The familiarity of home

We touched down in Glasgow after a long but uneventful day of travel, we were excited to be on home soil and more so to see some familiar faces. We stayed a couple of nights with Stu and Gill and their daughter Ayla, age-old friends whom we hadn’t seen for some time. They spoiled us with some good old British meals and a healthy dose of team GB on the telly. Stu even took Rob off to find some warm beer in some musty smelling pubs. It was great to be back!

We left Bathgate wishing we had a little longer but we had to head on, north and west. The roads were busy and narrow, no shoulders and fast paced traffic, we’d forgotten how to ride on these roads. It takes a little courage to hold your line on country roads and not get pushed into the gutter. The traffic eased a little as we entered the Highlands but it was still busy compared to our memory from a couple of years ago, when we’d passed the same roads on our Lands End to John O’Groats trip. We suspect the Scottish tourist board have been working hard.

We escaped the tourists from time to time and found smaller roads and a cycle track or two. Scotland’s ‘right to roam’ laws make camping incredibly easy – find a spot you like and pitch your tent, that is all, just as it should be.

After a night camping in Glen Coe we caught a small ferry from Corran and made our way along quiet twisted lanes to the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, the most westerly point of mainland UK. Our friends Holly and Chris were not around when we arrived, but would be back the following evening. Chris’s sister Jen and her son Sol had arrived back from their camping trip on Mull so we weren’t completely alone. We also had the company of one dog, six chickens and three goats. Jen and Rob spent and hour trying to coral various animals into their respective homes, whilst frantically waving their arms around trying to avoid midge bites. They managed to catch just two goats and two chickens before admitting defeat, we’d forgotten just how bad a tiny bug can be!

Following days have involved baking and eating cakes, drinking tea and hikes in the most beautiful and quiet of landscapes. Yesterday’s hike around the rim of the volcano that created the peninsula didn’t go quite to plan, as we crested the first climb the weather rolled in and we couldn’t see much more that 100 yards in front of us, Chris’s suggestion that we take a compass rang loud in our minds and sure enough we were quickly off course. Five hours after setting off we arrived back at the house on a much different but equally lovely path,  we were slightly damp, slightly cold and hadn’t even achieved our goal of tiring out the dog.

We think we’ve figured out a nice route home from here which should take us two or three weeks depending on weather and cake availability. It really is great to be back in a familiar land and to spend time with such special friends. Two happy campers!

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