21st May (day 17)
Didn’t plan a long drive today as we knew we were going to visit Inverewe Gardens owned by The Scottish National Trust, which would take up a few hours. What a delightful garden, particularly this time of year the Rhodedendrons were at their best. Although I’m sure there is plenty to see all through the main flowering season.
The garden is sheltered from the ravages of the sea by mature trees and benefits from the relative warmth of the gulf stream, a plantsman’s paradise.
The main house which burned down was re-built in 1937 and has been restored sympathetically of the same era. Walking around the small house the exhibits were marked in a contemporary and informative manner – a really refreshing way to show off the house and its history, something for all ages.
After the garden we went to the CC site at Kinlochewe (we had booked ahead a couple of days ago) to replenish water and get rid of other non-pleasant water stuff. The more I think about it the idea of an extra toilet cassette would perhaps be one of our future purchases in order to extend our wild camping opportunities. My guess though is in France (when we eventually get there later this year) an extra cassette would not be necessary as they are all set up for black water disposal having many Aires (someone correct me if I’m wrong as we are fairly new to all this).
22nd May (day 18)
Checked out the weather on the notice board and the mountain forecast was for a bright morning with rain later. It was decided then, off we tootled on our bikes down a glen following the river Abhainn Bruachaig (no idea – don’t ask, you’ll have to learn Gaelic).
5 miles later we reached the end of the track (although it did continues as a footpath) at a derelict cottage, just how these people survived the harshness of the environment and scraped a living is beyond us in our modern, comfortable homes. Even Hilma is better equipped than these old cottages were.
The river has a small hydro-electric scheme being built with 5 individual stations along it. When finished (this year sometime) they will produce 2.4 MW of electricity supplying some 2500 homes for more than 50 years.
The whole project seems to have been done sympathetically with the environment being high on the priority list – lets have more I say. Cycling back in sunshine the water glistening, totally alone it was one of those reflective moments again, totally humbling in such a beautiful environment.
We got back just as the rain started and booked a meal in the Kinlochewe Hotel and glad we did. That evening it was absolutely packed. The new owners (David & Karen) have only been open 6 weeks and are putting their mark on it being members the ‘slow food’ movement (no microwaves, no deep fat fryers). I had the venison stew and Janette had the smoked fish platter – yum, yum, thumbs up from both of us. Be sure to book if you want a meal as during the main season this will get busy. Oh, I nearly forgot, they have 75 single malt whiskies for you to try (we managed 3 and stumbled back to Hilma).