A Life in the Slow Lane

What’s this Wet Stuff?

We’ve enjoyed our short time on Orkney and now wish we had planned to stay for longer. Orkney was not at all what we had expected. It is very different from most of the rest of the Highlands and the far north of Scotland. The “mainland”, in any case, is very pastoral, with nearly all of it turned over to pasture and a few crops. There are a few bits of moorland but not much and the roads are the best we’ve come across since Skye: all the main ones are two way. It also appears more densely populated than the Outer Hebrides or the Highlands. We saw many of the mainland’s main attractions, but too fast. There were plenty more sights to see and of course we didn’t visit any of the islands other than the mainland.

Today has been a travel day. We arrived at St. Mary’s Hope, a pretty little village, for our ferry back to the Scottish mainland and again had the “fun” of reversing Basil up the gang plank. Because it was distinctly colder than our crossing three days ago, and dogs are required to stay outside, Sarah decided to disobey the rules and stay in Basil and keep warm with the dogs, hiding behind the curtains in Basil’s “bedroom”. Although it’s against the rules I noticed the Germans in the motorhome behind Basil just sat brazenly in their front seats, with their dogs, with their feet on their dashboard, throughout the crossing.

St. Mary’s Hope from the ferry

On landing we had some discussions about where we should camp. Our friends Alan and Michelle had given us a wildcamping option but we decided that we needed to do some laundry (our last before we reach home) and so we opted for a Motorhome and Caravan Club site.

As we drove south on the A9 towards Inverness I suddenly noticed some strange water drops forming on Basil’s windscreen. Puzzled I cast my mind back and back and back until it reached 21st May and then I remembered – rain. We have spent 23 days in the north of Scotland and not seen any rain. Unbelievable and very very lucky.

Our campsite, the Motorhome and Caravan Club site at Brora (58.028665, -3.844271 £20.50 with electricity) is 58 miles north of Inverness on the North Sea coast. It has a lovely sandy beach which Sarah, Mabel and Melek have visited in the rain and they have reported a lot of dead birds on the sand for no particular reason. With her usual efficiency Sarah has already completed our laundry although some of it is still hanging from various parts of Basil’s insides to finish drying!

Tomorrow we are forecast to have winds approaching 50 mph and we are supposed to drive 40 miles or so south to the Black Isle. I’ve never driven Basil in those sort of conditions, although generally he handles high winds very well. I am a little apprehensive but we will check any travel advisories before we head off.