11.11.2016 - 16.11.2016 12 °C
The wind picked up on Friday, and swept us away from Skye. We drove back across the island (filling up the car with suprisingly cheap petrol in Broadford), crossed the Skye bridge and headed south. We stopped at Spean Bridge for lunch, where we were lured into a cafe by what turned out to be the false promise of cullen skink. Luckily there were other viable lunch options available, and we were able to continue on our journey with full (albeit skink-less) stomaches.
On we drove, through Fort William, past Ballachulish (site of our first segway experience), and into Oban. Oban was the site of a distillery, but as we were too late for a tour, we just enjoyed the smells from outside and went into the cafe across the road for a hot chocolate. Seemed a reasonable alternative.
We arrived at John and Elaine’s at the perfect time for a wee blether and a cheeky pint at the Horseshoe Inn. This was our third trip to Bridgend in four years, and there were plenty of familiar faces (human and canine) at the pub. The whole point of travel is supposed to be to experience new things, but when presented with something familiar it is always rather comforting.
John and Elaine put on an amazing spread of venison and haggis for dinner, and we exchanged plenty of hilarious food-based puns. We were introduced to the phenomenon of Still Game (comedy as Scotttish as a can of Irn-Bru) and washed it all down with a wee dram of Talisker.
We set off on Saturday morning for a spot of rambling, when the weather allowed. The rain lingered long enough to put us off going for a long walk in Taynish Nature Reserve, but we checked out the old mill, evaluated the picnic facilities and racked up a few more steps by doing the maze-that-was-not-actually-a-maze. We enjoyed views of Jura (the island, not the whisky), and managed to do just enough exercise to warrant having lunch at Tayvallich Inn. The seafood specials were appreciated by everyone but me, but I was more than happy to appreciate the non-seafood options. The sky brightened again in the afternoon, so we took another walk near Loch Barnluasgan before heading home to watch Australia beat Scotland at rugby by one point (using some questionable strategies). We took Islay and Jura (the spaniels, not the islands) for a walk, and then were brave enough to show our faces at the Horseshoe again before dinner.
Sunday was a relaxed day - the weather was shite, but we didn’t fight it, just embraced it. Perfect weather for a full Scottish breakfast, a load of washing and some scheming and photo sorting. John and Simon had a play with the drone, which concerned me somewhat as I don’t know that I want to be a drone widow when we return home. Hopefully Simon will have forgotten about that in a few months time.
The next morning we took Smarty Pants for his final roadtrip. We had a crack at Popmaster again but didn’t even make it to double figures (curse my inability to remember Kylie Minogue songs from the early 90s!) We stopped in Gretna Green for lunch and contemplated renewing our wedding vows but decided to continue on and beat the peak hour traffic. We had what would have been a scenic drive through the north of England if the weather hadn’t conspired against us, and eventually arrived back in Otley to discover Annie and Andy’s house looking much more wallpapered, painted and carpeted than when we had seen it last. Quite the transformation.
We spent the next day in Otley returning Smarty Pants, lunching with James at Wetherspoon’s, and watching Dr Doolittle with Rosie, who was not quite her usual bubbly self. Stephen and Lesley came round for dinner, and we caught up on recent travel/renovation/employment developments. Unfortunately Rosie became less and less bubbly and more and more unhappy with life as the evening continued, and I’m sure the night seemed rather long to Annie and Andy but to us it was incredibly short as we were out of the house and in a taxi by 5am. By 5.30am, we were through security and waiting at our gate at Leeds airport. Efficiency at its best.