It takes a long time to get to Durness at the very north west tip of Scotland. We left our house near Stockport at 7am. We arrived at our B&B at 9.45pm. Ouch! However there were upsides – travelling by train allowed me to watch three episodes of The Night Manager and we were lucky enough to stop for an hour’s lunch break in Edinburgh. Because of our heavy bags we didn’t end up in the gastro pub we’d been recommended, but instead an uninspiring food court by the station! Jamie spotted this as an excellent opportunity to abandon any marathon related healthy eating and ordered a KFC. A classy start to our rugged adventure.
On day one of the holiday, we awoke to glorious blue skies and sunshine! We couldn’t believe our luck. This is the view on our walk into Durness. We were off to join the rest of our friends on the Mad Walkers hiking expedition. Today’s trip would be to one of Britain’s most beautiful beaches Sandwood Way.
Sandwood Bay didn’t disappoint – a mile long stretch of white sand and dunes and due to it’s remote location (2.5 miles from the road) – it was pretty much deserted! And a perfect lunch spot amongst the dunes. The food wasn’t highbrow (aldi ham and cheese sandwiches and a flask of tea), but food does just taste extra good when you’re sitting on a stunning beach after a hearty walk.
Day two we were pretty lucky with the weather too. And today was a coastal walk with lots of delightful little beaches along the way. We walked from Talmine near Tongue in a loop along the coast. Today we sustained ourselves with fruit pastilles, murray mints and cherry and watermelon ‘sour pops’ – marvellous sour lollies with a bubblegum centre. Yes walking is the perfect justification for mainlining crap! Yay!
And hearty walking earns a hearty evening meal. That evening we went to the local Smoo Cave Hotel for dinner. Jamie and I decided to get adventurous by ordering haggis, neeps and tatties (neeps = turnips) and red pudding (deep fried sausage) and chips. I didn’t have high expectations for either dish. In all honestly I knew I’d be blogging about Scotland so felt obliged to go native! But goodness that haggis was a treat – similar to a deliciously spicy, almost middle eastern style mince. And the turnip mash – now that was something else. Nutty and sweet and beautifully complimentary to the haggis. Who knew I liked turnips?
Jamie’s red pudding (despite his apparently unhappy face here) was also delicious. But you can’t really go wrong with anything deep fried that is served with chips, can you? Marathon diet going well still.
The last day was a very lazy day! It poured with rain in the morning which gave Jamie and I the excuse to stay in bed until 1pm. Result! As soon as it brightened up we headed out on our own little stroll to the nearby Faraid Head about four miles from our B&B. Basically a beautifully Caribbean-esque peninsula with an MOD site at the end of it. It was a glorious walk and as per usual my highlight was sitting on top of a hill with a flask of tea and an Aldi crisp sarnie. Happy days.
Jamie and I will definitely be returning to the north west coast of Scotland – we were inspired by its windswept beauty and romantic remoteness. We are hoping to do the famous five hundred mile coastal route by car one day. I will pack a lot of snacks!