|I set off this morning from Thurso on the postbus as far as a town called Tongue, also on the far north coast. We had a little stopover in a village called Bettyhill and I thought of you both, Nana and Grandmere! It's basically so remote up here that the only way to get around is to travel with the mailman, so that was quite an experience. Most of the road was just single lane with random passing places to pull over if you meet an oncoming car. The countryside was covered in heather, but the mailman told me I missed it when it was in full bloom a few weeks ago. It was rather dead and dreary looking now. He said their summer's just about over....and I thought we had it bad back home!
In Tongue I got on a bigger bus, and a regular one too, to go as far as Durness, and I was the only one on it. This section was a lot more green than the last, and you could tell we were getting more and more into the highlands. The roads were also even more winding and there were hairpin turns everywhere, which apparently bothered the driver none. He was going a good clip and I thought, "If we meet a car going around one of these corners on this single lane road, that's it, I'm done!" He definitely had me holding on there for a bit.
I had a little break in Durness (a village probably smaller than Havre Boucher), which was good cause my stomach was churning from the ride. I did some walks around the beach there and down into Smoo Cave, probably the biggest local attraction. I also randomly walked by a momument to John Lennon as well. Apparently he used to spend his summers as a boy in Durness with his aunt and uncle and he even took Yoko Ono to visit shortly before he died.
My last bus of the day was one that took me right through the heart of the northern highlands to Ullapool and then back down to Inverness, and I think it was perhaps the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. The mountains were just glowing green and the sun was shining really brightly, making all the lakes sparkle. It was so isolated up there, we barely passed anyone on the road, and we hardly passed any houses at all. At one point we went through this pass between two great mountains and tucked into the bottom of one was a little white house with a couple mile long dirt road to get to it. It was probably the only house for like a 1/2 hour drive each way. I just thought to myself, "Man, that would be heaven to have a place like that." I'd love to come back and do this part of Scotland with a camper and proper hiking equipment. You could spent months out there I think. We passed this little caravan pulled over on the side of the road and a young couple were sitting out in the sun in folding chairs, each enjoying a cold beer. Now that's the way I should be doing this! It kind of sucked that I was on a bus that didn't stop much, like it wasn't a tour or anything, so I had to resort to taking pictures out the window of the bus, but I'm still so glad that I got to see this part of the country.
It was pretty late when I got back into Inverness so I just took it easy. I had a good chat with a lady from Maine who was in my dorm though. She just got in and is doing some kayaking up in the Orkney Islands for a couple of weeks. I'm off to visit Loch Ness tomorrow and see if I can spot the famous monster!