Tuesday 21st May
We left Blairgowrie and headed north to Culloden Moor – seeing an RSPB reserve en-route we called in at Insh Marshes and spent a wonderful hour and a half looking through the scope and binoculars. Nothing spectacular – just good old fashioned nature. The highlight was a flock of Curlew (about 20+) put up by an RAF low level training aircraft (prop driven). Provisions at Inverness and off to Culloden Moor to be told there was only 1 pitch left. How different from our previous visit on the North Coast 500 trip which two years and two weeks earlier at the same site their was plenty of elbow room.
Wednesday 22nd May
We left Culloden Moor CC&MH site – before leaving we asked about filling up water in an emergency – definitely not came the reply – apparently brought up at committee (I’ll have you know). Then we went on to talk about wild camping in Scotland – illegal we were told (no it isn’t if you behave yourself) and this person had lived in Scotland for 14 years. Whatever happened to help the neighbour in times of need or distress. Admittedly it was a hypothetical conversation but it goes to show how precious people can be.
Taking my usual Stoic position I put myself in their shoes – what would it be like running a site with 80+ vans and (members only mind you) were turning up to empty their loos or take water on board? It could be a little hectic, especially if the service point was within the bounds of the site. Would you be able to keep track of it all along with all the other normal daytime activity of running a site? Probably not – which is why I assume ‘at committee’ it was deemed not appropriate.
So thinking again about it stoically – is this something that is in my control? No it is not so I should not worry about it, and I do not worry about it – but how nice it would be if someone ‘at committee’ were to propose an idea that the CC& MH club might offer assistance to those in need by having service points outside the boundaries of the pitch areas but within the confines of the club site boundary. How nice and forward thinking that might be – helpful and a thoughtful thing to do.
Enough philosophising for now. We are on our way to Altnaharra right in the middle of the North part of Scotland (only 26 miles from the north coast) in the middle of the Flow Country. As usual we took a circumventive route – some of which was on single track roads with passing places. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – a very civilised way of driving as you (or someone coming in the opposite direction) HAS to give way to be able to pass each other – no stalemate stand-off’s here. Arriving at Altnaharra we were greeted by a beautiful site right by Loch Naver, we opted for an off-grid pitch (£10.50) at the quiet end of the site on the Loch shore. Within an hour of being there we were blessed with seeing an Osprey over the other side of the Loch, later on a female Red-Breasted Merganser – this is such a pretty and peaceful site – we are looking forward to the next five days.