Mafia connections, the Emerald Isle and a Highland Fling travel blog

Lovely coastal scenery on our walk to see puffins




Entrance to Smoo Cave

Smoo Cave

Haggis, neaps and tatties and whiskey sauce

While sleeping in the bothy (glorified garden shed) sounded like a novel idea it came with some drawbacks. The main one being that we think there were mice in the wall cavity near our heads as we heard them scurrying about all night.....which meant I didn't get much sleep.

Being on the coast I've been enjoying mussels for dinner which have always been very nice in a white wine and cream sauce. I've also had some great salmon salads. Grae on the other hand has been enjoying his haggis and splashed out a few times, once ordering collops of venison and another night venison stew.

Mind you at dinner one night in Plockton we did overhear a couple reprimanding the waitress for serving mussels with broken shells as I ate mine cautiously by picking out the broken shell, luckily with no incident.

Most of the seaside towns we've been staying at are small with only one or two dining options. Dinner time in Scotland is a lot earlier than in Italy, with restaurants serving food from 5.00 - 8.00pm, so we've been caught out a few times by not booking ahead or getting somewhere too late. It also doesn't help that we don't realise how late it is as it doesn't get dark till after 10.30pm.

We got a tip at the tourist information at Ullapool who advised us we might see puffins at Fairad Head. So we decided to embark on a puffin finding expedition which involved hiking along a very sandy beach and up the sand dunes along the windswept peninsular and around the military exclusion zone past the cairn and to the headland to look over the cliffs. The scenery was gorgeous and while very windy, unbelievably the weather held out and yes our efforts were rewarded by seeing puffins bobbing up and down in the sea below. There were numerous other

sea birds as well all adding to the raucous cacophany.

Trying to take pictures proved a little difficult as it was very windy and the puffins were quite active.

Then we had to hike all the way back.

Just a little further down the road at Durness was Smoo Cave. A very large combined sea cave and freshwater cave it was formed by a burn (stream) that runs down into the rear chamber through a sink hole, as well as erosion caused by the sea. As we were tired we opted not to do the internal cave boat tour.

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