Thursday, 13 June 2013

Applecross to Loch Shieldaig - Scotland Tour 2013 - Living in a Hiace Camper Van

The weather is still wonderful. After getting a big load of laundry done and hung out under the awning, I've spent most of the day out on my bike, exploring the area around Applecross bay.

My camp at Applecross

I cycled through the village and out towards the hamlet of Culduie, where I found fishing huts on the shore of a small cove and clambered down through the heather to take a closer look.

Peddling back I came upon the Applecross primary school, it's playing field backset with the rugged mountains of the Isle of Skye on the horizon.

On returning to the village I came upon an expedition of sea kayakers about to set off, and as I continued to pedal around the bay I kept pace with them as they cut through the waters.

Climbing the steeper section out of the bay I could see the paddlers right below me at the cliffs bottom, and from this height see the depth beneath..

Seeing a sign reading, 'Coastal Path to Sand' I decided this would be my destination, and continued on the cliff top road, then whizzing
down a hill towards the beach, now in sight.

The road led to some kind of Ministry of Defence site, but I bumped along a sandy path towards the expanse of sand at the tracks end. Somehow a huge, single dune like sandbank existed right next to the road, leading onto this beach. I relaxed in my chair I'd brought along in my rucksack.

By the time I'd made it back I'd already made up my mind to immediately pack up and hit the road, although it was already about 7:30pm. I had loads of energy and knew it'd be light for hours to come - besides it'd be cooler driving at night.

Before leaving Applecross bay I pulled into the grassy area right by the shoreline and began preparing my meal - pasta. As the vegetables simmered away on the gas, I strolled to the waters edge and was approached by a playful dog.

Maisy, belonged to a lady called Jo who was parked further along the shore for the night. We chatted and maps out, exchanged tips on wild camping spots and our experiences on the Pass of Cattle on the way here. Thanks Jo for your company and enjoy the rest of your adventures.

As I drove off into the cooling night air, I rounded the corner towards Sand, and the most spectacular sunset greeted me over the Isle of Rona.

Around the next bend a stag was standing in the road, and showed little fear of the van as I approached - it simply hopped onto the roadside and stared at me as I drove slowly by. I managed to fumble for my camera and film him too.

The sunset went on and on as I followed the coastline for a number of miles. Finally I decided to pull in near a small white cottage on the edge of Loch Shieldaig. As I fished from the rocks until darkness finally fell, I listened to the breath of whales across the still loch and watched with binoculars as they smacked their fins against the water, communicating some mystery with one another..

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If you're looking for a good map of Western Scotland and the Western Isles, the one I recommend is the 'Road 2' - this map used to be produced by OS, but they stopped doing it. You can buy it here for £4.99:

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