Wrath trail.  Finding a spot in the small car-park I wander up to the notice board.  Which is less than informative.  There is a bus shelter (of all things) just up from the dock with two cold looking people huddled together.  They seem happy to see me.  They explain, the ferryman will return at 10.30, if there are more than four customers he will take us across !
So we have time for some toast, then wander back up at 10.30.  By now there are 7 of us.  Pam asks the ferryman when the proper ferry will arrive ?  Anyway the trip across was easy enough and we got a glimpse at a sea otter running across a sand bar.
Our mini-bus awaits.  The driver tell us the 11 mile journey, will take an hour.  The road is very rough, we bump and jolt our way across the moor.  There is nothing particularly interesting to photo, but the drivers commentary is funny and occasionally informative.
Completed in 1828 the Cape Wrath lighthouse was built by Robert Stephenson.  Stephenson and his famous engineering family built most of Scotlandโ€™s 200 lighthouse and many rail bridges during the 19th Century.
Cape Wrath lighthouse, finally.
So we wander the cape for 30 minutes taking in the sights. Found this thing intriguing. Another Stephenson invention, this steam horn could be sounded as a warning when the fog or mist was so thick the light could not provide adequate warning.

Cotton grass ?  Its everywhere up here.  Looks like a cotton ball on a stick.  Must be on tight as the wind is 40 knots and gusting.
The coastline around Cape Wrath is wild. The lighthouse has been fully automated for 20 years. But a couple of people live nearby, they run a small cafe at the lighthouse amongst other things.
The bus bumps its way back to the kyle, but the driver did stop so we could take this picture.  Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the rock.

After a fairly exciting boat ride back across the Kyle, we are happy to be back in the Hymer again.  After a brief stop in Durness for a couple of bread rolls and a late lunch, we drive a couple of miles east and Smoo Cave.
The Smoo Cave circular walk provides a good leg stretch especially if you havenโ€™t walked up and down a few hundred steps today.  As you can see the late afternoons provide the best weather in Scotland.
Basically a sea cave with some interesting chimneys back up to ground level. You can do a formal cave tour but its been a long day and we wander about as best we can and continue our circuit walk.
Looking back at Smoo Cave. With Scotlandโ€™s weather changing so dramatically as the day passes, make the most of those sunny afternoons.
Such a beautiful scene, looking across an unspoilt beach and a series of three headlands. Somewhere east Sangobeg on the A838.
We drive the A838 east for another 30 minutes before finding this wildcamping spot overlooking Loch Eriboll. Another motorhome is already there and we snuggle up for a quiet night.

Michael and Pam

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