Today we leave Inverewe Gardens, and eventually Wester Ross too, on our journey to  Sutherland and the Clachtoll Beach campsite.

It’s a great part of the country and throughout the whole journey there has been scenery to die for almost around every bend in the road.

The first part of the journey took us out on the A832 which climbs and falls to reach Loch Thurnaig and Tournaig. The road then heads uphill and meanders for about two miles in an attempt to stay reasonably level. Then we descended to the outskirts of Aultbea.


For the next three or four miles, the road crosses moorland, but as it approaches Laide, there are views of Gruinard Bay (just the tip of Gruinard Island showing).


Gruinard was famous, or infamous, as the island where they tested anthrax during WW2.  It wiped out the sheep there and was left abandoned for 50 years, when it was finally decontaminated.  They tested its success by putting another flock of sheep on the island which, thankfully, survived.

The road climbs up through the weirdly named settlements of First Coast and Second Coast and then, twisting along the edge of the bay, the road descends steeply to Little Gruinard, before crossing the Inverianvie and Gruinard Rivers.


The scenery gets increasingly mountainous as we drive along Little Loch Broom (which is actually rather big!) with views of An Teallach.






Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team operate from here and I believe they are kept fairly busy as An Teallach is a tricky mountain to climb.

After the Braemore junction, where we join the A835 to Ullapool, the road passes through the amazing Corrieshalloch Gorge National Nature Reserve where the mountain scenery is breathtaking.


We stopped along the road just before Ullapool, beside Loch Broom (the big one!) for some lunch.



Then into Ullapool itself, where we endeavoured to find the Tesco supermarket.  Ullapool isn’t large but we had to resort to looking up the location on my phone!


It wasn’t a particularly big store but we found most things we were looking for.  There won’t be many shops near our campsite so we don’t want to get stuck.  Peter couldn’t resist photographing some rooks by the roadside.


There followed more wonderful mountain scenery and the late afternoon sun meant they were bathed in light with dramatic shadows.




After joining the A837, Loch Assynt appeared on our left and we passed the 16th century Ardvreck Castle set on a rocky promontory.  We were now in Sutherland.


Just before Lochinver, we branched off onto the B869, a single-track road which would take us to Clachtoll Beach Campsite.  We are so used to these roads now that even I didn’t flinch at the hairpin bends.



We reached the campsite and Peter went off to find Jim the site owner.  What a lovely man he is.  He came over to Bessie to shake hands with me and showed us where everything is.  We were given a choice of pitch but knew straightaway which one we would like.  It is facing the little bay – just a wildflower meadow between us and the sandy shore.



Jim told us that the fish and chip lady would be visiting the site shortly so we made a quick decision to try them out.  It had been a long and tiring journey, especially for Pete.  Good decision – the haddock and chips were scrummy!

The evenings are so light in this part of the world and about half past eight walked down to the bay, but it was very windy and quite chilly – hence the anorak & hat!  These pictures will tell the story.  I think we’ll be very happy here for the next three nights…