Monday, August 31, 2015

The Road to Ullapool

Coming out of the wooded area close to Muir of Ord into the Highlands.
When we agreed to come to Scotland house sitting, we didn't think we would be able to make it to the West coast.  While it isn't too far, mile wise, the roads can be narrow and twisting, making for slow travel.  Since we would have two dogs waiting at "home", we couldn't be gone too long.
The Scottish Thistle.
When we arrived in Muir of Ord, after talking to Eleanor, Brian and Sarah, we realized it was possible to go West!  So on a day when the weather was to be more sun than showers, off we went
The Western Highlands are beautiful, with mountains and lochs, but not alot of people.

A cruise ship in port at Ullapool.
We were surprised driving into Ullapool to find a cruse ship docked and unloading passengers to take their mini-visits on buses.  It was a very organized spectacle; with 1000's of people it would have to be.  The little boats just kept bringing them to the dock, over and over and over.  Whew!  After watching this, we knew our decision to never take a cruise was the right one for us.

One of the tenders unloading passengers.

The harbor at Ullapool.

The harbor has small boats, fishing boats and the ferry terminal to the Hebrides islands.  Visitors could also take tours out to the surrounding islands and watch birds and look for sea life.  They were all booked for the day, though.
The street facing the harbor.
Loved this building, now a restaurant.
We spent a lovely couple of hours walking around, eating our lunch and in general enjoying this little village nestled between the hillside and ocean.  Being a cruise ship stop, there are many tourist type shops selling Scottish souvenirs.  We admired some lovely woolen sweaters, scarves and hats, but living in Tucson, we rarely need anything wool.

On our way home, we saw a sign for Corrieshalloch Gorge.  It was listed on our NTS brochure, so we decided to stop.  Great idea!  There is a suspension bridge over the water that plummets over the 150 foot Falls of Measach.  The bridge was built by Sir John Fowler, the engineer behind the Metropolitan Railway in London, as well as Victoria Station.  In Scotland, he was the joint chief engineer on the Forth Bridge in Inverness.

The sign when we arrived at the bridge.  We wondered what size the 6 people could be.
The suspension bridge, while built in the Victorian era, doesn't have a that Victorian feel.
To get to the bridge, we walked along a trail that winds down to the gorge.  There were flowers blooming everywhere, some we had never seen before.  Arriving at the bridge, we found the warning sign: No more than 6 people on bridge.  This brought up the question, "How large can these people be?"  With just us on it, you can feel the bridge move.  When I made the video, starting at the top of the falls and filming until I was looking straight down over the side, I did feel a bit of vertigo.  So I made a second one, just in case.

Stopping by the road when we see a sign which sounds interesting has to be the best reason to travel by car, with no real itinerary.

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