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So it was goodbye to Jim and a drive south to our next campsite at Shieldaig, a picturesque spot on the Applecross peninsular.  The skies were still a bit murky and there had been rain showers in the night so we decided not to go down to the beach after all and get going on our journey.

We stopped at Ullapool to pop into Tesco for some shopping and for some diesel, but it was a bit expensive so Peter just put in the minimum necessary.

Looking at the map, we realised that we would be driving through Glen Docherty, as we had last year, so stopped for a picnic lunch at the viewpoint, from where you can see Loch Maree, Scotland’s fourth largest fresh water loch at a length of 20km.


About 800 million years ago the rivers piled up sand and gravel six kilometres thick which became the Torridon sandstone of Slioch and Beinn Eighe.  When two continents collided, older rock was pushed on top of younger rock, creating the glittering white peak of Sgurr Ban.  Debris carried by a melting glacier scoured Glen Docherty into the U-shaped valley you see today.  Apparently, Queen Victoria, on sighting Loch Maree for the first time in 1877, declared it to be “grand and romantic”.

We were approaching Beinn Eighe when we became aware of lots of cyclists and then further on, runners.  Vehicles started to pile up and the road was jammed with parked cars.


On the hillside there seemed to be some sort of welcoming committee with people cheering.


People with t-shirts with CELTMAN emblazoned on them were trying, rather ineffectually, to organise the traffic flow and eventually we managed to get through the mayhem and continue driving on to Shieldaig.

The mountain scenery was superb along the way.


We had read a lot about the beauty of Shieldaig and the campsite there which is run by the Shieldaig Grazing Committee.  There is no charge but you are invited to put a donation into the honesty box on the gate to the field.  No toilets onsite but some public conveniences are located at the bottom of the hill.  When we got there in mid afternoon the field was already pretty full, mostly of tents, but we found an excellent spot overlooking the bay.


Bessie tucked in between two tents


We walked down the hill and went into the Coastal Bar & Restaurant to book a table for dinner at 7pm.


We had figured out that we could treat ourselves to a nice meal as we had saved £24.50 on not camping at the Applecross campsite further down the coast!  We passed a large shed with a Brazilian flag on the door.  Inside was a makeshift bar and a big television.  A German couple passing by were lured inside – we didn’t see them again!


We had a drink sitting by the harbour and then walked back up the steep hill to have a snooze before dinner.




I looked up Celtman on my iPhone and discovered that it was an extreme triathalon, involving a 3.8K Swim in 400m deep Loch Shieldaig, followed by a bike 202k run from Shieldaig to Achnasheen and Gairloch (including 2,000m of climbing) and then a 41.6k run through the mountains.  Now that’s extreme!

The meal at the restaurant was lovely – all locally sourced – crab & salmon cakes with chips, followed by pecan brownies and ice cream.

IMG_1510IMG_1511We had our coffee up on the roof terrace overlooking the harbour as it was now quite a warm evening.


DSC_0080Afterwards we walked along beside the water and saw the floating jetty where the swimmers had started their extreme event.


A ginger cat posed on the window sill of a harbour-side cottage…


…and a cannon pointing out to sea laid claim to seeing battle in the Spanish Armada of 1588 – it certainly looked old enough.


The village looked gorgeous from the top of the hill in the evening light…

DSC_0104… and back at the campsite things were beginning to get busy.  More campers arrived and soon we were surrounded!  A boy and a girl on separate motorbikes and wearing midge nets over their heads (sensibly as the night air was full of the little beasts) quietly parked within about two feet of Bessie’s door, silently put up their tiny tent and disappeared into it.  The odd thing was that we didn’t mind a bit.  If it had been a normal campsite we would have been horrified that everyone was so close but here it seemed perfectly acceptable.

Outside the sun was setting in dramatic fashion over the water – photo taken at 11.20pm!


Our young motorcyclists and all the (mostly) young people around us were as quiet as mice throughout the night and by the time we woke up most had gone.

As so many people have remarked online, Shieldaig is a special place and one I am sure we will return to – even without electricity!