Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Next Step | Durness to Kyle of Tongue | Scotland Tour 2013 | Living in a Hiace Camper Van

I spent most of today just relaxing and resting up after yesterday's adventures. I had a lie in, drank tea, and spent done time on Internet stuff as there's a good 3G signal here.

I've been deliberating over what to do next, now I've been to Cape Wrath, and travelled all over the West Highlands - I've covered all of the original route I set out to do, even in spite of settling in one place for a couple of months.

Well having had an invite to go back and stay with friends on the west coast, I've decided to spend the next week making a loop around the north and east coast of the country - right up to John O Groats, then skirt the North Sea coast, before heading back through the interior to the west highlands. Good plan?

Not far beyond Durness I pulled in to take a look at Smoo Cave - I'd been given the heads up about this place a few days ago by some fellow travellers who were going bin the opposite direction. It sounded amazing by all accounts, so I was keen to see if I'd be impressed. The sun was now shining and the wind had dropped, so the scene was set.

I parked up by the roadside, there's the van in the top left of the photo, look, and stepped onto that footbridge to gaze down into what was a gaping hole in the ground with a waterfall plummeting into it - right next to the main road.

Crossing the road I made my way down a footpath and into a sheltered stony bay, very peaceful place, and was amazed to see the huge cavern in front of me, and it was right under the road..

It really is an unbelievable place to come across here, and appears right out of a National Geographic article about caves in Thailand or some such place.

The roofed bridge brings you across to the underground pool (ladders, ropes and evidence of cave diving) and from there the view of the waterfall from below is a dramatic sight.

View from the inner cave back to the main cavern

View out from the main cavern

Back on the road in the early evening, a peaceful time to drive, I followed the route to the east for thirty miles or so, past steep cliffs and stunning beaches, then right around Loch Eriball, finally crossing a hillside to reach the Kyle of Tongue.

I turned north toward Talmine and found some amazing wild camping spots that way, so do go there yourselves, but I didn't find the magic combination of remote spot + 3G internet. Needling to make some outside contact tonight, I am now parked just by an old clan graveyard just by the Kyle of Tongue. A pretty good spot, though a bit exposed if it gets windy during the night.

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See you soon..

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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