A road (or two) less travelledAugust 21, 2017 in the United Kingdom
I've always wanted to visit Scotland. Blame it on my Scottish godmother. Or perhaps it's simply that I like wild places and had envisaged Scotland's western and northern coasts to fit that category. While Scotland is a relatively small country, as in New Zealand it takes longer to drive anywhere than you expect. This is partly due to it's narrow, winding roads, but equally the result of its awe-inspiring scenery - it's not a place to experience at pace.
I'd read of the scenic route to Ullapool in the north-west, and beyond, a path we considered would be less travelled than those of the previous few days. We were not disappointed. First stop was the beautiful village of Stathpeffer, a former Victorian spa town where folk had come to "take the waters". A mix of Victorian splendour and Pictish history, we spent a pleasant hour or so exploring this lovely place.
Arriving at the pretty white-washed town of Ullapool, we discovered that a true treasure lay just to the north of gateway to the island of Lewis. The North-West Highlands Geopark was awarded to the region based on it's unique and turbulent geological past, which has shaped its stunning mountain landscapes, sandy beaches, ancient settlements and contemporary communities. A well-marked route highlights the geological stories behind the stunning landscape.
One such highlight was Knockan Crag, location of some of the oldest rocks in the world and one of the most significant scientific discoveries in recent times. An excellent interactive display combines with awe-inspiring views to tell the the story of how two men challenged the 19th century scientific norms of the time with their theories of geological processes. Knockan Crag provided the proof for their theory.
Another highlight of the Geo Park route was an excursion to the Bone Caves, where remains of some of of Scotland's "lost animals" (bears, wolves, reindeer) were found.
Intent on reaching the lighthouse at Stoer Point before we turned for home, we reached this remote point after mile after after mile of narrow, single lane tracks through stunning coastal heathland. Our adventurous return trip (amazing where a wrong turn can take you) meant a late dinner was to be had.
A hugely satisfying day amongst these most beautiful surroundings.Read more